Friday, June 26, 2015

Today: Discover How the Book Cover was Created

As part of My-Sister-the-Writer's book launch for Galaxy Nomads I thought you might enjoy seeing the "making of" the book cover.

Galaxy Nomads: Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan

Since I hadn't read the book when I started, I began by asking questions from the author. I wanted info on things like characters, settings, tone, mood, themes. I may be doing the cover art, but the author has a "world" she's created in her own imagination, and I wanted to do it justice.

(Impt: Always be sure you use copyright free images and/or purchase the rights. We did both.)

Please note: for faster page loading, these are small thumbnails. You can click on any image to enlarge for details.

The first thing we needed was the right background. 
A wonderful photographer I happen to know 
(oh, gee, I'm married to him) gave us permission to use 
this photograph he took in Southern Oregon. 
Thank you to Jim R Stephenson Photography:

Cropped it:

Turned it into a night sky:

Landscaped it:

Now we need the Clan! Original graphics stock:

Modified to our Clan:

Added to background; 
yellow sunset backlighting to silhouettes:

Glow from sunset hitting our family:

Close up of the MacKenzie silhouette:

The Clan nestled onto the planet:

Now we need some stars, galaxies, night sky artifacts:

Our Ship is next! This is our original stock photo:

Sleeked out and modified:

The large intergalactic spaceship in which generations 
of MacKenzies left their home world, were born in, and died in!

The final image sans text:

And our finished book cover with text:

I hope you found this behind-the-scenes look at how the cover art was created interesting. I used a dinosaur version of Photoshop, PS Elements 6, but it did the job. If you need a source of free-to-use imagery, check out morgueFile.

I think my favorite part was creating the spaceship. It has a kind of "retro-future" look to it. No, really, that's a legit term in the art world! It cracked me up when My-Sister-the-Writer laughed and said that term was an oxymoron. Oh well, who ever said artists were normal, mwa ha ha ha.

Happy creating,


PS: for anyone interested in more detailed info on creating their own book cover, I wrote a 7 part cover art tutorial HERE. 


  1. Thank you, Retta, for showing how well you put this together. I guess I lied on my blog because I said you made your pictures by hand and not digitally. But this was the exception to the rule, right? Oops!

    1. Naw, you just don't understand the terminology.

      -A painting done on canvas with paint only, is painted traditionally, with physical paint.

      -A painting done on canvas then scanned into the computer and modified, and text added is a combination, sometimes called "digitally enhanced" artwork. It uses both the art made in the physical world, and digitally added effects done on the computer. I do those effects by hand "digitally", not run thru a filter program.

      -A painting done TOTALLY on the computer would be digital art.

      For cover art mine is, by necessity, a combination. Sometimes more "hand painted" then scanned; sometimes more is done on the computer.

      For this particular cover art, the elements were combined using a computer program (in this case, Photoshop Elements). Along the way, there were many many modifications made to those images using digital "paintbrushes" in Photoshop Elements to end up with the final version.

      Hope that helps!