Today I bring you Cover Art. Because I generally live paycheck to paycheck, whenever I have cool covers for my stories I have made them myself - either with cheap/free stock photos or photos taken by myself, my friends or my family. I load my chosen photo into Pixlr Express and go to town. I usually go through three or four (or even five or six) cover design ideas before I settle on the one that ends up going with my story. Thankfully my usual beta is good about being a sounding board for cover art as well. She has often steered me clear of ideas that seemed wonderful in the moment but really really weren't. I have just recently made two covers - for my two upcoming Love Has No Boundaries stories. This is also the grand revealing of their TITLES. I hope you enjoy the little look behind the scenes at my cover art. :D
Love Has No Boundaries story #1: Pick Up Lines
You can find the prompt here.
My initial plan for this cover involved pints of beer on a bar. Then it shifted and I was going to have the title printed on a sign/menu board for a pub. Then the bubbles from a beer were going to be the background. Eventually after not finding any stock photos that I liked, I gave up on the whole pub angle. I shifted my focus to the other character. The prompt photo portrayed a man dressed to the nines in a tuxedo so I started searching for men in tuxedos, close ups on tuxedos, bowties, cuff links, etc. I generally try to avoid using faces on my covers because I hate when books have covers with the main characters on them and they do not live up to the image in my head. This photo originally had a head - I cropped it out. Since this is a lighter story than a lot of the stories I write I decided to soften the focus and go with a whimsical font. The red color came from the fact that I needed a color to be able to see the title over the changing background color. Red is significant in the story because one of the major plot points is anger. A fight is what drives one of the aspects of the story forwards. Also, red can be romantic.
Love Has No Boundaries story #2: Falling Apart
You can find the prompt here.
My initial plan for this cover involved darkness and shadow. Both of the images from the prompt were highly shadowed so that was definitely a theme I wanted to continue with in the cover. Because I paid for the picture I needed for my previous cover - not much but money is money - I had to find something free for this cover. I searched through screen after screen of free stock photos inputting searches like "darkness", "shadow", "fire", "death" and nothing was striking true. Before I had completed writing the story I had mocked up a cover involving a skeleton walking over calm water surrounded in flames. However, as I completed the story this cover did not fit the feel or the themes of the story. Then I hit a sudden inspiration. I had a series of pictures taken of the fireplace at the cabin where I honeymooned last month. I dug them out and found this one. I knew I had found the photo I wanted to use. I tried a few different fonts and settled on this one because it was clearly visible on the background, was not too frou-frou and had some ragged edges which made me think of the dystopian nature of this story. I softened the whole a bit, gave the font it's shifting color and put a canvas texture over the whole thing. I am not 100% sure about the canvas texture and that may change before publication. The placing of the font is taken directly from the typewritten note that is a part of the prompt itself.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into my mind as I create the cover art to go along with my stories. I sometimes find myself saying, "Wouldn't it be great to be able to afford to pay a professional cover artist?" but I enjoy this almost as much as I enjoy the writing so I don't think I would give it up.
Adieu for now,