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Anatomy of a book cover design

front SB 200W B

We thought it would be helpful to show you the evolution of a design that uses multiple pieces of art. We generally utilize stock photos and illustrations, but manipulate them to achieve the right look. This is the process for The Summer Boy cover. The book is not yet for sale, but coming soon.

Click the image to the left for the full-size front cover.

Design considerations include:

  • It’s a coming-of-age story with a murder.
  • It’s about 2 teens, a boy and a girl.
  • It takes place on a ranch in Texas.
  • It’s HOT in the summer in Texas.

First, we searched for the boy and the girl. Below you see them just as they came as stock photos.

Summer full cover thum

Click the graphic above to see a larger image of the full cover.

Jesse & Lola

Summer Boy photo 200WThe boy, Jesse, is terminally shy, especially around girls. He would look away from a girl, no matter how attracted he is. But he thinks about things, too.

Summer Girl photo 200WThe girl, Lola, is outgoing and flirtatious. She likes Jesse immediately. We wanted to create a sense of tension between the two.

However, she was looking the wrong way. And hardly dressed for a Texas ranch. That was where Photoshop came in real handy. The final cover design gives the idea that they are near each other, that she’s gazing at him, and he’s looking away.

bluebonnet fieldPatches of bluebonnet flowers are mentioned in the novel early on, and I liked the idea of them for a sense of place. We found this stock photo that gave both bluebonnets and a ranch-style fence.

bluebonnetWe liked the idea of a single bluebonnet for the back cover design.

There is murder at the ranch, and these illustrations of blood splatters did the trick for us.blood drops1

SB cover backgroundWe used Photoshop to combine the images and then several filters and adjustments to make it all very HOT! And we created a solid block of yellow to which we applied Photoshop textures and other filters to come up with a background.


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