In the past 6 months, I’ve designed well over 100 covers and I thought it was perhaps a good time to share my thoughts on some of my favorites and talk about the challenges faced when designing them. In no particular order, here are my top 5…
MUSIC BOX by ESTEVAN VEGA
This was the first cover I designed for Estevan Vega and what I loved about it was that it was one of the first covers I designed where the brief allowed me to create a cover that was more abstract than literal. It’s about a couple facing their last day in their apartment, in their city, and the brief called for a cover that conveyed a sense of temporary existence, while being a little bit eerie. Also, and this is always a good thing, it only went through 3 drafts.
GOING NOWHERE by KIMBERLY LAUREN
Going Nowhere was the first cover I designed in the genre of “Chick Lit”. When I received the brief, I actually had to google that term as I had no idea what it meant! Fortunately, it turned out to be pretty straightforward, and the final approved cover was just a tweaked version of one of the initial drafts. The novel revolves around a woman who falls in love while working on a cruise ship. Not really something I would read (I’m more of a Game of Thrones kind of guy), but it was still fun to design.
FLAT OUT LOVE by JESSICA PARK
This was definitely one of the more challenging covers to design, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the story was so unique, and the brief so specific, that I knew immediately that a unique illustration style was required. This was completely different from all the covers I had designed before, which were predominantly photo-realistic, made by combining and editing existing royalty-free stock photos. Because of this, I made the decision to bring in some help from another designer for the very first time. And just as well – she nailed it! The client was happy, and I was thrilled for 2 important reasons. Firstly, of course, there’s nothing better than a satisfied customer. And secondly, I now knew I had a design resource that I could rely on. In fact, subsequent to this cover design, this “resource” has assisted with many of the covers displayed on this site.
This was also the very first cover that I actually saw in print, as the author was kind enough to send me an autographed copy. Thanks again, Jessica!
ARSON by ESTEVAN VEGA
I know… another book by Estevan Vega. But I really love this cover. The amount of layers and work and manipulation that went into this cover is astounding, particularly that fire effect. Estevan and I went through a whopping 13 drafts to get to this, and even though I may have disagreed (quietly) with some of Estevan’s changes, ultimately he was spot-on with what he wanted. Tiny changes made huge differences. If Estevan wasn’t a great author, I’m sure he could’ve made a very successful career out of creative direction and design. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I guarantee the next 2 covers will be just as powerful.
SHADOW ON THE WALL by PAVARTI K TYLER
This cover has particular sentimental value to me, as it was only the second cover I ever designed. I was fortunate enough to be recommended to Pavarti through the author of the first cover I designed, Abyss of Chaos by David Beem. Still, I had to pitch against 73 other designs! Fortunately, Pavarti picked my cover and we’ve had a healthy pitch-free relationship since then!
I’ve only selected 5 examples above, but at the end of the day, I like all the covers I’ve designed – I should, since I designed them! I get to work with some great authors, and I love what I do. Every cover presents its own challenges, but there’s nothing more satisfying than the final approval of a client, when I get that e-mail that says, “I love it!”
I think ARSON is the best. Great job.
Remarkable versatility, I’m impressed by your talent!
Would be nice to see the earlier drafts (like the film strip of 13 ‘Arson’ versions). And exploded layer views of starting images, manipulations, and putting it together showing the techniques. You’ve got a cool eye for art.
I think your covers are really unique! However, you might want to change your text for the 3rd one, which reads “Fall Out Love” when what I see on the cover is “Flat-Out Love.”
You’ve also misspelled Estevan’s name with a “b” in the text of your fourth one.
The designs themselves – awesome!
(Sorry – I work for a publisher and was also an English teacher for many years – can’t help myself!)
Thanks Marisa! I made the changes.