Designing My Own Book Cover

For awhile, I was designing “cover” art for peoples’ stories on, after being wowed by the artwork of so many of my peers and learning just how easy it was.  Really, all you needed were access to pictures, graphics designing software, and a sense of creativity.  I was directed to by a good friend as a simple to use photo-editing software, and another friend recommended as a great source for free, royalty free, public domain images that I can use commercially.  (If it was just for Figment, I wasn’t particular about images, since nobody was making any money out of the covers or the stories they represented, but I heard Figment has become particular about that sort of thing.)

Although I’ve sense retired from most of my cover-designing “positions” on Figment, I feel very grateful for the experience; it helped me learn some basic graphics art techniques, and in the process, I learned a few of my own.

Now, as I prepare my novelette for publication, I’m using the graphics art talents I nurtured on Figment to adorn it with a fitting cover.

Here’s the early demo of what I’m hoping to use:

Secrets in Seaport sample

Not bad, huh?  I used only freeware fonts, namely Quicksand (for the author name) and Bilbo Swash Caps (for the flourish-y title).  I felt the cover would have added appeal if I included a living being (or two) in the image.  That way, it’s hopefully a little more relatable.

Would you believe me if I told you that cover is made from not one, not two, but three images put together?

As noted earlier, I was given a recommendation to check out MorgueFile, and I am so glad I did.  It was there that I found the three images I’d be utilizing for this project.

Credit to “kcconnors

Here’s the primary image I used – as you can see, the “Woody’s Tours” sign and the tree did not make the cut. 😉

As for the two “living beings,” a girl and a dog, I utilized the silhouettes from these two images:

I isolated the two subjects I wanted by erasing everything else and making the whites of the images transparent.  That way, I could layer them over each other, and then put them onto the beach scene.  All together, they blended very well.

I also gave the picture an interesting tint using Ribbet’s “Cairo” lighting effects, which is what gave the black shades that pretty, bluish tint and the overall image a brighter, less-gloomy look.

Lastly, to make a printing-quality image, I had to ensure that the image would have the minimum DPI (dots per inch).  Mei Li Studios has a handy tool to convert from inches to pixels (which are Ribbet’s typical unit of measure), and in the right DPI as well.  It helped me a lot, since I’ve had a lot of trouble with DPI stuff as of late.

I’m quite satisfied with how this cover came out.  It’s a kids’ book, alright, but it has a cover that is sophisticated without being intimidating as opposed to childishly sunshine-lollopops-and-rainbows-y.  Since I usually design covers that are meant to be serious and for YA fiction (Figment’s usual fare), this was a new experience for me as well.

So at the end of the day, when I self-publish my novelette, it will be graced by a beautiful cover!


Next up are the book’s spine and back cover.  CreateSpace, where I’d like to publish this, only does paperbacks, so I don’t need to worry about a dust jacket.  Since I know my book will be 5.5″x8.5″, I have an idea for what the spine’s height will be, but I’ll need to know how many pages the manuscript totals to before I can calculate the width….

I suppose it is rather daft to be planning this far before my book’s even finished. 😛

6 thoughts on “Designing My Own Book Cover

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