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    Book cover illustration and design process
I thought I'd go over a recently modified book cover I worked on. It was due to be re-released and the cover badly needed an update—I was commissioned to give it the full makeover before moving on to complete the rest in the series of five.
A crucial element for the cover design was how I handled the logo. The series is an 'elegy' so it seemed a good idea to reference funerary objects. I faked a stone effect by desaturating some old cracked leather, and shaping the surround as though it was a gravestone. There are two fonts involved, Perpetua Titling and Young Baroque Plain, slightly modified, with a swirl at the end and the top of the 'i' substituted where it crosses the 'W'. There is also a curved version for the t-shirt design shown below.
Logo design, unadorned and with final texture applied
A later modified version of the series title for a t-shirt design (this one for the second book)
The final cover before (2004) and after
The cover began as a clay head I had modelled on my college foundation course some (many) years before. I still had the plaster cast so shot some pictures of that with cloth draped over as a hood. The line drawing to the side was required at a time when my scanner had died so I was forced to draw it out using my mouse, then applying an effect which would hopefully make it appear as a chalk outline. Not greatly succesful.

Below are some stages in the development of the new cover, showing the background being dropped in plus innumerable alternate chalk drawings, this time sketched by hand and scanned in on a flatbed.
The textures I add to most images I work on are quite random. There is old mildewed paper, leaves, cracked leather, smoke, clouds… I find it visually appealing to obscure an image with these things to get away from the original photo as much as possible. The random marks often suggest ways in which to progress the image, also often altering the final composition.
Working versions
None of the chalk drawings were working with the existing hi-definition photoshop work. The need was to make it appear as though carved into a hillside by ancient Celts. Easily the hardest thing I've done in years. It's so easy to make an elaborate drawing, but paring it back to medieval simplicity was a real chore. I'm still not happy with the result. It was either too curvaceous and sexual or looked completely at odds with the rest of the cover. I researched old tribal African carvings as well as whatever ancient Picts and Celts images I could find. At one point the drawing looked like a heavily pregnant African, not at all appropriate.

Finally I drew a simple outline that seemed to work. I then dropped it into Illustrator and converted it to a vector before applying a rough brush which made it appear craggy and rough as though gouged out of the ground. It was the most succesful version, but still one I'm not happy with. Shown at the bottom of the page is the cover minus the chalk drawing, which for me stands out as the best version.
Line drawing then dropped into Illustrator with brush applied
Finally, on the book spine the author requested a different Ogham rune for each seperate novel. I decided to create a mock Celtic broach to display it. The interweaving bands of the broach were created in Illustrator, and then moved into Photoshop for the 3D treatment. I also dropped b&w versions of these on the interior pages where a book section began.
Ogham rune broaches for spine decoration
Final cover design above, and below, an interior page