Hard time with a book cover. Help!

  • Hey all, this is the first book cover I've ever worked on and I'm struggling. With the first one the author didn't like how symmetrical it was, and wanted things to be more offset in scale. The second is my attempt so far to meet that need and to keep the overall concept, but now I think it looks messy. Can anyone help with suggestions, things you're seeing and I'm not? Thank you in advance!

    cover 2.PNG

  • SVS OG

    It's very cute! Have you tried making Jack bigger and swinging behind the text? Unless it's carved in stone, i would make his shirt red and tone down the red in front, it really pulls your eye to the flowers and not the boy. He's blue and gray and just kinda blends into the background. Need more contrast for him 🙂

  • @Lynn-Larson the boy's shirt is blue all the way through the book, so I don't think that will work. If he's behind the text would that make him more out of the picture?

    I get the contrast, and I have different things that were repeated in the book that I could use in place of the red. I"ll keep playing! Thank you!

  • Pro SVS OG

    I think this is really cute! I agree about the red pulling some attention maybe just lower the saturation on them.

    If you are feeling it is too crowded here is a draw over example of a way to open it up a bit and add some distance to the piece too. I took out some of the bottom right foliage and added an island in the distance. This is quick and messy but something like this maybe help free it up and add little variety. Just an idea, I'm sure more people will jump in with suggestions.


  • @Charlie-Eve-Ryan that is a wonderful. It lightens everything up and also gives more of and idea of the story, there is a sea involved. I'm defiantly going to play with that! Thank you so much!

  • I hope you don't mind I drew over it a bit. I moved Courageous down a bit to give the character a bit more space. I personally don't mind the vine to go over the title, it gives the character a sense of being in front and nothing can stop him. I don't think it's hard to read Courageous at all. I love the color and yes those flowers need to be toned down just a bit, it's tricky when you have green in the background versus red up front. I hope it helps!. Great work.1447271267250-upload-4014cfda-d253-4909-9ca1-e08b28018d86.jpg

  • @Naroth-Kean thank you! I really like how that looks. The space seems to be widening up and is less difficult for me too see. I guess I was literally too close! Lol.

  • SVS OG

    @bharris Another idea for you 🙂 (just an idea). Personally I think if your author wants to make it less symmetrical in feel, it would really help for the text to follow a less symmetrical pattern too. So I put the text at an angle, and bigged up the red plant which I think is drawn in a fun way and worth showing off more 🙂 Now you have more space to show the vine swooshing across the page. Hope it helps you think in new ways anyhow. Good luck with it!


  • @Dulcie I liked that a lot personally when I was doing thumbnails for this! I think it is effective in giving more movement. I like the beefed up red there, I just wonder if I would lose too much attention of Jack...? I'll play with this design as well, it really could work well! Thank you!

  • SVS OG

    Glad to help 🙂 If you're worried about losing Jack, you could up the contrast around him, eg by making his top a different colour, maybe a deeper blue like the text, or red...at the moment it's quite close to the sky in colour.

    Edit - sorry just read the thread again and realised red wasn't an option. Oh well I'm sure you will find a way 🙂

  • here's my thoughts...I love the change of title.
    I thought the vine to the left needed to come downward. I cleared the way to read the illustration and title better...and I moved the plant out of the way..the plant move is white...and the vine move is in color...ugh...

    1447276225012-new-cover copy.jpg

  • @Cheryl-Eklund I also made that particular vine move! Yes! Much better!

  • SVS OG

    I like the idea of removing the right-hand leaves @Cheryl-Eklund, it does help the text and it's like maybe now he is swinging into the unknown, it's more exciting 🙂

  • Here is an update on the cover. What do you folks like, don't like?

    Cover 5.PNG

  • Pro SVS OG

    Really nice, redo... nice action, sense of place and more open. I like that you grouped the written by and illustrated by text, makes it cleaner and gives the main character more room. Maybe darken the color of the sand behind the author last name so we don't lose those last few letters.

  • What a valuable resource this community is!

    @Charlie-Eve-Ryan Thank you so much for the input, it's working so much better now!

  • It's definitely getting there!
    I have a couple of nitpicky things now that you're feeling better about composition.

    Text: General kerning on the title seems a little too wide, along with the leading.
    The Written by line butts up to the horizon line/top of the water a little too closely, i'd recommend knocking it down a little bit or moving the water line up, and also decreasing the leading here.

    Color: Since you are working in rather flat colors, your value choices are even more important than ever. Using the darker green for the foliage around Jack will help him pop out from it more.

    Flat vs shaded style: The island in the background, and some of the water and sky are soft shaded whereas everything else has a very hard cut, almost pixel style feel to it. These two styles really clash against each other, and could use some unification.

    I hope you'll share the final with us!

  • So this is why one has contracts... yet I don't with this author since it's my first. She approved the beginning version, but wanted the changes. Then she approved the new version so I began the revision, but now she wants the first version back...

    @Bobby-Fasel thank you for your input! I'm not married to anything, and I'll take your suggestions!

  • Ohh man, sorry to hear that you're having those back and forth issues. They can definitely be frustrating...

    Btw - I don't know if you know about this, but there's a "Freelancers Union" that isn't a real union, but has a lot of helpful resources. I signed up and wound up ignoring most of it, BUT - they have a quick contract creator that's pretty helpful as a base. You can then pull it into Word or another editor and tweak stuff.

    Hope the rest of the process goes well!!

  • SVS OG

    @bharris I really like the last one! If she wants the first one back, then you should be ahead of the game. Tell her any more changes there will be a fee 🙂

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