Pieces – Cover Art

A short time ago, my wife released the cover art we had finished for her second self-published novel, Through the Eyes of A Stranger – Pieces.

This is my second foray into the world of book cover art, which meant that I had more confidence going in, and more knowledge of what to expect. Since its also the second book of a series, it also borrows from the approximate ‘layout’ of the first book’s cover art, so it was more about laying new work on an existing foundation.

Since I’m still new to the Photoshop thing (and I’m using an old copy of Photoshop Elements 3.0), tutorials are a must for me to get started on the right foot. But it also means they are probably geared toward power users with some of the latest versions of the software. Photoshop Elements can be expanded using some community plug-ins and brushes, which does expand its original capabilities, though.

In this case, my wife provided me with the rough idea of what she wanted for her book art. She gave me a Word Art version of the Pieces title, which she wanted visible in pieces of glass, etc. shattered about on the ground.

pieces_temp1 side

Original Word Art Draft for PIECES

From there, I had to start by looking into some glass tutorials, since I haven’t done any filters or artwork with a glass-type effect. This nice Photoshop tutorial on DigitalArtsOnline got me started.

pieces_temp1 side

After cropping and chopping (at left), I moved the pieces around to experiment with layouts until we had something we liked. One of the earlier drafts is at the right.

From there, I took the original source picture for the glass, which is a free stock-photo image that includes the rights to use it on cover art. That about ends the following of the tutorial, though. While they were doing an effect involving someone or something smashing its way through a pane of glass, we were doing a scattering of glass shards, which is fundamentally different. I chopped out the pieces along the edges of the original cracks, as well as added some of my own, and brought them onto different layers.

My first layout worked on a black background, since the glass art was mostly gray, which made it easier to see. A few iterations on the placement of the shards, and the introduction of a free ‘glass fragment’ brush, brought me to the final product in about four days.

Here is the cover art from the first two books, side by side. Can you spot the differences?

Paperback Cover of book one, Beyond This Life (top) and book two, Pieces (bottom)

Paperback Cover of book one, Beyond This Life (top) and book two, Pieces (bottom)

~Meredith Purk