For this week’s weekend book cover experiment, I got a fantasy novella from Laura Christensen. She commissioned an original piece of cover art from Natasha Alterici.

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THIS ART IS AWESOME. My primary job here is to not ruin it with a bad design.

This requires absolutely no additional images, so my whole job is choosing the fonts. For a fantasy, especially historical fantasy, I like serifs. To my surprise, the major factor seems to be finding a font with a decent Q. I scan through my fonts and decide High Tower Text looks appropriately epic-fantasy. I just learned how to do a decent metallic font, so I want to flex that new muscle.

On the way I find Onyx which looks like it’ll be great for the author name. (It looks familiar, in a mass-market paperback kind of way. I can’t place it. Anyone?) I want to use that blue accent on her gloves and shoes in the author name. I apply an outline around the author name and a texture over it.

There’s space for a blurb over to the left, so I put some smoke behind it to make it easier to read, and use the same font as the title. Seriously, this art is composed so perfectly for this purpose.

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I like this a whole lot. Some things I don’t love: the white behind the title is too obviously shaped like the letters. The title doesn’t stand out as well as I’d like in thumbnail size. The blue text is too hard to read against the brown background. (I weep to lose it.) The title is a little lopsided for my taste. I look up a few authors and find it’s more common not to put a space between initials. (Who knew?)

This leads to my usual disastrous session of Trying Things.

tries

I pull these together into an iteration that uses what I think are the best versions of each element. I contact the author about the blurb; she doesn’t have one, so I write a tagline based on the description.

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This was a different challenge than the usual one of making stock art look halfway decent. I think original art is a great strategy for fantasy covers, but only if you can get something as high-quality as this piece. She’s open to commissions, I understand.

The story that goes with this cover is available to read on Wattpad!

What do you think? Does the text work with the image, or get in the way? What tweaks would you make?

FONTS, TOP TO BOTTOM

  • High Tower Text
  • Onyx

IMAGE SOURCES

TIME TO CREATE

  • About 2 hours for the first draft, then another 2 hours of fiddling

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

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