This post is the first in my new behind-the-scenes cover creation series. Here, I'm going to go through the steps taken to make this medieval fantasy cover for author Peter C. A. Olsen:
The first step was to fully understand the story; the mood, theme, genre and audience. Talon is the first book in a series of older-audience high fantasy novels. It's about shape shifters and war, spanning from medieval manors to the high seas. Stories like this can be particularly hard to convey, because of the depth and detail of the fantasy world. The best way to approach this is actually to...
Pick no more than 2-3 key images and icons to represent the story. It's important for readers to be able to understand the key points of the book without being bombarded with an arsenal of tiny details and images.
So, with that in mind, we thought up some possible key images; an owl, for the shape shifting main character, a manor, for one of the primary locations of the story, and a sword to represent the battles that take place. However, it was also important to portray the high seas; to that, we found a compromise by washing the cover in a blue shade.
For the font, appearance and layout of the cover, I had the author choose some example covers that captured the right look and feel. Here were the examples:
Now, my job as a designer is not to copy other's work, but to use it as a guide map. Examples will tell me which direction we should and shouldn't go.
After formulating a clear idea in my head of what the author wanted, we set out to pick some key stock photos. One for the owl, and one for the manor.
At first, we were going to use an image of a sword somewhere on the cover; but after a bit of experimenting, I found that a better place to put it would be on the title. It creates a logo of sorts, while adding some movement to the design.
When it came to the composition of the images, I gave the author several draft options, each with varying colors and saturation. The one he chose was blue, for an inference of the sea:
Now that the base is finished, it's time to add the final text and details:
Now, that's the final cover!
The design was created at upload-ready resolution and measurements, so when the author wants to place it as an eBook cover, it's ready to go.
Thanks for reading!