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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cover Elements

Hello everyone, sorry that it has been a while since I posted. I have been busy, sick, a little iced in, and experimenting. "Experimenting?" you say. No, I am not trying out anything illegal. I wanted to see if anyone noticed the blog going silent for a while. Sadly, no one really spoke up. But, after saying something about this experiment a few others encouraged me to keep going. So, here I go.

For my first post in a while I would like to show you the elements of the cover for book 2 of the Legacy of the Dragonwand series. Creating a cover is hard work. Not only do I hand draw all the elements to make the cover. I have to blend them together seamlessly and attractively so that readers are encouraged to pick up the book. Before all that I need to make the decisions about what should and should not be part of the image.

A cover needs to convey mystery and excitement, at least for fantasy adventures I believe that is the case. The cover needs to tell a little story on its own, a sampling of what is inside the book. It should make enough sense for the reader to want to flip the book over and check out the mini-description on the back. (The backside material is a whole other can-o-worms but we won't worry about that just yet.) Last, personally I think a cover needs to be mysterious enough to make the reader wonder what it means, for it should have an deep meaning for the story, but not obvious enough to betray the mystery. The reader should come to a point in the story where they suddenly go "Oh, so THAT's what going on with the cover." To me the same goes for the title of the book and the title of each chapter. It should make sense only when you read further and realize what the title/chapter heading truly means.

That all said, here are the various elements that have gone into the second cover:

I started with the drawing of the dragon head, for the dragon was going to be the central image. I got the drawing done and then colored it a nice red color. I sat back and thought to myself "There aren't any red dragons in your book." I had to start over and give it a golden color, for there just happen to be a golden dragon in the book. So, the golden dragon here is going to be the covers central image.

I wanted to add something simple to the background so that the dragon head was superimposed over another image that fit the book. The characters spend a good amount of time in the Barren Mountains in the book, so I sketched a little line of peaks. I actually went for an "artsy" look. That way they would feel right being background images and not drawing the eye away from the center.


Last I wanted some secondary character images to complete the "story" of the cover. I first drew Treb with his bow out. I like it but it didn't feel like it would work all that well on the cover. He will likely end up inside the book, and will stay black and white. Still wanting another character on the cover I chose to go with the evil King. I drew the king. I separately his crown and then colored both. I think he will work and plan on shrinking him down so that he is more background than up front for the cover, leaving the dragon still the focal point.

I have some ideas about how to combine these images and what to do to make them a cover, but I will wait to show that to you until a later point. For now these remain the "potential" images that will be made into the second books cover. If history has taught me anything about my work its that things change. My first book went through five covers before I finally settled on the one I liked. But, I hope to start this one with a good cover and working hard to those ends is the key to success.

Why do I work so hard to draw my own covers? I have had people ask me this and offer me sites and names of cover artists that would do a fine job. Plain and simple answer; money. I respect why they charge so much, after having done all that I do for my own covers and the pro's do so much more. But, I just don't have the revenue at this time to put into the covers and that leaves it up to me.

Thank you for reading, have a blessed week.

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