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kevinwaynewilliams
10-08-2018, 05:08 PM
Two covers for upcoming releases, designed to have a "family of books" look.

First, the sequel to "Everything I Know About Zombies, I Learned in Kindergarten", "Children in the Hands of an Angry God".
http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/agcovercropped4.png

Second, a co-novel in the same universe, "Bronx Apocalypse":
http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/baabsolutewrite.png

mrsmig
10-08-2018, 06:07 PM
First, let me just say I love where you're heading with this series' "look" - it just needs some adjusting.

Your first cover fails the shrink test; i.e. when I shrink it down to the average sizes used on sites like Amazon, the title becomes illegible. This is partly because of the oddball font but mostly because the brickwork is "bleeding" through the red letters. It makes the whole cover look too busy.

The second cover is better, although I can't read the "companion novel" verbiage without squinting - and I'm looking at these covers on a large desktop screen.

Because your name takes up two lines, and because it sits somewhat low on the cover, it's pulling attention from the title and graphic on both covers. Any chance you could make it smaller, or move it up a skosh so it's not quite so prominent?

BradCarsten
10-08-2018, 06:40 PM
I remember when you were working on the Bronx apocalypse novel. The final product turned out well. I think the second one matches the look and feel, but the writing is a little difficult to read.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-08-2018, 07:00 PM
I did a quick prototype with whitewashed bricks under the image on the "Children in the Hands of an Angry God" cover: that's what a real street artist would do when faced with a contrast problem. It helps. I'll get it fine-tuned and repost tonight or tomorrow.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-09-2018, 12:09 AM
http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/agcovercropped5.png

Here it is with a whitewash, with the weathering effect reduced over the text areas. How far does that go in addressing objections?

starrystorm
10-09-2018, 12:26 AM
I like this one better. Yet something about the red and the yellow combined still makes my eyes sting, but it could also be the fact that the red of her shirt matches the red of the words.

BradCarsten
10-09-2018, 12:33 AM
That's much better IMHO.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-09-2018, 12:44 AM
I like this one better. Yet something about the red and the yellow combined still makes my eyes sting, but it could also be the fact that the red of her shirt matches the red of the words.

The red/yellow combination is a common theme in Bronx street art. The fonts are also based on Bronx street art (even though the latest one is actually "Glazed", based on the Dunkin' Donuts logo and heavily reworked from there). I'll try a blue shirt when I get a chance. That's an easy substitution.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-09-2018, 01:52 AM
And now with a contrasting shirt and reduced weathering over the girl's eyes. http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/agcovercropped6.png

starrystorm
10-09-2018, 02:07 AM
Yes, much better. It makes the girl stand out more.

Toothpaste
10-09-2018, 04:42 AM
I'm sorry, despite the improvements the title is still very difficult to read. Especially thumbnail size.

Lauram6123
10-09-2018, 04:47 AM
+1 for the title still being hard to read.

Also, and this might be just me, it looks like Children in the Hands of an Angry Goo.

SarahJane
10-09-2018, 05:03 AM
The whitewash and blue shirt work a lot better, but the font on the second cover is much more eye catching. Why not have them match?

Also, does it really need the companion novel part? I find that it clutters up the cover and doesn't really fit the rest of it.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-09-2018, 06:34 AM
... the font on the second cover is much more eye catching. Why not have them match?

I can see the vote is that I have to work the font. It's hard to maintain that zero-kerning, zero-linespace look of street art and maintain legibility. As for why I can't use the second font on the first, it's because that font really only works well with one word per line, and more than two lines turn into a knot. Pretty much for two-word titles only.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-10-2018, 04:22 PM
Here's an approach with a stencil, a fairly common form of lettering for street art. http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/agcovercropped7.png

mrsmig
10-10-2018, 05:33 PM
It's certainly much more legible, but I stand by my earlier remark that the author name is too dominant and draws attention from the title and graphic.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-10-2018, 05:46 PM
...I stand by my earlier remark that the author name is too dominant and draws attention from the title and graphic.
Now that I have whitewashed the building, I can play with that. Balancing the illusion of "faded signage on old brick building" and the needs of a book cover can get complicated. If I extend the whitewash up, I can go smaller and fancier on the old sign and keep legibility.

Curlz
10-10-2018, 06:12 PM
I liked #9. The stencil version would fit a very gritty book, so if that's what you're going for...

kevinwaynewilliams
10-10-2018, 06:44 PM
The stencil version would fit a very gritty book, so if that's what you're going for...
The story of the nine surviving pupils of PS43 fleeing the Bronx and trying to make it to Florida on foot during a zombie apocalypse could generally be described as "gritty", yes. These are not happy novels. One cannot expect a tale of six-year-olds vs the living dead to go well for the six-year-olds.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-14-2018, 04:37 AM
Tried to address Mrsmig's objections by shifting the title to the right, removing it from the "read first" position. Also worked on the faded paint signage effect to deemphasise it.http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/agcovercropped8.png

Wesley_S_Lewis
10-14-2018, 05:49 AM
I like this latest version. The title is legible while still looking natural (i.e., it still looks painted-on, not superimposed), and you've struck a nice balance between the title and the author's name.

mrsmig
10-14-2018, 06:05 PM
I like this version - your author name isn't quite as dominant, and the title is legible.

Are you married to the blood in the gutter? Because I wonder if the main graphic wouldn't be just as effective without it.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-14-2018, 06:57 PM
Blood is one of the stereotypical markers of horror. On a purely graphic design basis, I agree it's a bit superfluous and maybe even hokey, but without it, I'm missing most of my genre cues. If I take it out, I'd have to add something back to ensure that people didn't think I was writing urban thrillers.

mrsmig
10-14-2018, 07:08 PM
I think I'm struggling with the lack of a unifying element in the design. The sharp horizontal demarcations of your cover - the line of brickwork where your author name lives, the different brickwork for the main graphic, and the line of the gutter - makes it seem as if it's been cut up in thirds, with each third having its own font/look.

Maybe if you moved the blood effect to the wall (blood splatter, or even a bloody handprint), that would give you the horror element you need and create a more cohesive design.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-14-2018, 07:54 PM
I'll ponder that. I understand what you are saying about the horizontal composition, but the only thing patched into the background image is the blood. It's a photograph of a real building with the varied brickwork pattern standing in front of a real sidewalk with real weeds: the delineation occurs because of real life. From experimentation, I've found that cropping it without the sidewalk and street ruins the effect: it just looks like an illustration instead of a photograph of an illustration on a wall when I do that.