I’d appreciate help with this book cover! Please stop by if you can lend an eye.
KathrynAdebayo last edited by KathrynAdebayo
Thanks so much for the help so far. Here are some color studies. The feeling i’m going for is warm, inviting, hopeful, intriguing and… loving? If that’s a feeling that makes sense outside of my head.
I’d appreciate suggestions and would love to know which one you like best.
Honestly, none of these are really standing out to me as a good start. Colors are hard. Any ideas?
Melissa_Bailey last edited by
Hi @KathrynAdebayo -- hope I'm not too late with this comment...
First of all, great job communicating the feeling you're trying to evoke in this cover.
Secondly: are you creating the artwork to the dimensions of the cover template? (Please disregard if you're an old pro at this and know all about creating cover artwork ... from your comment, I got the feeling that this might be your first book.) If you don't have a cover template/cover dimensions to use as a guide to create the cover artwork, pause right now and get that information! Otherwise, you might be putting in a lot of hard work and designing a composition that isn't the correct dimensions and that could be a huge headache for you or the book designer.
There are a lot of things that go into creating cover artwork. Is the book going to be printed as a hardcover, softcover, or both? What is the size of the bleed/foldover, spine, margins, and hinge?
Looking at the layout from a design perspective, I see a few potential issues.
- It looks like a few elements might be too close to the margins.
- Ideally, there should be more grass/empty space on the bottom so there is ample room for placement of author and illustrator names.
- What is the width of the spine? (If it's softcover, a line indicating the spine is adequate, as a softcover spine usually measures about 2mm. If the book will be printed hardcover, the spine will be at least 0.25" wide and that needs to be accounted for. Spine width varies depending on the number of pages and weight of the paper.)
- There may not be adequate room for the title, even though in the sketch it looks like there will be. This is because margins and hinge will affect title placement. If the author or book designer is planning to have really large text for the title, the cover art should leave at least 1/2 page open for the title; right now there is about a 1/3 of the page open for title placement. This is adequate if the author and/or book designer are not planning on the title being a prominent element on the cover.
- What content is going on the back cover? Has the author shared that content with you so you can ensure you're leaving enough room for text?
As far as the color studies, I think 2 & 4 are the most effective. However, the trunk and leaf canopy are really dark and read as one solid shape, and that's overpowering the design; it's the first thing I look at. Does the trunk have to be shown on the cover? Would showing the leaves be enough? If the trunk needs to be shown, can it be a lighter value? Could you move it more to the left so there is not such a strong dark verticle that draws the eye?
Again, please forgive me if I've overstepped in my assumptions. This is all meant to help and not intended to step on any toes. And if you have any questions, please ask. Congratulations on almost being done with illustrating this book! Would love to see how it all turns out for you!
Numbers 2 & 4 are my favorite. I like the pinks and red sky in 4 the most. If you go with 2, I would make the child's shirt orangish to match the clouds in the sky so she/he is more visible.
@Melissa-Bailey-0 makes some great points about the design template. Definitely get the specs before you go any further, if you haven't already.
@KathrynAdebayo I love seeing all the progress
@KathrynAdebayo HI!!! For the colors, is there a chance we can combine the tree from 1 and the sky from 2?
@Melissa-Bailey-0 Now THIS is exactly the type of critique I was hoping for. Thank you so much for taking the time to write that and share your experience and knowledge.
A bit of background, yes, this is my first book. I'm a complete novice. I came into the project knowing nothing about illustration, contracts, publishing, etc. SVS has really been essential in my learning process. So, initially, I thought that I was going to be working with a legit publishing company (with art direction, promotion of the book, etc) but I have come to realize that it is an unusual version of a vanity publisher, and that they will have nothing to do with me until I send them the completed book file. I've reached out to the author of the book to share my concern about this and to warn them that they may be disappointed by spending their money this way, but ultimately the decision is theirs. It may end up being a self published project.
So... I'm really happy to read your insights about needing more room for text and finding a proper template. I agree that the vertical trunk draws a lot of attention and the shape of the tree is heavy. I think it's all a bit too much for one design. I've definitely been feeling bothered by the text - It seems like it should be more prominent and fixing that might mean removing the tree or greatly reducing it.
The book is 8x10 and I'm planning for both a soft cover and hardcover version.
There are really more questions to be answered before I can lay paint to paper, but hopefully in the meantime the design and colors can be solidified a bit. I'm super grateful for your comments and will take them into account in the next draft. I really appreciate how you help so many people on this forum!
Melissa_Bailey last edited by
@KathrynAdebayo you're so welcome!
It sounds like you could be in a tricky situation -- you're right that the author ultimately has the final say. In my experience working with self-publishers, my advice would be RUN AWAY from any vanity publisher. Most take your money, produce a sub-par book, and do next to nothing to market the book. The author ends up paying out a bunch of money to see no return on their investment.
So as the illustrator, what you really need now is printing specs, before you can move forward. Get those cover dimensions, or better yet, since this is your first time illustrating a book, a cover template! That will give you dimensions and guidelines, which are a great help in designing the cover.
Are you going to be formatting the book yourself for print? Or is the author/publisher going to hire a book designer to do that?
Please get in touch with me if you have any questions.
@burvantill Sorry it took a while to reply - Thank you so much for your input! I really appreciate it and will take everything into consideration.
@Nyrryl-Cadiz Hi Nyrryl, thanks so much for your idea! And I hope even more progress can be made. We’ll see!
KathrynAdebayo last edited by KathrynAdebayo
So, as much as I thought I was going in a good direction, your valuable help generated some new ideas. This new value study is still not quite ready for details, but it has a few changes that I think are working better. The heaviness of the tree on the front cover is now gone - it’s a branch instead. And the text is in the sky instead of at the top of the cover to hopefully make it more prominent.
The back cover is still up in the air. Obviously there are more questions to be answered first before that can be nailed down.
Do you think this is better? Thanks so much for the help.