Thursday, April 19, 2012

More cover design practice

I've been practicing more cover design in an attempt to be able to create nice covers for my short stories, and I've learned and re-learned some lessons. When I set out to design a cover for my short story, Across the Sea, I first chose a beautiful image of the Pacific Northwestern coast, which is where the story is set. I found a nice Asian font to show that the story has a Chinese element to it, and I could not get the cover to work. After a few hours of fussing with the title and the fonts, I finally went back to the drawing board and got another image. The result was much, much better:
Even though the only Chinese junk in that story is an ancient wreck, this picture was a lot more evocative than a pretty landscape. I try to remind myself that the cover is all about the image and title. From this cover you can tell that it's about an ocean crossing and involves Chinese people. I can't get everything in. There's nothing about the Athabaskan woman who is my main character or the archeological digs or any of that, but this image I hope gets attention without being misleading.

My next story was my cowrite with Ty Franck, Avatar. This one seemed simple enough. The main character is a woman who is the Avatar of Chaos. I always thought eye contact was a good way to grab attention for a cover, so that's what I used:
We'll see if Ty likes it. He has to approve it, of course. The torn edges and all that I learned from my days as a digital scrapbooker. Nice how old skills come in handy!

The final cover, I took a chance on. Combining images is a more advanced skill, and I'd been warned that nine times out of ten it looks awful and amateurish. I couldn't find one image that captured the spirit of my story, Coyote Discovers Mars, though, so I took a deep breath, got the two images, and put them together. The result:
This one's my favorite of the three, perhaps because I took a risk and tried something a little more difficult. I think it captures the idea of the story well; which is a retelling of the Native American Coyote Stories in a science fiction setting. So far this is the frontrunner for the cover of my collection, once I have my short stories all uploaded (which will be months from now).

Perhaps not perfect, but I feel like I'm learning and I'm still having fun :-)


  1. I absolutely love the Coyote cover, and the one for Across the Sea is quite good, too. When I first saw the cover for Avatar, however, I was reminded a little bit of an Arabian girl wearing a veil so that only her eyes show. But all of these covers are way beyond what I could create! Good job!

    1. Thanks, Melanie! I take your point on the Avatar cover. I'll redesign if I can think of anything (and find the right image ;-).