I figured we were due for a cover design post. =) And since I've working on one of those this week, now seemed a fine time.
This time around, I'm working on a cover for the second book by one of WhiteFire's authors, Cara Luecht. This book is set to come out early 2015; we're in the editing process now, and since we like to have covers well in advance, we got to work on that side of things too. Cara knew what she was looking for in this cover, which always makes my job easier. She wanted a heroine in profile, at the top of the page, with her head only partially visible. She wanted her holding something. She wanted the title in the center of the page, and a scene that ties in with the book below.
So. I started by looking for good images of her heroine, Brianna. Brianna lives in Sweden in 1885; she has blond hair, which would have been worn up, and she would obviously be decked out in the fashions of the day. The story follows some of the first Baptists in Sweden from their home, where they were persecuted, to America. Based on the author's family history, Gathered Waters isn't just about religious freedom, though--it's about a woman's journey to finding who she is, what she's called to do, in a world that would keep her in a narrow definition. Brianna has to find the strength and faith within her own heart to undergo this journey.
When looking for a good picture of a historical heroine--as in, one with her hair up--I've discovered that it's often handy to look up photos of brides. That's where I began. I searched for "blond bride profile," and I found our Brianna.
The next step was to flip her around and delete everything I didn't need.
I've tried a lot of different ways of altering color, but for this one, since I was going white but wanted to preserve the shadows, the way to do it was to go up to Image / Adjustment / Levels.
In the image above, I've also already added another touch I wanted--the color in the collar and buttons. To get that, I just pasted the original dress image overtop and deleted everything but collar and buttons, which were gold to begin with. I like the contrast this achieved.
I also already adjusted her hand a bit--because she was holding a large bouquet, her fingers were spread. To make her hold a single tulip, her fingers needed to be curled tight. So I just deleted the extra length of finger, careful to "trim" it around the knuckles.
So next comes the tulip. I found a picture of white tulips for free.