Hey everyone, I thought some people might be interested in seeing how the cover of a book comes to fruition. I'm working with the artist (Piere d'Arterie) to create the third and fourth cover now, and I thought this would be interesting for some. If this breaks any rules, or if people aren't interested, please feel free to take it down :).
The creation of any piece of art starts with an idea. In my case, the book was already written, and I had to try and figure out what scene I wanted to portray. Book covers can vary widely, but I like the covers with the protagonist (or someone from the book) in the forefront while facing a monster from the series. Whatever you decide, try to make it something you're willing to stick with for the rest of the series. System apocalypse by Tao Wong does a great job at this (sorry if I've used your name without permission Tao, message me if you would like it removed :)) In this stage, I'll describe what I'm looking for to the potential artist(s) and see if they like the idea/are willing to move forward. For me, I reached out to 4 artists and eventually landed on Piere based on his previous work.
2. References Once we've decided to move forward, I'll generally send reference images. These can be references to the landscape or the cover monster itself - more recently, I've sent images of males or mocked up a design of my own in ms paint. This gives the artist an idea of what you're looking for. For my first, I sent some references for wolves and a lot of details in writing. Here are a couple of the images: https://imgur.com/a/LWOZSXK
3. Initial sketches Piere d'Arterie is awesome in that he does an initial sketch of the scenario before moving forward with the colours. In this way, I can make comments before he gets too far into the process. Sometimes, we'll have completely different ideas (I haven't described what's in my head well enough), and other times, we'll be on the same page. Here are the initial sketches: https://imgur.com/a/xkfGjd8
In the first sketch, I thought the wolf looked like a corgi :P so I had him take a look and change it up. The background also didn't evoke the feel I was going for, so he could make some updates that worked much better. I also hadn't done well in describing the setting of the story. For this reason, he gave the human tactical gear and a gun while the story is set in a fantasy setting. In the second sketch, most of the issues were resolved. We've needed to do a couple of sketches in more recent covers, but the second sketch only needed a couple of extra tweaks.
4. Colouring and text After finalizing the sketch, the artist will move on to colouring. Without over describing things, I think there's a fine line here to make sure the cover draws in readers (one that I'm obviously still learning since I'm so new). For instance, the blood depicted on the cover can't be too graphic, or the wolf can't be too horrific to look at. I'm new to all of this, and everyone's tastes are subjective, so there is no 100% correct answer. After colouring, the graphic designer or artist will place the text for the image. Coloured image and text placement: https://imgur.com/a/fIncET1
5. Final image and different formats The colouring is completed, and the text is added. When starting out (like me), you might think this is the end - nope. In fact, you'll then require multiple formats to be created. In my case, this required a paperback format and an ebook format. Some might also need a format for their audiobook or alternative covers based on the retailer. As a recommendation to anyone, always ask for the black and white version of the images also. They're interesting to add to your book (in my opinion), and the file size is much smaller. Your published paperback book will likely be in black and white anyways, so it's worth asking :). Final image: https://imgur.com/gallery/vjpXfOj
Like I said, hope someone finds this interesting. Either way, make sure to check out Piere's work. He's a great guy and does some really cool stuff :).
All the best, J.J.