Sneak Peek: Cover for Tredan’s Bane

I’m pleased to present the final cover for Tredan’s Bane.  This is by far the most detailed composition I’ve done to date for an Ebook cover.  I had the following high-level goals when I started the design:

1.  Use high-contrast text
2.  Merge at least two photos
3.  Must contain a magic book
4.  Show a scene from the story

Setting the Scene

My first task was to set the mood and pick a candidate scene from the story.  The first scene was a workbench, where a magician would create magical charms.  Second was a cobblestone street with an intricate fountain.  The third scene was the interior of a ghost amulet.

I searched through online photo sites, found, then discarded, pics of workbenches and rustic city streets.  Three “grunge” interiors caught my eye–perfect for the inside of a poorly made ghost amulet.

Book and Frame

After discovering many lovely images of magic books (most have smoke, glitter, or light rays), I selected a vector art magic book with blue streamers and twinkling white sparkles rising from its open pages.  I explain why the journal has blue magic in the story (I know, I’m being a tease!).

The gold-gilt frame was an easy discovery from the many online samples.  This selected picture frame was what I had pictured in my mind’s eye when I wrote the corresponding scene in Tredan’s Bane.

Composing the Interior

I used the photo editing software GIMP to create Tredan’s Bane cover.

My overall strategy for the interior scene was to start with the smallest elements, and worked my way outward.  I first joined the sparkling magic book and its surrounding picture frame.  I made it a transparent layer, then reduced its size to scale it on the rest of the interior scene.

I then selected a grunge background with a red leather chair, and cropped the picture to balance the floor, chair, and space for the framed picture.  I positioned the book on the wall, with an eye toward balancing the space between the chair and picture.

The first try had the picture on the left, and the chair on the right.  This wouldn’t work for what I had planned for the book title.  I flipped the picture to put the chair and framed book in their current locations.

To get the picture’s fade into a black background, I feathered the outer edges of the completed interior to black.

Assemble the Layout

It was time to assemble the cover’s components.  I created a new 500 by 700 pixel blank background, and filled it with black.  Added the completed interior as a layer, and adjusted its positioning within the background.  My goal was to leave the top third of the background for the book title text, and have the bottom quarter for the author’s name.

Time to add the words.  I used GIMP’s text tool for the top title, and experimented with the font and text color until it looked balanced, had high contrast, and filled the top third of the background.  I did the same for the author’s name in the bottom fourth of the background.

Final Magical Touch

Tredan’s magical journal is his bane.  To emphasize this, but still be subtle, I added a blur to the interior scene, except for the magic book inside of the picture frame.  Tredan’s journal is vivid, and it sparkles with Enchanter’s magical essence.

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