View Full Version : City of Thunder cover

02-14-2013, 10:26 PM
Hello all, I am posting my current cover design for my next book due out end of February: City of Thunder.

This is the second book in my Gifts of Vorallon trilogy, a high fantasy.

I am expecting the book cover to come out darker than this in the print version, it did with the first book, The Final Warden. So things are fairly bright here, though it is a nighttime scene, as I try to compensate. I should have a proof copy in my hand within another day or so, then I can tweak colors and brightness to better suit.

Let's see. What else? I painted this character freehand in photoshop, I did start with a paper sketch but I just used that for reference without scanning. The castle in the background was modeled in 3DS Max and given basic lighting, but its color and textures were done in photoshop. I want it to be a dim background detail without pulling the eye away from the character, and that may take much more tweaking once I see how the printed image comes out.

02-18-2013, 09:14 AM
I like the font and the design generally. The pose of the figure is problematic, though. The way she's holding herself looks uncomfortable, twisted around and awkward. I don't think I've ever stood that way myself. Not natural.

Plus her breasts are uneven in size and the smaller one is in the wrong place, and I couldn't look away from them until I figured out what was weird.

The cover seems flat to me especially compared to the other cover. No depth to it. That may be partly because the background structure is presented straight on, with limited perspective, and in a warmer color than the woman in front of it. Cool colors tend to recede, and warm ones move forward. Plus the tone of the back- and foregrounds are very similar. Not a lot of contrast, again as compared to the other cover.

I would move the electric business around her hands to where it wasn't partly hidden by the title. It's the most visually interesting part of the picture and a shame to cover it up.

I hope that wasn't too critical. ;-) Just IMO of course.

02-18-2013, 09:29 AM
The castle is a bit of a severe line to me. It splits the book cover in half.

You might want to put up the first cover next to it? It looks as though you've used different font sizes and spacing in both covers, which isn't good for making them fit as a series.

02-18-2013, 07:40 PM
Seconding what's been said about your wizard's awkward pose and the flat castle... and I'd recommend you use the same size and positioning for your subtitle as you did in the first one. It's clearly lower and larger in this one.

02-19-2013, 09:23 PM
Thank you all for the feedback. The Final Warden art that is my avatar is what is off regarding text size and placement. It is actually an obsolete graphic, it just happened to be cropped a bit wider so I used it for my avatar.

I did, however thicken the font for my name, it read too light at postage stamp size.

The woman's pose is actually a belly dancing image I used for partial reference. I wanted her gyrating, putting her whole body into the casting of the spell that lights her hands.

I do need to adjust placement and size/angle of the castle in the background. I agree that it bisects the image to evenly and the lines are very regular.

Gale Haut
02-20-2013, 12:48 AM
I suspect the photo reference has been misinterpreted. Her pose looks painful and her back leg is missing. Do you have a link to the reference?

02-20-2013, 01:31 AM
A photos is a photo, we assume it is right and disregard an awkward looking pose or lens distortion. Drawn art is different. As drawn her right leg seems to be missing in action and her left leg to hip connection seems a bit dis-articulated.

02-20-2013, 03:24 AM
photo ref (http://skipm.deviantart.com/art/Belly-Dancer-2-175251845) This got me the basic planes and angles. I fell a bit short of the spider-man contortions I was really going for.

Gale Haut
02-20-2013, 03:51 AM
I'm just going to critique the figure and not the cover.

photo ref (http://skipm.deviantart.com/art/Belly-Dancer-2-175251845) This got me the basic planes and angles. I fell a bit short of the spider-man contortions I was really going for.

Yep. After looking at the reference and comparing there are definitely some anatomy mishaps here. All of this is IMO.

The back leg should be included.
Her right arm (hers not ours) needs to be taken back either at the elbow or by the entire forearm.
The bend of her hip, accentuation of her thigh, and the angle of her torso are exaggerated and awkwardly sexualized.
Her breasts look lopsided here, and in the ref they definitely do not.
The cut of her robe actually draws the eye to the anatomy problems and makes her appear twisted.
Given the dynamic pose of her body, the head on pose of her face comes off as very two dimensional.
As with the first mockups in your previous book cover thread, the image would benefit from more attention to detail when it comes to texture and shading.

My advice would be to make some anatomy changes to this and to pay very close to your photo reference when going back to correct shading.

02-20-2013, 12:09 PM
If you want to give a sense of someone putting their whole body into a motion, you might consider martial arts photos rather than dancing. While both use the whole body, the focus and purpose are different, and people can see that.

02-20-2013, 12:13 PM
The central difference I see if you've tried to twist the spine more than she has in the reference. Her lower half is side-on in the references, and slightly twisted to the front at the top. Her face points to us because she's twisted at the neck.

Your version is front-on at the top of the torso, and uses this twisting to point the face at the viewer (rather than twisting at the neck), but keeps the side-on lower half. Spines don't twist like that, and that's why it looks odd.

I think you'd actually have an easier time using this photo as a reference, because she has a curve to her, but there's no twisting: http://skipm.deviantart.com/art/Belly-Dancer-3-175251740 (Also, the shadowing is nicer on this one.)

02-20-2013, 11:00 PM
Thank you for the feedback, I have a few days I can spend to get her into better fighting shape, not enough time to completely repaint her as some are suggesting. I have drastically changed the background angles and I have added a besieging army in silhouette, all of which still needs to be cleaned up.

Work, work, work.

Rachel Udin
02-22-2013, 05:48 AM
Tips for drawing:
You may wants to break down the figure first with gesture drawing. (Basically looks like a stick figure). This way you can adjust the pose, so it doesn't look like:


and figure out where all the limbs are. Get the skeleton and then work up and bulk out.

For fighting poses: http://senshistock.deviantart.com/gallery/ <-- she's pretty easy going about usage of her stock for *drawing* purposes only.

I'd give up on the broken spines model... go for a real fighting stance, which will look realistic and also have the added bonus of you not ending up on such lists.

Just a little note: the color of her clothes makes her look ghostly. Not sure if it's intentional. Because it blends with the background, she doesn't stand out. Because of that the composition appears a little flat... you may want to play with the idea of (if she isn't undead) fire light flickering on her since it's at night in a court yard from a secondary source.

02-23-2013, 05:47 AM
Thank's Rachel. I also recommend "how to draw the Marvel way" and books by Frazetta, John Howe, and Roy G. Krenkel. Dynamic figure drawing by Burne Hogarth is another one of my favorites.

Bottom line is her pose looked fine to me, but the input I recieved here led me to soften the amount of her extension in her lower half so it no longer looks like she is twisting uncomfortably. I am happy with the end result and if it makes for a more acceptable image to my readers that's awesome.

Final image is posted on my blog, as well as a starting sketch for my next cover.