I realize that the book cover should be the LAST thing I worry about, but I saw my Patience, and I couldn’t help myself. Inspiration strikes as it will yo. Helping Morrigan set up her new blog yesterday inspired me to share a bit of the book cover making process here with you.
Firstly, as you know, I found an image on Getty Open Content that jumped out at me. I did not go there with either the expectation or intention of finding Patience. Once I found her, though, I set about giving her some color:
Next I needed to give Patience a background. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a full moon or a clock. Then I thought, “Why not both?” I couldn’t find what I wanted, though, so I had to make my own. Ingredients:
I wasn’t sure what else to include except that there had to be a cat. I decided, though, that a couple of stacks of books wouldn’t be out of order. This image (left) was provided by Liam at fromoldbooks.org. Liam is seriously an unsung HERO. Go sing to him, wouldja? If I ever get rich and famous I will personally visit Liam and show him my ankles. (That’s a promise, Liam. I LOVE Canada!)
Last but definitely not least: the cat. This was the most challenging image both in terms of finding the right cat and photomanipulation/digital painting. After perusing a ridiculous number of cat photos (There are some seriously scary-looking cats on the internet. You have been warned.), I decided upon this one:
Ultimately it was the cat’s posture, plus the fact that it’s whole body was visible, plus its direct look, plus the fact that the picture was in the public domain that proclaimed this cat to be Prissy. The main problem with using this image lay in the difference in quality between it and “Seated Woman with a Bird”–the image I used for Patience. I’m still not entirely satisfied with the look of the cat in juxtaposition to Patience, but I do think I’ve come a long way towards making it look like it belongs. I guess I’ll just need to keep experimenting.
I also want to say that Thivierr is another unsung hero. Seriously, people, I can’t say enough about the folks who ultimately release their works into the public domain. They are catalysts for creativity, and I have so much respect for them.
And now… the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
It’s not perfect, but then it isn’t meant to be. Creating the mock-up helps me to visualize my characters. Plus, it’s just plain fun. 🙂
NOTE: Sometimes the search for one element leads you to unexpected treasures. Here is a google image search for “public domain vintage moon illustration”. There are some very cool things happening on that page!
NOTE #2: Including the term “public domain” in your search does NOT guarantee that all of the resulting hits will be in the public domain. You should look at each source carefully. In some instances, using tineye can be very useful in determining the source of an image. Whenever you are in doubt as to whether or not an image is copyright-protected, DO NOT USE THE IMAGE. As disappointing as this can sometimes be, it is for your own protection (sorta like condoms). Try a new image search to find something similar.
NOTE #3: I know I don’t need to tell you that there are a lot of shady sites on the ‘net. Personally, I use Mozilla Firefox for all of my browsing needs. I also installed the “Web of Trust” (or WOT for short) add-on. WOT warns me about potentially harmful sites before I click a single search result and helps keep me from spending days at a time removing malicious crap from my computer.
NOTES #4 & #5: I have not been paid or reimbursed in any way by anyone referenced on this page. I just wanted to give everyone a small peek into the process behind the image and give proper credit where it was due. If, on the other hand, anyone WANTS to pay me or send me free stuff, I am totally open to accepting it. ‘Cause Me = Poor, yo. Also, nothing on this page should be taken as legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I’m just some chick on the internet. I am in no way liable for how you use any of the information provided or for what happens to you as a result. By actually using any of my advice you acknowledge this disclaimer to be true and hold me blameless. In other words: you are responsible for your own actions, and in case you missed it, Me = Poor.