Hello, bookish friends!
I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful comments on the Wildheart book covers, and I’m so glad you guys like them! Today’s post is a behind-the-scenes look at my glamorous desk (ha!) and how I put together the cover for the third book, Devil’s Den 🙂
Devil’s Den pulls in a lot of rich imagery from Mexican and Nahuatl legends. So I knew I wanted something that said ‘vampire’ but also something that said ‘Midwest meets Mexico’. I do a lot of Google image searches in general when I’m doing book research, so I started pulling images that could be good to use as reference for the cover elements.
Sketching on Paper
I still prefer doing sketches on paper first before I do the digital painting in Photoshop. I dunno–something about it just makes it easier for me to picture how big the cover will be, what the composition will be like, and how much room the title and such might take up. I sketch on regular 8.5″x11″ paper that you would use for a home printer, or in this case, a sketchbook that I picked up the last time I was in Shanghai. (Pro tip: grabbing paper from a printer is WAY faster than flying to China on a business trip.)
Scan and Paint
When the sketch is pretty well set, I scan it into my laptop and open it in Photoshop. (By the way, this sketch is WAY more complete/shaded than some of my other cover sketches–the paper sketch is generally just to get the basic outlines.) I make sure that the Photoshop cover file is at the proper dimensions (at least as big as the cover in real life, so like 5.25″x8″) and at a high resolution (at least 300 DPI). This way, the cover image quality will be good enough to print and not look blurry.
Then it’s time to throw on some music, grab my Wacom tablet, and start painting! Lots of adjustments take place, so this process can take days to a couple of weeks.
Many cups of tea and hours of music later, the painting was ready! I made a new Photoshop document with the illustration, and I added a layer so I could put in the text for the title and author. And voila! Cover complete! 🙂
Hope you guys liked seeing this cover in progress! Let me know if you want to see more stuff like this 🙂