I thought it’d be interesting to share my process of designing and creating covers, so I’m starting a series of blog posts call “Anatomy of a Cover”, which I hope to post on a regular basis.
A cover for me is more than just slapping text on images. Today, we’re going to take a look at a cover I was recently commissioned to design for the rising star of erotica, Sara Fawkes.
Sara contacted me a while back, asking me if I’d do a cover for her latest installment of “Anything He Wants”. Being a big fan of her work, naturally, I said yes! (I jumped, actually. Jumped up and down like a giddy little girl–just kidding, lol.)
She actually did an amazing job with the first two covers, but she had trouble conceiving the third book’s cover, after looking far and wide for an image that would be suitable. This is where I came in.
My first question to her was: What do you want to see on the cover? Or, more precisely: Are you looking for the same look and feel as the first two books? The answer was yes.
Sara’s first two books have a very romantic feel to the cover, while being quite erotic if you look closely, so this is my starting point. The important thing here is that the main characters have very specific physical traits so if the cover will feature them, the physical traits have to match.
After looking far and wide, across multiple sites… I came up with zilch (along with some headdesking and facepalming). I have seen several stock photos that have the right feel to it, but the physical traits just didn’t fit.
That’s okay! Because I have photoshop!
I settled on this particular stock photo. I liked how it’s suggestive, but not overtly so. It fits well with what Sara is looking for:
The first step is to clean the image to get rid of the background, and then adjust the contrast and color to fit the look and feel we want to achieve. The image is also cropped to focus on the body rather than the face.
In the book, Lucy, the main character, is blond, so we’re going add some blond hair that I took from another stock photo. Originally, the guy has his hand on the girl’s back, which is obscured by adding the blond hair. What I have done is take the hand and added it back to the image, but at the girl’s lower back.
Now, we get to add text. Originally, I used purple, but Sara felt that the purple is too… much, so we had some discussion and decided on a green.
Now, I’m still not quite happy with the background. I want it to have something that echoes with the color of the text, and I also want to draw the focus upwards to the girl’s shoulders. I ended up adding a gradient layer to lighten her upper body but darken the rest of the image, and colorized her bra to a green that is just a shade darker than the text.
And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading about my process in designing a cover. If you would like to see more, or would like to hire me, please drop me a line!