Friday, January 18, 2013

Self-Publishing: Producing Original Cover Art, an Example

My newest work, Cage of Skin and Bone, features original artwork. For my previous novels, I or a digital artist created covers by blending stock photos. This time I decided to step up the quality of my product. After trolling the internet for cover artists, I found a great source at Tons of artists advertise their services, and offer samples of their work. While searching the site, I stumbled across the work of Mark Bulahao. His work in the fantasy/sci-fi area is stunning. Check out his work at his website:

Furnacehead: Mark Bulahao Art

Click on "Portfolio" at the upper left of the homepage to see what attracted my attention. I contacted him, and gave him the gist of my story as well as a basic idea of what I might like on the cover. From that he sketched two rough concept images:

The first shows the story's heroine, Crissa, in a cage with the wolf she raises. The second is more of a movie poster style rendering, showing Crissa, her nemesis Bayna, and a woolly mammoth (who feature heavily in the story). I was leaning toward the second concept, but upon seeing the sketches, was struck by the quiet poignancy of the first. We went ahead with that. Mark asked me what well-known person or actress might represent the "look" I had in mind. We settled on Elisha Cuthbert, seen below.

She's obviously gorgeous, but I did say that I didn't want the cover girl to appear too sexy. Mark re-sketched that one with Elisha in mind, and sent me this as a modified concept.

After some feedback, and a couple refinements of the concept, he produced the final spectacular cover art below.

Fantastic! Mark was great to work with, and I tried not to over-specify or nit-pick details. Given freedom to express his artistry, Mark produced a final cover that is far better than I anticipated, for an extremely reasonable price!

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