Okay, everyone. I’m just too excited about this cover to keep it hidden anymore. I thought it would be super fun to show you all the Fated Soul cover process. I don’t know if you all know, but in a past life (or more like about five years ago), I was a graphic artist and illustrator. Now, normally, I contract out cover art because I simply don’t have the time for it. Honestly, cover art is my favorite part of publishing. I love buying premades, and I love working with artists on custom work. I’ve learned a lot about working with artists, which will be left for another post.
So, for this particular book, which is sort of a paranormal romance, I did hire an artist. In the end, I just felt that the cover didn’t fit what I wanted. Don’t get my wrong, the artist did a great job. It was more that it didn’t feel right. I’m going to use it for a tie-in story (short or novella), but I just wasn’t satisfied. I got inspired one weekend to design a cover myself. Again, I’ve done it professionally (as well as for some of my other books and stories), so it isn’t like I’m some noob.
At any rate, I thought it would be fun to show the process. There was a lot of work and a lot of layers put into it. Starting off is the background (credited to Sirius_sdz) and the character. The BG is a combo of the same texture twice with some masking overlays. The model looks pretty red compared to the BG, but I’ll fix that later. The model is Ellena Wilcox, who was photographed by Cathleen Tarawhiti. Now, this model is gorgeous, but I did a little work to her, such as touching up the skin, lessening the stark highlights, and adding depth to her make-up and hair. Basically things to make her stand out.
So, here is the result of that. I brushed in some hair (mostly to cover up the areas that were too difficult to cut out from the original picture). On top of that, I played with the makeup color, too. It’s fairly subtle, so you may have to click on it to make it larger to see. You might have also noticed a small difference in the right arm (our left side).
The image I had in my head was of a girl holding an hourglass. She is an Exanimus, a keeper of the hourglasses of life. The story’s catalyst is a golden, glowing hourglass. I found the perfect model, but her arm was covered. It took me hours upon hours to find the right model and then again to find the right arm (credited to Mizzd-stock). With some photoshop magic, I was able to combine them into exactly what I needed.
And this is why I needed the correct hand/arm. The hourglass is one that I actually own and took photos of. I used a bunch of layers to make it look clear. It’s not as easy as you would think! Honestly, that was one of the more difficult parts of this project. The original hourglass was completely black, so I had to do a some photoshop magic to make it look gold. Also, it didn’t have a chain, and I always imagined the character holding the hourglass by a chain.
Notice there is now a chain in there? I had to add that since I didn’t have one of my own nor was there one on the hourglass itself. Basically, I used part of a silver chain (credited to Gothicmamas-stock) and made it gold and shiny. After all of that, I made the rest of the metal glow and gave it a halo effect. There is also some sparkling that is not pictured here, but you can see it in the final version. I even added tiny specks of sand falling because the ones already there were invisible.
Put it all together, and you get the final product! Now, some other things not pictured above include the step where I made the model blend in with the environment. Her skin now matches the background, and she feels more in her own space. Also, I changed a few contrast settings and gave the image a dark edge on the bottom. It’s probably not even noticeable, but I also gave her arm and waist a glow.
I do have the typography completed and all of that, but I’m saving that for an official reveal later on when I have a blurb that can go with it. Fated Soul is set to come out in late September or early October, and I’m so excited.