In Forever Boy, a dog flees his cruel master, befriends a wizard, and discovers his shapeshifting magic.
Here is the just-finished cover for Forever Boy. I wanted to talk about some of the thoughts that went into its design.
I considered, then discarded, several elements. Vitruvian Man? Didn’t work. Hot air balloon? Nope. Curlicue text frames? Looked like a restaurant’s menu cover. So I settled on these design elements:
- Create a series theme
- Must have a boy & dog
- Imply time or clocks
- Renaissance influences
Other must-haves applied. The title must be legible when reduced to thumbnail size. Since Forever Boy is an Ebook, the cover must look good on a computer screen and various eReader devices.
Create a series theme
Forever Boy is the first tale in the Clockpunk Wizard series of novellas. The stories will stand alone, so Gentle Reader can peruse the stories out-of-order, if desired. The series covers need a common theme. What about a volume number? I came close to using one, but cut it at the very end. I decided on “A Clockpunk Wizard Story” somewhere near the title. All covers in the series will display this phrase.
Must have a boy & dog
In an earlier post, I talked about the central character’s cyanthrope nature. His discovery of this magical duality, and taking action about it, is the theme of Forever Boy. For weeks I taxed my GIMP knowledge to create a sophisticated morph of a boy and dog face. Not pretty. The two different pics with moody lighting is much better than any of my amateurish photo morphs. No need to thank me for this decision. Believe me, this result is much better.
Imply time or clocks
Clockwork mechanisms are central to how magic works in the Clockpunk Wizard world. I had to put a clock or time element on the cover. There are many lovely stock photos of old watches, clock faces, and ticktock mechanisms. I picked a full-page parchment picture with the clock faces already sprinkled in the lower left corner. I applied a filter to darken the background to take the emphasis off of the clock faces and instead focus on the boy and dog.
The clockpunk genre sets its stories in the latter 15th and early 16th centuries, in the time of the Renaissance and the devices of Leonardo Di Vinci. Actual book covers from this time have ornate, repeating design patterns and simple book titles. Lovely, but not eye-catching according to modern tastes. There are two Renaissance elements in the Forever Boy cover:
The ornate mirror frame is a nod to my discarded curlicues. The frame is a hint of vintage embellishment, not a glut of it. It is a more balanced design, too. Using Garamond font was a sneaky Renaissance ploy. This beautiful classic font is still used in many print books. It is easy to read. And it is correct to the time period of the magic world in Forever Boy.