Category: Custom Graphic Art

Custom Covers & the Professional Graphic Artist

GldBallsCrp2-100As  many of you know, along with being a professional graphic artist and designer, I’m also an author. I’m friends with quite a few authors. Many of these authors now self-publish and often ask me what I think of this or another cover.

Ah….um…….!

It’s a real disadvantage that I don’t lie well. It’s a huge disadvantage that I do art for a living. Both problems get me into difficult predicaments when I’m asked for feedback on self-made or custom-made covers, especially the self-made ones.

For some reason, self-publishing authors want to create their own covers. While they might grudgingly let someone else do it, secretly, they want to create the whole package themselves. As an author, I understand that; as a professional graphic artist, I’m trepidatious. Here’s why:

  • Emotionally, you’re too close to the project;
  • You may not have the necessary skills to effectively pull it off.

There is a bigger problem I face as a professional graphic artist doing book covers for self-publishing authors, and small publishers or micro-presses: The client wants it to look unpolished, less than professional. This might sound nuts, but, as one author pointed out, it has to do with stigma–they don’t want to be associated with traditional publishing, so the covers have to look a little less polished. Okay. And we oblige. Usually, that means changing the font, some balance, adjusting the levels, and moving to a different color palette. And that’s about the only difference. In fact, color palette and skilled use of levels are usually the most significant factors that prove the difference between polished and professional-looking versus amateur.

And, no, sorry, I can’t give you any examples, because that would just get a whole bunch of folks angry at me. Instead, you get one of my abstract gradients. 😀

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Latest Client Book Covers

I never show book covers I build unless my contract allows it, or, if for a self-publishing author, until the book is published.  Here are two book covers recently done for author S. Bradley Stoner:

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Latest Client Book Cover

P.D.R. Lindsay is an awesome independent author. Again, she asked me to do the cover for her latest upcoming release, describing what she wanted exactly. This one was one of those grab the stock image, which took some hours to find, adjust the tone and values, tweak the title and byline font a bit, and it was a go.  The novel is due for release in November.

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Finishing a Science Fiction Cover Today

Today, I’m finishing an Science Fiction book cover that I agreed to do for an author who got introduced to my work through traditional publishing channels. Today, he’s gone ‘hybrid’, which means he’s ‘indie’, self-publishing some of his own work, sticking with his trad publisher for others. I’m on the final render of one of the elements in the cover, which has an hour to go.

As I wait for the render to complete this final element, I’m putting the fine touches on the ‘space’ part of the image, which has nebulae, a couple of planets, and some dynamic splashes of color and some vectors, suggestive of a battle in space.

Once this final render completes, which has two ships colliding, with debris flying off the point of impact, I’ll layer it in, then superimpose a hazy, faded overlay of the book’s main characters, one a woman, the antagonist, one a man, the protagonist. She’s blonde, blue-eyed, and white; he is brown with a purple tinge to his eyes and his hair. They are both human-looking.

And that brings me to the problem I find with most science fiction. It’s almost always about humans. Why?

Maybe that’s why I’ll probably never release the series that follows A Gathering of Rebels by Aeros. Humans just aren’t interested in reading about aliens. Not really.


Latest Completed Client Projects – Book Covers

Just when I think I can put away my crayons and concentrate on writing, somebody successfully gets a ‘yes’ out of me. Now, admittedly, I have a soft spot for my long-time clients, so don’t judge me too harshly on my inability to stick to ‘no’.

Two of the covers I can’t show you. But Four Nails, a soon-to-be-released historical novel about Hannibal’s elephants and elephant masters, I am allowed to share. So here’s the cover along with a look at the other cover I did for this author.

Four Nails, book cover for author G. J. Berger

Burnt Rocks book cover for South of Burnt Rocks, West of the Moon, a historical novel by G. J. Berger


A Graphic Art Bright Spot

Tizzie, a custom book cover by professional graphic artist D. L. Keur

Tizzie by P.D.R. Lindsay

It’s rare I get a public acknowledgement of my grapic art work. I get heaps of praise, via phone and email from the happy client, but rarely am I mentioned publicly. That’s as it should be, for no other reason than, honestly, the product the graphic art advertises is the important focus. Today, I received an email from George J. Berger, author of South of Burnt Rocks, West of the Moon.Burnt Rocks book cover for South of Burnt Rocks, West of the Moon, a historical novel by G. J. Berger He informed me that another client, P.D.R. Lindsay, had received a review of one of her excellent books, Tizzie, and the reviewer loved the cover. Both George and P.D.R. have always been very public in their support, and I thank them. Thanks also to the reviewer, Louise E. Rule of The Review. I’m glad you liked it!