There was some interest in a previous blog I wrote on creating the book cover for Melissa Kline's young adult sci-fi novel, My Beginning. So, I decided to repost this article, which originally appeared on Lucky Press's blog.
3. I did come up with an idea using one of the images from Superstock, but, again, the author did not feel the image was quite right and, after all, she knows her character best!
Here is an early idea for the cover.
ï»¿ 4. Also, I needed to familiarize myself with Five Points; so I visited websites and came across these photos.
5. I played around with using an image of a woman plus an image of Five Points…
Above is a rough "sketch," but I wanted to see how the cover might look with a city view behind it.
ï»¿ 6. We also looked at a lot of covers on Amazon, noting what appealed to us. I was surprised to find how many bookcovers do not show the woman's face!
7. Eventually, though, we decided to see what an original drawing might look like. I decided to use Cynthia's costume images as the basis for an illustration. The dress I referred to was yellow, and had roses on it, but no shamrocks. I decided to change the design of the pattern on the dress and add shamrocks. I also altered the details of the dress slightly. I drew the dress in pencil, then did the lines in ink with a Micro Pen, .005 and .01 thickness nib. I then added watercolors to the drawing, which was done on smooth Bristol paper. (Yes, I am a cover designer as well as the founder and publisher of Lucky Press. This allows me to be involved in the production process of a title in a wonderful way, and I love this opportunity to design a cover. If a cover is not quite right for my skills, then I engage the services of another designer. We all have different strengths and areas of focus.)
This shows the drawing as it originally was created. Although I didn't think we'd use Norah's face, I wanted to draw it. The author noticed the chin "wasn't quite right" (and I agreed). I altered the chin/jawline slightly. Also, as you see below, I cropped the illustration and flipped it.
8. I didn't want the cover to appear "pastel" though, because the book is gritty, dark in some places, and while there are some romance, love, and light moments, it really is a struggle for Norah to find her way and she is surrounded by people with ulterior motives. I didn't want the book cover to indicate a light romance. I wanted it to be strong. So, the illustration was imported into Photoshop and treated with art filters.
Here is the drawing, scanned and imported into Photoshop, and treated with filters.
9. When I was satisfied with the look of the drawing, I then turned toward the title, subtitle, and author's name. There was some tweaking of the fonts and voila! a book cover for Norah!
Norah is available from online booksellers and through your local chain or independent bookstore. If you love Ireland and/or stories of strong women characters, you will love Cynthia Neale's Norah.
10. Still to be done before printing: adding a hyphen in "19th Century"... But this is a small thing. Next, we will work on the back cover and spine, as well as adding in a snippet of this wonderful review from Feathered Quill:
"This is not a tame, peaceful read. Although there are certainly beautiful scenes of corseted females in their finery traversing the streets of New York City, those same streets are also filled with vicious, violent people desperately trying to feed their families. Norah's life is upsetting in many ways and the twists and turns that happen to her do, indeed, include angry people who are truly out for themselves. However, this story is filled with so much intrigue, mystery, and beauty, that you'll cling to every word while watching Norah grow into a strong, courageous, and brilliant woman, who ends up truly proud of her Irish blood."
Drawings for "Norah." ©2010 Janice Phelps Williams. All rights reserved.