By Michelle Lee
BWL Art Director
Which again, is at it should be. However …
The very curtain that I sit behind as a cover artist also leads to an almost air of mystery about what exactly it is that I do. Most authors never see the stages that a cover goes through from when a cover artist gets the assignment until when they receive the final cover. It’s very simple to many - they turn in a cover art form and then magically a cover appears.
I hope over the next few months to give the authors, and you the reader, a peek behind my particular curtain. Keep in mind, I can only speak for my process … mileage will vary with different publishers, and even between different artists. Still, I hope you enjoy the glimpse behind my particular curtain.
To begin, I would like to list some of the steps that I go through, and then in future posts I will start to break them all down, and if needed include sub-steps.
1. The artist fills out a cover art form which I, and sometimes the publisher, look over and start to formulate ideas as to what the cover elements will be.
2. I start to put images together to see how different elements look together.
3. I place the title and author name on the cover (often not in the color or font that I will ultimately use, but rather just a generic placeholder to start to formulate placement).
4. Then I start to play around with all the elements – the images, the font (placement, color, and effects), shifting them around until I get something that I am happy with.
5. After I get everything placed, I start in on effects of the font.
6. Lastly, I start adding in the extras – little things that just make the cover pop.
If the cover is part of a series, I also have to keep in mind what options I have for future covers in the series.
- For example, does the model I chose have other images that would work for future books.
- What extras can I add that I can tweak with future books, so that each book is unique but still has similar elements.
And then there is the X factor … the fact that I love to add little things in covers … playful things. I will of course address what I mean … but in a later post. : )
I also plan to address, to some degree, author branding.
'Til next time!