Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cover Design - Soul's Prisoner by Cara Luecht

One of my very first cover design posts was for the first book in Cara Luecht's Portraits of Grace series, Soul Painter. Since the sequel will come out in December and we just finalized the design, I thought it would be fun to look at a behind the scene of this cover too. =)

Since this is a sequel, we knew we'd keep many of the design elements the same--the band of solid color at the bottom with a different, narrow band just above it. The large flourish. The typeface. On this cover, Cara wanted to feature Jenny, one of the two main women in the book. Jenny is facing the prison of her past--the other main female lead faces a literal one. When I found this image, we decided we were totally within our artist rights to be symbolic and have Jenny behind bars, because...well, look at it!

We both just loved that photo. So I downloaded it and got to work. My first step was to zoom it so that it filled my frame.

Now, the cover of Soul Painter had fog, and I wanted something similarly weather-related here. It takes place in the winter, so I went with a snow overlay. Just found one that was white flakes on a black background and then set the layer's blending to "screen" to make the black transparent. (Actually, I used 2 different ones to get the right effect...)

I really like the frosty look of this! But there were still some problems with the girl. For starters, she had so much makeup on! And Jenny definitely wouldn't have. Cara asked if I could remove it, so I created a new layer and quite literally painted off the paint. ;-) Which took it from this...

to this...

Much better. I actually love how you can see the shape of her lips better with the bright color taken off. Such a softer, devastated look she now wore...perfect.

But I was still bothered by something. See, this model is a brunette, and Jenny is a blond. But with the hair in the shadows like that, and pulled back so severely, I couldn't just lighten the hair she has. Or I failed to do so well, anyway, LOL.

So instead, I found a woman with awesome, blowing-in-the-breeze blond curls.

I carefully selected her hair, flipped it around to face the other way, and layered it onto my Jenny. I actually copied it in twice and darkened it once, then faded out the dark layer, to get the shadowed effect at the back of her head.

I didn't run this idea by Cara until I'd seen if it would work or not, so at this point I sent it to her to see if she liked the possibility of adding hair. She declared it awesome, so we went with it. ;-)

From here, it was a simple matter of putting on the title and series title. And here we have it! The final cover for Soul's Prisoner!

About the book:

Chicago, Winter, 1891

Rachel is in danger. She’s seen too much.

She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She’d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she’d find a place in the city, never imagined she’d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning’s cold, labyrinthine basement.

Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.

A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.

But when Jeremy, Rachel’s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.


  1. This is gorgeous! And I can't believe how natural the hair looks! It looks like it's meant to be there. ;) You did an awesome job!

    1. Thanks! I was really pleased with how the hair went on so smoothly too, LOL.

  2. You are multi-talented! Have you done your own covers?!

    1. The only ones of my own I've done thus far are Fairchild's Lady and A Soft Breath of Wind. =)