Thursday, September 12, 2013

My DIY Cover Art!

This week I found a few free hours in my hectic work schedule to try my hand at some do-it-yourself cover art. The cover is for a short story called Mava’s Echo, which was originally published in Mindflights in 2010 and which I’m planning on republishing, perhaps on Wattpad. I have to say, it turned out better than I imagined, and it was far easier than I ever expected.
My DIY Cover Art for Mava's Echo!
I created the cover using PowerPoint 2013, but I never could have done it without two invaluable articles I found on the web. The first is from author William King and it was the single most helpful tutorial I encountered. Almost every element of my design – as well as how to use PowerPoint for this purpose – came courtesy of Mr. King. I highly recommend his post! The second was an article about Kindle cover formatting from author Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott, and it provided the final pieces of advice that really made this cover shine (especially the recommendation to use a 600 x 900 pixel dimension for the cover instead of the 600 x 800, which is a bit too square-shaped for my taste).

Now, I’m not going to replace the professional cover designer I used for Enoch’s Device any time soon, but for a *free* short story, I must say that Mr. King’s and Ms. Parrott’s advice was invaluable. And, if I can do it, anyone can. But I’d love to hear from you – what do you think of my first attempt at DIY cover art?


Lisa Shafer said...

It's quite nice, really. Where did you get the image of the girl? Did you use a stock photo?
I do my own covers -- with help from my dad (who spent his career as a commercial artist) and a teacher buddy who's great with computer stuff and formats for me. I never even thought about looking online for cover design help! Of course, with years of background in designing tee shirts, I haven't needed as much help as some self-published authors. (I've seen some really awful covers out there. I bet you have, too.) But I'll certainly check out the sites you've listed to see what tips I can pick up.

Joseph Finley said...

Thanks Lisa! I bought both the image of the girl and the foggy background from Dreamstime (stock photos) and then used PowerPoint's picture editor to change them. For the girl, I cut out the background entirely, and for the fog I added a green hue. I also put another layer of fog over the finished images to make it appear a bit more ghostly.

BJB said...

Your cover art is very well done in and of itself. I like it a lot. But I say "in and of itself" because I've read Mava's Echo, and I think the story is a lot darker and more haunting than this cover art conveys. Your color scheme and the fairy image are lovely but relatively bright and happy; they invoke thoughts of a magical woodland fantasy. Maybe I'm remembering the story inaccurately, but I think a more intense image and darker colors might suit the story better?

Joseph Finley said...

BJB - thanks for the comment! I agree that "Mava's Echo" is a bit dark, but I was trying to capture the green hues of Ireland along with the hint of the Fae (a Faerie ringfort, a Banshee, that kind of thing). If I put if up on Wattpad, it will be interesting to see what folks think about whether the cover fits the story. If the answer is "it doesn't," I can always change to darker hues. I suppose that's one of the fun aspects of something like Wattpad - you can throw something out there for comment without it being a big deal (or a big financial commitment like I incur for my published novels). I should have "Mava's Echo" up there in a month or so, and then we shall see.