Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Cover Art Part 4: Color At Last!

(Part 1 of the Tutorial started HERE) 

Oooh, I LOVE color. So experimenting with color schemes was fun for me. As I played with different colors, I always kept in mind my concept. Which brings us to the next step...

Step 4) Play with different color schemes. 
Ask what colors best convey the mood, the message, the main concept. If you sketched your thumbnail out on paper, take it and run it through your art program, playing with colors quickly. And if it will be an e-book, remember some readers do not have color Kindles yet and will be seeing it in black and white. So, make sure you use values that allow the image and text to read well in black and white, also. Yeah... tall order.

Here's what my finished cover looked like in black and white. The yellow sub-title wasn't as light as the white text at the top, but still readable (isn't it amazing the difference color makes?!)

Here are just some of the color experiments I did. And yes, some are ghastly, LOL! The point is, don't be afraid to experiment.

Now is about the time you could firm up your chosen sketch and color scheme and send it to your author  for some feedback. My author was a gem to work for, and very trusting. She didn't ask that I do this step, but I really wanted to make sure she was happy with the direction it was going. She was!

Here was the "mock up" cover art I sent her. See why I said she showed a lot of trust in me, that it would turn out nice in the end? It's pretty rough!

And for comparison, here again is the final version (can click to enlarge).

Part 1 of the Tutorial starts HERE.  The Steps are more fully explained in each post. 

The Process Summary:
Step 1) What is the main concept; think simplicity
Step 2) Find out the needed technical stuff: aspect ratio, pixels, file size etc.
Step 3) Do a lot of quick thumbnails, in black and white (pencil or digital)
Step 4) Play with color schemes, which supports your concept best
Step 5) Gather any needed reference material
Step 6) Finalize your sketch; think both large & small image readability, & bold text
Step 7) Transfer sketch to your support if paper sketching; or scan in to computer
Step 8) Continue in your chosen medium, or in photoshop (working in Layers) 
Step 9) Font: readability is priority one; must be allowed for commercial use
Step 10) Final copies. Save in PSD. Send needed sizes to author, or what's required by publisher. 
The ideas here are most applicable to the traditional artist who is using a digital art program to do the finish work. Those making 100% digitally created cover art are a horse of a different color. ;-)

Thanks for reading, and I'd love to hear what you think!

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to say hello. I was thinking about you. Hope you are well. I've fallen off the world once again, but I'm trying to do a bit of art (just a couple new up today on portal to art) and got about 125 miles on the bicycle this year so far.

    great to see you still having art attacks!!! - Alan aka foolsfitness