Friday, December 30, 2016

LBIFW Cover Creative Process by author and artist Kevin James Breaux

Hi all,

I wanted to share a bit of my creative process. I made an abbreviated post about this on my FB author page, but wanted to go in more depth here. Of course this will not be a step by step explanation, but I hope it allows readers to understand some of my work better.

About six months ago, I decided it was time to think about the cover art to my new project, THE LIFEBLOOD OF ILL-FATED WOMEN, which I often shorten to LBIFW.

At first, I went online and started to search for cover artists by genre and topic keywords. I found myself back in the same pool of artists I normally liked to search in: the Deviant Art page. (which I also have a gallery showcasing some of my art)

For this book, I actually found several artists quickly, but in the end I could not decided between two. One was an amazing digital artist doing work that was exactly what I wanted, the other was a fantasy artist whose work looked like the old 80's and 90's high and epic fantasy books I read growing up. I think this second artist had even done some concept work for Game of Thrones. So he was perfect too.

But what was right for my book, a dark fantasy - horror novel? I knew I would not be sure until each artist finished his cover for me.

I hired them both and waited. It took a few months, but the cover art was done and when I compared them I still had an issue picking. So I reached out to my friends and trusted fans. I had them pick. Would you believe it...it was almost a tie. That being said, some of the feedback I got was incredible and really helped.

The decision was made.

I started playing around with layouts. And when the book interiors were ready, and I had a sized template in hand, I was ready to go. I created MANY versions of the layout. Different fonts, different sized fonts and placement. But primarily my versions had to do with the cover art itself. I tried different tone adjustments, more contrast, extra color saturation, less color saturation, etc...

See a few of my test prints.


In the end, I picked from several of my favorites and sent a print job to Office Max. See, I was printing them in a reduced size on my ink jet at home, to examine which layouts looked best, but I could not be sure of the colors and sizes until I saw them actual size and printed on a high quality printer and on glossy paper.

So after waiting a day...yeah, that was a long wait for me, I was really anxious to see how it looked...I picked up my test print outs and saw what I was looking for. One of them was clearly better than the rest. So I submitted that file to Createspace.

The proof was shipping almost overnight. (Thanks!) I was super excited to see it and when I opened the package up I was immediately unhappy. :( The glossy cover option looked cheap and the colors were too red and too saturated. Also the glossy cover lost some of the detail. It was just too darn muddy.

This is always a test for graphic artists. It looked perfect on my monitor. Looked great in the Office Max printouts. But the Createspace printer is different. So I had to adjust for it...and I changed the cover to a matte finish. As a fine artist, I have always enjoyed matted finishes better.

I was nervous that my adjustments would not work right. But I sent the new file and about a week later(thanks holidays), the new proof arrived and it looked great.

I posted on FB...why do I doubt my graphic design skills, I have like 20 years exp. But this project is important to me, so I was nervous, I wanted the very best and I feel very good about it now.

the second proof

This is not every step of the journey I took, but hopefully it does give some insight to my creative process. I know that things will never be perfect-perfect, but I am a perfectionist and I am a skilled graphic artist. So I did my best.

This book will be released soon!

Write Makes Might!

Kevin James Breaux
www.kevinbreaux.com


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