This is the follow-up post to the winner announcement of this month's Free Cover Design Raffle. The winner of the raffle was Cleo Davadi (@writercleodavadi on Instagram) and I've been working together with her on the cover for her YA fantasy, The Dawn Princess.
This is the final result:
The Dawn Princess will start serialization on Wattpad soon, so prior to that, I've decided to share the behind-the-scenes steps we took to create this cover.
First off, The Dawn Princess is the story of 16-year old Laila, a lowborn girl in the city of Dawnhold who loses her parents to a foreign army. Her only resort is to join a class of lowborn girls training to be married off to nobles – the Porcelain Ladies. But there, she finds out that the purpose of the Porcelain is not quite what she thought it would be, and the people she meets – including a charming noble stranger – aren't who they appear to be.
While discussing the cover through emails, the author told me she had some very clear ideas for the look of the cover: for images, the protagonist, Laila, in a gown, and the city of Dawnhold. For colours, pink and purple. She wanted the cover to be on the lighter spectrum; no dark and brooding black-and-white photos.
There were several examples of covers she liked:
With these in mind, we set out to find the right images. The girl in a gown and the city of Dawnhold – two images which would work well on a cover.
After some searching, we decided on these two photos – the ones that best fitted the author's description:
After that, we worked on the composition. How I would arrange the images for an uncluttered and easy-to-make-out cover. Since the photo of the girl features a reflection, I decided to make the city part of that reflection;
That leaves a lot of space for the title and the author's name. After tossing around various font choices, we decided on a curlier script coupled with good ol' Trajan.
Now, this was okay, but we needed a clearer sense of contrast to draw attention; and a brighter, prettier colour palette.
So, I went off in Photoshop and adjusted the colours and saturation, cleaning up and altering, adding some extra details and effects as I went along. The final result was a success with the author:
Blonde-haired Laila in a purple-and-cream gown?
An area of the city of Dawnhold, at dawn?
Simple but dramatic font?
And does it match the look and feel of the examples? Pink with purple, and a 'lighter' appearance?
Well, I hope so!
Thank you all for reading!
You can find Cleo's story on Wattpad here.