I don’t consider myself an “artist” (I leave that to my brother, who’s brilliant at graphic design!). But I do have some artistic flair and can knock up the odd image or two. I’m not necessarily very good at the raw creative side, but I can take an image or several and turn them into a creation that usually suits my purpose.
As I’m also pretty penny-pinching (at least in some ways) I don’t want to spend money on custom graphics and couldn’t afford to anyway. So I make use of pieces I can create myself along with stock images that I can purchase. (If you’re looking for stock images, sounds or video clips you might want to check out envato.com which offers a large selection of material at reasonable prices.
Armed with a few images I liked, I recently spent some time prototyping some different covers for my soon to be released short-story “How much is that doggy?”. This piece explores an unusual form of pet therapy involving an elderly man and a dog and I wanted the cover to reflect that while at the same time making it clear that it’s speculative fiction.
I tried a number of different mock-ups and variations, but eventually came up with these three that I felt were the strongest.
I liked the solo dog photo very much. It’s face is so expressive and has an uncanny human-like expression, but the first attempt (left, above) was a little indistinct at small sizes (Amazon thumbnail size). With the second (above, middle) I loved the vibrant colors and it featured both a man and dog in it so was definitely “on theme” but I still liked the solo dog and experimented further. The end result is the third version above. This was my favorite – vibrant colors, the expressive puppy and a hint of the mysterious.
I chose that one in consultation with my wife, who always gives me good advice, though I don’t always listen…
One step nearer to publication!