My efforts to design my own book cover for A Path of Stones reached almost Byzantine proportions.
Recently, I mentioned that the cover was too dark. Transferring from the RGB color scheme of digital to the CMYK of print made it 40% darker than the original. I thought that by increasing the brightness and contrast of the cover that it would work. Nope. The next proof was still too dark. Better, but dark.
The solution was to rerun the render, but lighten all the props, clothes, and skins. That one looked bright enough to survive the transfer. To make sure, I emailed it to my wife, who printed it on her company color laser printer. It looked great. There was just one problem now. The image was so light that no matter what color I used, the title and my name faded into the image. The colors were varied enough that even black faded into it. That was as intolerable as having a too-dark cover.
If you’re designing your own cover, that is something to keep in mind. It must be bright and light enough to transfer to CMYK, yet dark (or light) enough in places for the cover text. As if remembering to provide space for that text wasn’t enough.
What did I do? I scrapped the whole set, choosing one I had used before. I knew how it rendered. It was neutral gray, and without much in the way of contrasts and varying colors. I could lighten it without losing the necessary spaces for the cover text.
The new set required some adjustment to Aura’s pose. She ended up looking less dramatic, but more commanding. To compensate, I gave her a magic effect. It was an even trade. In the process, I removed the original V6 child and substituted a V7 Tween Julie figure. She looks more realistic. I chose to leave it to the reader to decide if Julie is cowering behind Aura, or imitating her.
The original cover:
The new cover:
How does the proof look?
A side-by-side comparison: