I want to share two new book covers I’ve created for Author R. Marshall Wright. These are just two of the new book covers that I’ve created recently. Maybe I’ll get to share about the others as well soon. Since the same author commissioned these two covers, I thought I’d start with these two. I’ll share a little bit about the first book here, and the second one in a follow-up post.
Maybe–I should back up, and mention that I really enjoy creating book cover layouts for authors. It takes skill and practice to make a book cover look amazing, and most of the time, I feel a great sense of satisfaction about the end result. I also find joy in helping authors achieve their vision within the constraints placed on them–and us–by a flat, two-dimensional surface, and other limitations.
What would a new book cover be without the book inside it?
Mary and Joseph’s Untold Story: An Amazing Love Story
By R. Marshall Wright (the R. stands for Richard)
A little bit about the book: Richard–or Dick to his friends–tells a very good story. Even though the story of the Nativity has been told many times over the centuries, his retelling whisks the dust out of odd corners of the story and stacks the bits and pieces we know in ways you’ve probably never considered before. Who was Mary? Who was Joseph? Just exactly how miraculous was each part of the story that came together in such a divinely designed way? This book invites you to set aside all preconceived notions and enter into Mary and Joseph’s world.
Read the book, and fill your heart with wonder!
About the cover: this cover looks more complicated to create that it turned out to be. The hardest part was probably the text. Dick didn’t want black text; he wanted blue and cream, and he preferred specific values of blue and cream. This was good! I like it when an author knows exactly what he or she wants, and asks for it.
My biggest concern: I wanted the text to be readable. This necessitated blurring the lower quarter of the image just enough to allow the text to stand out, but not so much that it made a mess of the image. That also made the baby Jesus and Mary’s face the focal point. Then I added shadows behind some of the text and highlights behind some of the shadows– As I said, the text became a little complicated!
A good book cover requires great cover art:
The next most difficult part was layering in the village scene with Joseph “behind” Mary without messing up her hair. A big difference between a good designer and a great designer is how you deal with the challenges presented by the color transitions between human hair and animal fur and other surrounding elements. These challenges are caused by “anti-aliasing.” Anti-aliasing blends colors from one object into the colors for another at the edges where they meet, creating a “seamless” surface. While this seamless blending is great in digital photography, when you’re manipulating images with lots of thin wispy strands of hair, then, it becomes complicated.
But, I discovered that if I selected Mary and copied her out of the background image. then selected her hair, and copied that, and tweaked it using various tools (I don’t want to give up all of my secrets here), I could keep it looking natural while making Joseph look like he was in the background.
For the back cover, I opted not to place Mary and her dark hair behind the text. Instead, I layered images containing purple flowers and rendered them transparent so the end result was a blend of both photos over a light background. This turned the back cover into an optimal background for small text while maintaining continuity with the front cover image.
I like working with Richard because he’s a retired minister. He’s fun to work with, and he’s patient. I like his theology, too. I also like what I’ve read of his books so far, and I give them two thumbs up. To read Mary and Joseph’s Untold Story, click on the book or the title link above, and buy the book.
If you like this cover and you’d like me to create one for you, I’d be happy to hear from you. Contact me for my current rate (sometimes I run a sale). Writing a blog post or a review is just one of the things that I do for my authors.