Creating a cover for Threats of Sky and Sea

Hello, friends! Long time, no talk. I’m at a new job these days and it’s much busier than the last, leaving less time for authorly things throughout the day. But enough about that!

I’m gearing up to begin working next month with my amazing cover artist Nathalia Suellen for the cover of Book 2 in the Threats of Sky and Sea series: Riot of Storm and Smoke, and this made me realize that I never shared the process of developing a cover for Threats of Sky and Sea.

I found Nathalia Suellen through some of her other work, so I knew that she was extremely capable of a beautiful cover– especially one with a person on the cover. And she was a dream to work with.

I had only a vague idea of what I wanted for the cover of Threats of Sky and Sea. I knew that, while Girl-in-Dresses covers aren’t always my favorites, I wanted one for Threats of Sky and Sea. It was a marketing decision for me as a self-published author who wanted to make her money back one of these days. I think the “Girl in a dress” is often indicative of the YA genre, so browsers who spotted the cover would have an idea of what they were buying/looking at.

And when Nathalia asked me what ideas I had, I was super helpful!

“Um. Maybe a girl in a dress? A blue one. And maybe… the sky and sea? And um. Blue.”

I also gave her a vague description of Bree (a young girl with short hair) so that she could find an appropriate stock cover model.

We went through a few options. The first two were close to what I envisioned, but not quite there and the third looked nothing like the Bree in my head.

stock-photo-25191057-trendy-brunette-posing-in-red-dress-studio-shot

option 1

But I loved this pose/model in particular:

depositphotos_32083459-Woman-in-Strapless-Gown

Her hair was right — very important to me– but even more importantly her POSE was right. She looked a little like she was wondering about the fact that she had found herself here… in a dress of all things. I e-mailed Nathalia back with my choice, but noted that the dress was all wrong. She said that changing the dress was “no problem.”

(I continue to be astounded with her cover witchery.)

She asked if I wanted a plainer or more ornamental font (I said the latter), and I also sent her a few of my favorite girl-in-dress covers. Several weeks later, Nathalia sent me the initial cover, and it took my breath away.

unnamed

I LOVED SO MUCH.

The sea and sky looked alive and appropriately ~threatening. She’d altered the model’s expression so that she was less smiley that she was in the dress (speaking of which, get in my closet, please, dress).

Also, the font… I could write odes to that typography. And the BLUE! It was the perfect shade.

After flailing like a crazy person, I stopped, took a deep breath and looked at it critically. I also sent it to a few close friends for their feedback. I shot Nathalia back a couple of changes: Like that the model’s make-up was way too intense and needed to be toned down and that I thought the model needed to be blended/shaded(/I don’t know the proper terminology, but she got my drift) more with her new dress and with the background.

Nathalia even went a step further with my suggestions and rounded out the model’s cheeks to give her a younger look.

threats_of_sky_and_sea_cover_final

 

 

 

GAH. Perfection. Where before the model looked like she could mayyyyybe be Bree to me, now it was like “HELLO, BREENA ROSE.” And she’s even less smiley. I even think she looks a little dismayed, which is just right for TOSAS.

Needless to say, I was thrilled with the finished product and can’t wait to work with her again for the cover of Riot of Storm and Smoke!

3 thoughts on “Creating a cover for Threats of Sky and Sea

  1. Wow, it’s so cool to get to see some of the process. And rounding her cheeks made such a huge difference. It definitely took her from older looking to more teenage. Thanks for sharing this! I fully intend to self-publish someday, and Nathalia will be on the list for cover designers for sure.

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