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BrokenSword
11-08-2012, 10:15 AM
Below is the current cover on the stove; thoughts?
(hope this is the correct file size from Flckr as it's beneath the 1600 pixel count, though above the 400 limit. The next size is considerably smaller and I'm not sure it would be easily viewable. Let me know if the smaller is preferred and I'll swap this one out.)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8488/8166051640_b830118b0f.jpg

Gale Haut
11-08-2012, 11:06 AM
I would have to get nitpicky to critique this. It's very well put together.

Something constructive to say... The font could be more interesting. I do prefer the font used in the subtitle.

Kerosene
11-08-2012, 11:22 AM
Impressive, though the lion is kinda weird for my tastes.

The thin text is really hard to grab, and the secondary title is a bit small.

I have to say, the backdrop, no so much the character (their interaction with the backdrop is a bit weird) is absolutely bad ass.


Will, drooling.

Gale Haut
11-08-2012, 11:55 AM
On closer look, there are elements along in the frame that are bothering me. The leaves look a little redundant or copy/paste, and a few appear to be placed just a bit off.

Kerosene
11-08-2012, 12:42 PM
On closer look, there are elements along in the frame that are bothering me. The leaves look a little redundant or copy/paste, and a few appear to be placed just a bit off.

They're clipped by some framing within the border too.

I thought they were some sort of artificial wearing, but, yeah, on closer look I don't like them too.

Why is there a black border anyway? Seems to be a waste to me.

BrokenSword
11-08-2012, 01:59 PM
The original idea shows a story element (purple ginko) that is deliberately cut off on the outside edges, trying to keep the leaves a certain size and anticipating printer/cut line issues.

Re the font type; I've used a 'script' type on a previous novel and thought it was harder to pickup re thumbnail, although I mainly design for print (understanding the ramifications re thumb size). That's why I was thinking more conventional (font type) for this book.

From the comments, here's the cover sans border. Be interesting to see which goes over better.


http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8199/8166347434_379e8e2f55.jpg

LAgrunion
11-08-2012, 02:15 PM
I like the cover sans border. It's cleaner.

Overall, I think the cover is good, though I don't love it. I prefer a simpler, cleaner, and even fuzzier image. That would convey a bit more dreaminess to this (fantasy?) novel. Right now, there is too much detail for me - too busy. For example, the mountains in the background has a lot of ridges. That kind of distracts me from the foreground characters, which I think should be the focus.

That said, preferences are subjective, so I could very well be outside the consensus.

Polenth
11-08-2012, 02:41 PM
The background has that Bryce default feel, so I'm not really feeling it. The squishy author name also bothers me. But those are relatively minor. Overall, the colours work okay and the text is readable. It looks like an epic fantasy, and if that's the case, it's doing its job.

leahzero
11-08-2012, 05:10 PM
Feedback for the borderless version:

First, the title and subtitle are not centered. Make sure you fix that. The line under the title is also longer on the right side.

I am not a fan of this font (or at least not when it's in Title Case, instead of ALL CAPS). It's too stylized, and when taken in conjunction with the extreme detail of the background art, it kind of blends in. With such a textured and colorful piece of art behind it, I suggest making the typography very simple, clean, and bold, so that it stands out and pops.

I strongly recommend all caps on the title and byline. You have a short title that works perfectly with all caps--easy to read, striking, eye-catching. All caps gives a more epic feel, IMO. This is fantasy. You want epic!

Test your cover by zooming out to approximate the size it will be when readers are browsing Amazon. The artwork loses its detail and becomes blobs of color. You can make out three humanoid figures, but the cat could be anything. The background elements become overwhelming and the eye doesn't know where to focus. So you might want to blur out some of the background detail like the mountains and the bridge, and the texture in the sky. Simulate a depth of field effect. The eye should be drawn to the title and the figures in the foreground.

Zoomed out, the only readable element is the title, which is good, but your surname should also be somewhat readable at that distance. Keep in mind that you are creating an image not just for this book, but for yourself. You want your name to stick in the reader's mind.

I'd suggest doing something like this:


D E A N . . M I C H A E L
CHRISTIAN

Hope this helps.

LAgrunion
11-08-2012, 06:01 PM
Feedback for the borderless version:

First, the title and subtitle are not centered. Make sure you fix that. The line under the title is also longer on the right side.

I am not a fan of this font (or at least not when it's in Title Case, instead of ALL CAPS). It's too stylized, and when taken in conjunction with the extreme detail of the background art, it kind of blends in. With such a textured and colorful piece of art behind it, I suggest making the typography very simple, clean, and bold, so that it stands out and pops.

I strongly recommend all caps on the title and byline. You have a short title that works perfectly with all caps--easy to read, striking, eye-catching. All caps gives a more epic feel, IMO. This is fantasy. You want epic!

Test your cover by zooming out to approximate the size it will be when readers are browsing Amazon. The artwork loses its detail and becomes blobs of color. You can make out three humanoid figures, but the cat could be anything. The background elements become overwhelming and the eye doesn't know where to focus. So you might want to blur out some of the background detail like the mountains and the bridge, and the texture in the sky. Simulate a depth of field effect. The eye should be drawn to the title and the figures in the foreground.

Zoomed out, the only readable element is the title, which is good, but your surname should also be somewhat readable at that distance. Keep in mind that you are creating an image not just for this book, but for yourself. You want your name to stick in the reader's mind.

I'd suggest doing something like this:


D E A N . . M I C H A E L
CHRISTIAN

Hope this helps.

I agree with everything Leahzero says. She brought up insights I never thought of myself. And she seems to have quite an artistic eye.

I especially like the way she did your name at the bottom.

Gale Haut
11-08-2012, 06:08 PM
I agree with everything Leahzero says. She brought up insights I never thought of myself. And she seems to have quite an artistic eye.

I especially like the way she did your name at the bottom.

Yeah. Leah has a great eye and great ideas for this kind of stuff. :)

defyalllogic
11-08-2012, 06:50 PM
Great notes so far!
1. squished name bother's me too.
2. The tiny characters look like they were pulled from a video game. And they're tiny.
3. The lack of border is a million time easier to look at.
4. I don't mind the font.

LBlankenship
11-09-2012, 12:00 AM
This might be just me...

The harshness of the colors and the general flatness ("video-gamey" as defyallogic said) are making it tough on my eyes. The only part of the picture I'm comfortable with is the cloudy sky -- which is a photo, yes? I need some depth indicators for the artwork.

And it feels like the characters must be very detailed, but they're standing so far away I can't actually see anything. Give me someone to focus on, please!

The title & subtitle are nice!

Tezzirax
11-09-2012, 04:05 AM
My thoughts, take em and you like.

desaturate the mountains and if possible use photo source rather than bryce looking computer graphics - unless you are trying to show that this is virtual reality...even then they are an eyesore.

my eye is drawn immediately to two things which have no definition, I can't tell what they are.
1. the blue thingy on top of the bridge, major focal point, but I can't tell what it is so it loses my interest.
2. the black splotch on the ground between the deer-mandingo and the guy in the white shorts next to him. My eye goes to it again and again and I all I get is, inkstain?

You have dark characters on top of a lighter background, that makes your detailing on the characters fight with the composition and the eye just wanders away from them to background details.

definitely use saturation to seperate your foreground from background. Watch your perspective, especially where your characters feet are standing...because they are all standing at different heights on your ground plane they seem both out of scale with one another and flattened like they were just pasted onto whatever unrecognizable thing they are standing on.

You have gotten some great suggestions on the typography already. I would only add that with the highly detailed graphic that you have, you should be simplifying and bolding your type.

If you can bring your characters closer, go for it. Keep your focal point on them with sharpness, value, saturation and contrast. And the opposite is true for your background, set it back with atmosphere by destaturating and dropping contrast between elements.

BrokenSword
11-09-2012, 06:47 AM
Thanks for all the great input; I hope I put some of the ideas to good use. Below, v3.


http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8346/8168542024_cc6e2974c1.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8485/8168567246_b9556a3e40.jpg

Rachel Udin
11-09-2012, 07:15 AM
The type setting is better--I like the type treatment a lot, however, I'm still not feeling that font.
(The border below Beryl also feels extraneous)

I think the color issues are also valid. Is there a way to bring down the saturation and the value a bit on the background-- at least the saturation? (Mostly on the mountain section which is conflicting with the foreground colors)--you can do it with an adjustment layer/layer mask so it's non destructive.) Anyway, the color problem is mostly that you have high saturation on both the foreground and the background causing a clash. The characters are more important than the background, right? Show that through color use.

I'm not sure what your overall concept is, so I can't help tweak it further than that. I have to agree it feels very RPG game-like.

Gale Haut
11-09-2012, 07:17 AM
Dean, can you tell us what the book is about and what age group you expect to purchase it?

BrokenSword
11-09-2012, 08:02 AM
Thanks for looking in again, Rachel and Gale.

Gale: adult sci fantasy. More or less as most of you surmised, this is close to epic fantasy albeit with a more personal approach.


Rachel: I'll look to see some versions with a more saturated background. Do you have a suggestion for a font? I went through what I have and most were too plain imo. I did try not to go for the more complex type and felt this was a nice compromise. But certainly am willing to mock up a version with a font choice you may have, if I have it also. Btw, I altered my last version several times, so perhaps you reviewed with one of the earlier subs? That is, is the last pic above the one you're referring to re color issues? I did darken the sky (ala my son's idea that the title would pop more). (edit; just now uploaded a desat version, and placed it side by side with the one above. Better?)

Thanks for the ideas.

ZoeYork
11-09-2012, 08:22 AM
The desaturated background version looks great, and I love the name suggestion as well.

Gale Haut
11-09-2012, 09:12 AM
This looks more like it's marketing towards teens or people who would be interested in franchise, RPG literature (trying not to say fanfic, because that has negative connotations). If the image is to appeal to a more mature audience, then the color palette, shading and lighting on your characters need to expand and mature as well. The popping line art coupled with the bright hues looks very comic bookish.

I think the image is good, and getting better. But not good for the demographic you want to reach.

BrokenSword
11-09-2012, 10:28 AM
Interesting thoughts, Gale, so I went looking for some fantasy covers. Some I have (showing my age) in my own collection and some are current on Amazon. I put my cover in the middle to see how it might fare re appealing to the adult sci fi fantasy crowd. See, I have many books (albeit most from much earlier) whose art sits pretty well next to what I've created as well as (imo) in similar vein to some current covers. They say to write the kind of books you read, and that's what I do. I think the art I've created attracts a reader like me, even before I started to tweak per this thread's suggestions. Perhaps art is really that subjective, though. Some may think it's apples and oranges, but just consider the LoTR cover; that book (trilogy) was marketed to adults and imo, I'd not say the art was anything but pedestrian. (And I'm not comparing myself to Tolkien, just the art that was used to market the book.)

Interesting discussion nonetheless.

Just for conversation purposes. I'm still listening to ideas and willing to mock up further versions to see if the art can improve in my eyes as well as those on the forums.


http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7247/8168747294_f456788786.jpg

Rachel Udin
11-09-2012, 10:29 AM
Broken Sword--it's hard to give you type suggestions without knowing the exact concept of the book... i.e. I'd need a blurb which gives me ideas of the theme etc.

Rules can be broken, but giving you critiques beyond the technical usual aspects is difficult without knowing what concept you are shooting for, thus which rules need to be broken/followed. Color choice, images, font, etc usually all bend to the concept/theme of the book.

I do have to say the desaturated background is definitely better. The characters in the foreground come out better.

Also per the post just above me--some of those covers are older... try to look at contemporary designs. Some of the typography in the 80's to Early 90's on covers was ugly...

Gale Haut
11-09-2012, 11:27 AM
Just for conversation purposes. I'm still listening to ideas and willing to mock up further versions to see if the art can improve in my eyes as well as those on the forums.



If you are your audience, and you disagree with me, then you should definitely ignore my input.

By the way, that 2 Towers cover is old. My first copy had that exact cover hanging on by a thread. I inherited it from my dad around 15 years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if the image has been entirely de-commissioned. You'll want to research that kind of thing if you're using the artwork as a personal standard for quality.

Best of luck to you.

Alessandra Kelley
11-09-2012, 02:44 PM
I rather like the image, although I am also a fan of old-school covers. Please take this as a tiny nitpick from someone who has spent some time gazing at the picture:

I think at some point the reflections in the water got deflected from the imagery. Those bridge-like stuctures are clearly reflected, but their reflections and those of the mountain's shadows have been shifted slightly to the right. While the water looks good, that becomes a bit distracting once noticed.

elindsen
11-09-2012, 06:08 PM
For v3, I like the first one better, with the darker blue at the bottom. Your name is easier to read. My only other comment is that the subtitle is slightly hard to read. I think you could get away with just bolding it though.

Rachel Udin
11-09-2012, 07:32 PM
My only other comment is that the subtitle is slightly hard to read. I think you could get away with just bolding it though.
The font probably could be changed instead... usually readability is a font issue rather than a font weight issue. (or so says my Typography teacher.)

Usually subtitle fonts are the "plain" fonts since smaller fonts need better negative space handling while the title fonts *can* handle getting "fancy" though choosing an *appropriate* readable font is more important than a "fancy" font.

You can search through Da font... though if you give me a blurb I can give you font families to look at.

If you like to try her comment... I think the problem is the background mountains, so you could effectively do a Adjustment layer with a mask using a gradient fade, so that the black part is at the bottom and the white part is at the top, which will solve the conflicting colors and still emphasize your characters. (Adjustment submenu in Photoshop is in the bottom of the layers menu looks like a circle with a split black/white, IIRC)

If you don't have that you can duplicate the original background (ctrl/cmd+j in Photoshop) put it on top. Hit the layer mask icon (which is on the layers menu) select the gradient tool and then do the same thing. That'll make the foreground more saturated than the background (the mountains area) which will resolve the issues she's talking about.

LBlankenship
11-09-2012, 08:00 PM
Just for conversation purposes. I'm still listening to ideas and willing to mock up further versions to see if the art can improve in my eyes as well as those on the forums.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7247/8168747294_f456788786.jpg

Just for conversation purposes...

This conglomeration of covers makes it even clearer to me that your cover lacks a focus. Consider the two that (IMO) are most compositionally similar to yours -- Dying of the Light, and the Elric cover -- and how much contrast there is between the focus characters and the background. Dying achieves it by color contrast. Sailor achieves it by detail.

I might even venture that three characters plus two cats is too much, and you should pick one of them to emphasize. My eye keeps sticking to the deer-warrior. (Heh, nice rack buddy)

BrokenSword
11-11-2012, 09:20 AM
Tweaked the last version and thought I'd post for opinions. (I'm posting the entire cover, and will put the backcover blurb for Rachel beneath it. Also, I'm putting a link for a larger version, for better/easier visibility for those interested.)


Thanks for all the help so far. Didn't think I'd be changing much but there's been some good ideas that have made me see covers in a different light. The below employs the alluded adjustment layer to desaturate the top while preserving the darker bottom. I didn't desaturate quite as much as the last version, so there's still some color in the mid-sky. I also brightened the bridge section as well as foreground ice pack, thinking it better popped the characters. Also, fixed the mis-aligned distant bridge stanchions, worked the 'black inkstain' to be more visible as a cat. I think I'll stick with the quantity of characters for now. I wrote this with an idea that it might lead to 'further adventures' of my MC, so that's partly my rationale.

back blurb: (for use in suggesting a different font type, Rachel, or as a barometer as to how well the cover portrays the story)



Go Home Jareth


Rhey
is the last of an alien invasion that has the Earth on the brink of
annihilation. A human scientist has released a deadly virus upon his kind and though the precious DNA sequence remains hidden, he’s doing everything he can to persuade its minstrel creator to reveal the source code.

Leanan Sidhe
is the Dark Muse, a Gaelic figure born of folklore and brought to life; she claims the minstrel Jareth Rhylan as her artist lover. Alluring and seductive, there’s also the obvious danger of any liaison with her. She says there’s magic in song and hers belongs to ocean gales. It’s she who first calls Jareth the Bard.

The Cervine
is the Lord Protector of the Forest, duty bound to protect those that are hunted. With the head of a stag and the body of a giant, his voice is like the sound of churning soil and his song is rooted within the trees. With his mighty bow, he’s taken up against those hunting the minstrel. He claims to know the man as well. He calls Jareth one of his children.

Beryl
is the girl suddenly thrust into the minstrel’s care and with her, comes a secret that must be protected at all cost. She is a victim of a society which brands its failures with the black ink of tattoos, the kind that lives not only on the skin but in the soul. To find her maker Eli, might give her a peace she’s never had.
She calls Jareth uncaring.

Jareth

Leanan, the Cervine, and the ghost of his wife all tell him to find the way home, that he cannot stop; the great Enemy hunts for him and the girl. Protect Beryl, find Eli, go home; and all without the knowledge that he is but a character in a story that has now become the only thing that can save the world.

The minstrel stirs the ink of his soul with a six string mandolin and a sword
he will not touch. The memory that each is more must be awakened before time runs out.

It’s a story only imagination can write and a bard could sing.


It is the tale of Jareth Rhylan.


link to larger version:http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8342/8174143179_7849413e19_h.jpg


v4

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8342/8174143179_270894ac4d.jpg

Gale Haut
11-11-2012, 09:26 AM
I personally still think this cover image is pretty bad ass. The creature under the water is a nice touch, and since the character bios are written out on the back, the multiple characters on the front don't bother me at all. It's a unique cover, and I really do like it!

SBibb
11-11-2012, 10:37 AM
Aside from the front part of the image feeling a bit soft (is it just the size you saved it as, or could it be sharpened? And does the deers hooves seem a bit softer, too?) I like the overall effect of the latest version. The font is easy to read (and I like how the wrap-around image ties together), though I might consider making "Beryl" just a bit larger. It's a bit hard to read "Dean Michael" but I think it looks good as is, and will work alright. I don't mind the group of characters, and in response to the comment about the deer-person standing out, I believe it's because he's technically positioned in one of the "hot spots" of the rule of thirds (if looking at it from below the title). I also like the creature under the water.

Overall, I like this latest version. :-)

Polenth
11-11-2012, 07:44 PM
I think the wrap-around looks great. Now the colours are balanced and the other details tweaked, it works a lot better. No cover is every going to perfect, and this one will look cluttered as a thumbnail, but overall it looks good. I also like the lurking sea monster.

Rachel Udin
11-12-2012, 02:14 AM
Looks good, for the sake of it, I'd take the blurb to Query Hell (just note that it's a blurb for a book rather than for an agent)... it probably will be butchered, but in the cutting they do for you, the text will cut down considerably and it'll look less cluttered and I'm guessing once they get the word count down the type issues I have now will disappear since the type should fit all into the dark less patterned background.

Much better. It looks very unified and modern.

retlaw
11-12-2012, 09:49 AM
I would have to get nitpicky to critique this. It's very well put together.

Something constructive to say... The font could be more interesting. I do prefer the font used in the subtitle.

I agree on both points. Very well done, but - yeah, the fonts for the title & sub-title. Though I like the solid white. And it isn't horrible - it seems there might be a choice that's better.

retlaw
11-12-2012, 10:02 AM
Can you just change things like the color of the sky and the mountains? Are these things not mentioned in the book themselves.

Also - there have been a few, very keen & insights, but some feedback seemed a little harsh, well - to me. I do like the newest version best, but the cover is well done for that genre. I think an adult sf reader can look at that cover and know within 2 seconds if they want to put that book in their hand, or not. Very nice work.

BrokenSword
11-13-2012, 02:01 AM
Thank you to everyone taking part in helping me; much appreciated.

Gale; thanks and glad you like the sea monster. Part of the plot (actually, this 'scene' is a scene in the book, hence why I'm using it) and seems it's a hit with others (to my chagrin). I hadn't thought about the link between characters on the front and the way I fabbed the back blurb, but sometimes ya get lucky, huh? This being a story that can/possibly be used as a series, I figured the initial novel should concentrate on the characters, as they'll be the ones pulling any future plots.


SBibb: thank you for your take. The original art was a bit more 'sharply focused' and that seemed to run contrary to popular opinion, so I softened everything, though mainly worked on the backdrop to pop the characters more, per advice given upthread. I have to be careful how large the title is because I expect some loss off the edges re printing. Re the 'Dean Michael', I was using a combo of 'thumbnail presence' and my son's configuration that set the first two names between the third, as a container/signature of sorts. Even if I increase the size of the first two names, I can't do it significantly to have it show up easier in thumbnail anyway. As noted before, I'm trying to nod toward the thumbnail size re design but I'm more interested in print design. If you follow the link to the large version, it should reflect this thinking.
And I lightened the bridge/ice floe structure to gain more 'character pop' than I originally had, again trying to follow the sentiment/advice given to me.

Polenth; heh, glad the sea monster is beginning to finally carry its load and push/pull this project into likeabilty! Seriously, I'm surprised that element is working so well...sometimes, I do get lucky, it seems!


Rachel: thanks for coming back to this. Did you have another possible suggestion for the title font after reading the blurb? I've settled into liking the current but can easily mock up any suggestions you might have (and if I have that font as well). Re the back; I have a different notion re the back; I have less wordy backs on previous novels and though I include art there, I think giving more of what the story is about is better than less. Just my thinking. I know there have been more than a few books that barely gloss over the storyline and I've been left wondering, so if I have a choice, I'm going to opt for more here. Still, I understand your concern re the back; had to adjust the type to overcome light type on light backdrops since the beginning. I had a drop shadow on the earliest version, to help offset said problem but in the end, seems the flat white print worked better. I guess I'm trying to balance the art with the canvas I need for the type, hoping to darken the sky as needed, just so I can have 'more' storyline told and still keep the overall tone of art/story.

Retlaw: thanks for giving me your looksee and overlook. I like the subtitle font too, but was advised upthread to make my font more plain since I have a rather busy backdrop happening. I didn't really see it that way at first but as I've mocked up new versions, the plainer font does seem to play well with the others here, imo. I did have to do some slight embossing, just to make it pop a bit as it felt was too flat/plain. If I could use the subtitle font as the title, I think I would, too, but as it was, the subtitle came as a late addition to the party. I have a notion this novel might turn into a series down the road and felt I should begin that thinking right from the get go. Too, I wanted a 'fantasy' friendly font, one that at least could be read, even if not in thumbnail size. If you have suggestions re font type, I can mock up further renditions and pull them all together for a proper brainstorm.
Re the backdrop/sky colors; just as I can change them on the art, I can also change them in the story, ya know? Gotta love that lil find and replace filter...
And I'm glad you liken this to other adult sci fi fantasy covers; it IS a big component as to why I went with this style of art. I may be influenced (too much so, perhaps) by covers that sit on my shelves from years of reading fantasy, but I still hope to convey a basic premise for the current audience. Thanks again for your kind words.

veinglory
11-13-2012, 02:20 AM
I like the composition and basic idea, but the characters seems to be posing on whitespace and pasted together, not in the scene. The don't in stance, gaze, light source or coloring seem to actually all be in the same place. They don't even seem to have the right tension and stance for a cold icy place.

Rachel Udin
11-13-2012, 03:56 AM
Rachel: thanks for coming back to this. Did you have another possible suggestion for the title font after reading the blurb? I've settled into liking the current but can easily mock up any suggestions you might have (and if I have that font as well). Re the back; I have a different notion re the back; I have less wordy backs on previous novels and though I include art there, I think giving more of what the story is about is better than less. Just my thinking. I know there have been more than a few books that barely gloss over the storyline and I've been left wondering, so if I have a choice, I'm going to opt for more here. Still, I understand your concern re the back; had to adjust the type to overcome light type on light backdrops since the beginning. I had a drop shadow on the earliest version, to help offset said problem but in the end, seems the flat white print worked better. I guess I'm trying to balance the art with the canvas I need for the type, hoping to darken the sky as needed, just so I can have 'more' storyline told and still keep the overall tone of art/story.

I'm not quite sure because the main conflict isn't clear to me from the blurb. Usually I go by setting, genre, theme and main conflict (Which should show up in a back cover blurb)... I don't like the font selections generally to speak the same thing. Since the image talks about the genre quite a bit, it would be nice if the font showed a bit of either the theme or what the main conflict is about...

I do think that the subtitle font should be a sanserif font. And the author name is fine. Just the title probably could be changed.

At this point, I think Black Letter would be overkill and in the wrong direction... so I'm missing the main information in order to choose the font. What is the main conflict? What is the setting?

For example, if it's Post apocalyptic, with a darker theme as the conflict, then that can influence the font to go towards Gothic types or even a Post Modern type of font.

If it's Sword and Sorcery, light and basically a beat up the bad guys type, then I would go towards a more Calligraphy with a good natural thickness font.

The blurb doesn't really help to make it clear... I just know that the complaints about the subtitle are legit. It should not be a font that has lots of little nuances to it at that size.

Can you switch the font from the subtitle to the title. And the subtitle font to the one you have for the author name? I saw that suggestion earlier. May was well give that a shot.

BrokenSword
11-13-2012, 09:40 AM
veinglory:

will continue to tweak and see if I can improve upon what you're seeing. Thanks.


Rachel:

I'm going to see about an overhaul to the back blurb as it seems I'm too close to the storyline and am assuming too much. So, I'll get back to you in a day or so with a more concise blurb. Hopefully you'll get a clearer vision re plot and therefore font possibility. Thanks again.

BrokenSword
11-14-2012, 01:54 AM
I started a new thread to analyze the back cover blurb, for those interested in both content and font type (as well as back cover art/text placement as a whole) to chime in.

BrokenSword
11-14-2012, 08:39 AM
Okay, did some further tweaking of the front part of my cover, including a title font change. Thoughts?


http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8067/8184185666_04a6c27d55.jpg

WriteMinded
11-29-2012, 01:30 AM
I don't know anything about cover art and I don't use Photoshop or any similar application. I do paint. So here is my uneducated thought: Busy. Too much. Fade some things out and give me a "feel" for what's most important to the story.

I doubt that helps, but if I picked the book off a shelf I'd be expecting a chaotic read.

girlyswot
12-04-2012, 03:58 AM
For me, the issue is that the background is lighter and brighter than the foreground, so my eye is constantly drawn between the two, rather than resting on one. And the bridge(?) doesn't quite do the job of linking the two.

But having said that, it's still a very good cover and I like this version a lot better than the first one in the thread. Good job.

BrokenSword
12-05-2012, 09:44 AM
Thanks WM and girlswot:


appreciate you weighing in. I'll see to further tweaks and perhaps some of your issues will be cleared up.

jesrdesign
12-25-2012, 07:01 AM
I know I'm weighing in late (new here), and I like the final font chosen,
but am also quite fond of http://www.dafont.com/optimusprinceps.font on covers like this in the TITLE style.

Pthom
12-27-2012, 01:01 AM
First, let me compliment you on some striking artwork. Your hand at rendering figures and backgrounds is exemplary.

However:

... your cover lacks a focus. ...
... three characters plus two cats is too much, and you should pick one of them to emphasize. ...
QFT

Consider the composition: In the foreground, five characters, all with pretty much the same importance. I.e., while there may be a good reason to show us all of them, not one of them is featured, but I bet in the story, that isn't the case. Then in the background, there is a bridge on the left and a range of mountains on the right with a shoreline below. The vertical element of the bridge is at the spine of the book and stops the horizontal element of the mountains/shoreline, but that "T-square" bisects the heads of the grouping of characters. Then, the figures are disassociated from one another, looking at the viewer, looking away, but neither reacting to their situation or one another.

Consider the color scheme: cold, icy, blues and grays, with a few spots of color in the costumes of two of the figures. The color spots are good in that they draw the eye from the monochrome everything else, but they aren't anything special.

The viewer is left to wonder: What is this book about? A group of strange beings that somehow are involved together. And that they're on some icy sea. Why? The title gives us no clues. The subtitle (which, I will agree with previous commenter, is too small and in a difficult font) tells us this is one of a series. So maybe there are things in this illustration that will be familiar to series fans. But I'm lost.

Think of a Frazetta cover. While there may be lots of background mayhem (fire, brimstone, death and destruction), there are usually just two or three main elements in the illustration: the hero, heroine, villain. And usually, it's the hero, saving the heroine from the villain. His covers gave us a hint of what's in store for us were we to read the book.

As it stands, this illustration shows me that there are two humans (with a passive relationship), a deer man, a tiger, and a cat, all of whom are likely to suffer frostbite and that this happens in some post-apocalyptic time (suspension bridge, but their costumes are, uh, medieval?).

A cover should entice potential readers to buy the book, with promise of excitement--unfortunately, this illustration doesn't meet that criteria.

Hope this is of some use.

JournoWriter
01-01-2013, 07:24 AM
Also coming to this late, with a different perspective. I'm not a fan of any of the byline fonts and styles so far. I'm of the school that an author's name only needs to be as big as the title when it's a Stephen King or George RR Martin or the like. The average Tom Clancy buyer is looking for Clancy's brand first, the title only later.

The first byline font looked really stretched. The second, with its lack of serifs, looks out of place given the stylized title and all the other design flourishes. The focus on your last name on the spine in particular also made me wonder if it was religious fantasy. I would downsize your name point size and use the freed space for something else.

ETA: Of the characters, I'm drawn the most to the Cervine, both in the blurb and the image. I think readers' eyes are going to go to him, too, for better or for worse. (Would love to see a stand-alone!)

PortableHal
01-02-2013, 04:00 AM
I like the cover very much. If you care to lose a character or two, I think you can. If you'd prefer to put it out as is, I think it's a winner.