Friday, February 18, 2011

Cover Design, Part 3

The Dog of the North was conceived and executed as a fantasy more epic in scope than Dragonchaser.  I could easily have come up with a cover design which followed on from the earlier model (indeed, I used a Braun and Hogenberg map of Venice to work out the topography of Mettingloom, and one of Blois for Croad).

I felt for the new novel, though, that I should try for something closer to mainstream fantasy.  This time I ransacked iStockphoto for pictures of swords and castles that I could cannibalise.  A few images presented themselves:

None of these was quite satisfactory.  The first two didn't work in the practical sense of getting text on the page, however I cropped them; the third was a beautiful image, but not for this book; and the final one had the right elements but the woman did not correspond to my image of any of the characters.

I also found this one in my files--and with hindsight, prefer it to the one I finally chose:

The image that I finally chose probably won out because it was easier to manipulate away from photo-realism:

Although it is a photograph, it doesn't really look like one.  With some relatively straightforward image manipulation and overlaying wash of colour, I ended up with something which didn't seem too far away from the feel of the book:

Which looks just fine until you see the job the professionals made of it when Macmillan New Writing picked it up...

Next: the Bellotto cover for The Last Free City.


C. N. Nevets said...

I agree with your hindsight, I think... :)

Tim Stretton said...

When the book goes out of print, the rights again revert to me, so maybe we'll see that monochrome cover yet!