Last week, I was at it again. Though so very close to finishing a manuscript, I had a headache and a few other distractions that shattered my writing-concentration, so I turned to a cover that I probably should have had done a month ago. ;-) This is for Macy, by April McGowan, releasing from WhiteFire in June.
When April and I first started talking about this book and cover possibilities, I was excited to learn that her heroine was young, beautiful, and a redhead. See, I'd had this model saved to my Shutterstock lightbox for months, and I was just desperate to find a book that needed her for the cover, LOL. Her photos capture such mood, and she's got such an expressive face.
|Screenshot of Shutterstock|
So it was a matter of choosing the perfect pose. I tried several, with several different accenting photos, and decided on this one.
For those of you interested in the detailed how-to, here's how I do that. Red is an easy color to change to, especially when the original picture has blonde (or in this case red-blonde) hair already. I copied the Macy figure and pasted her right on top of herself, in a separate layer. That's the layer I fiddled with. I changed the color balance toward red, darkened it a bit, played with the contrast and brightness until it looked natural. Then I erased from that layer all the parts I wanted to come through from the bottom layer--skin and coat and background.
This is where the work came in, making all those peeks of background through her hair come through without looking abrupt. It's not hard, just takes a lot of time. Here's the result.
Then, in a stroke of brilliance, LOL, I deleted that bright blue sky.
Now we're getting somewhere! But I was in the mood for mood by this point. I decided to play around with a faded-out color layer overtop the whole picture. I tried a few different hues, but it had to be blue.
Then I thought it would be fun to put the M behind the model, but let the Y come over her. To do this, I had to rasterize the layer and then manually delete some of the M. I also plopped on April's name, in the same font we used for her previous cover. And added "a novel" in that lens flare. And there we have it!