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Tea Party Winners: Vicki Talley McCollum's Never Say Goodbye, A National Park Romance novella goes to: Caryl Kane, Deanne Patterson, Deana Dick, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners Beverly Duell-Moore and Cindy Pratt, Roseanna White's winners - Betti Mace, Gabrielle Meyer's winners -, Deb Marvin's paperback winner - Rachel Dodson

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Making of a Colonial Book Cover

by Roseanna M. White

When I'm not writing books . . . and editing books . . . and homeschooling my children, I'm often sitting at my computer designing book covers. This is something that brings me joy and lets me stretch my creative muscles, and I also enjoy sharing about the design process.

I have been waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting for my chance to design a Colonial era cover--and a couple months ago it finally arrived! I was contacted by the lovely and sweet Amber Schamel about designing a cover for her collection of short stories entitled Dawn of Liberty. Set in Philadelphia just before the Declaration of Independence was written, these are stories about Samuel Adams, and the fight for liberty that took place before any shots were fired.

When I'm working on a book cover like this, I know there are very specific elements that I need to find. In this case, the first one was Independence Hall in Philly. I headed over to Shutterstock and found plenty to choose from. I ended up choosing this one primarily because it was at an angle, not head-on. An angle helps add dimension to the cover.

Of course, I had to get rid of that high-rise in the background. I knew Amber wanted a sunrise there behind the building (you know, Dawn of Liberty and all...), so I went hunting for a good background to put in. For the first go, I tried this one.

Which gave us this (with some jagged edges that I knew would be covered up by the central figure):


Fairly happy with that, I went in search of a Sam Adams.

This was easier said than done, LOL. I quickly discovered that images of men in Colonial garb are in short supply on stock photo sites. I tried many, many different websites, and finally found a promising series on Dreamstime.


You may, of course, note an immediate problem here--this is a child. And Sam Adams was, at the time in question, in his 50s. A problem, yes . . . but not a huge one. ;-) All I had to do was delete the young face and find an older one to put in there.

Of course, finding an older face at the exact angel was a bit of a challenge. My first attempt was using this guy.
I plugged his face in, made the gold coat Sam's signature red, added a fade layer to make the title stand out, and chose an engraving-style font for the title. What I ended up with was this as my first draft.


Amber liked the overall idea, but she didn't like the face; she wanted a stormier sky; and the flowers had to go. Taking that in reverse order, I actually found a good image of grass . . . of a golf course, LOL:


This gave me the perspective I needed of looking across a vast distance that's all grass. Next, the sky. I still needed that burst of sunlight to be behind the building, but something with stormier edges. I tried a few, but ended up with this one:
Now came the truly tricky part: Sam.


I tried every search I could think of. I looked at so many men's faces, it wasn't even funny. None of them looked right. Or were the right age. Or had their chin at just the right angle. I tried a few, but they just weren't working.


Then it hit me--I happen to know someone just the right age. I call him "Dad." ;-) I quickly sent a photo of my father to Amber, asking how this fella might do.


Amber was very enthusiastic, claiming my dad would make an excellent Sam Adams. So of course, then came the sweet-talking... ;-)


Actually, Dad was a great sport and agreed without any need for bribery. Our photo-shoot was just my husband with our good camera, my dad in our church basement, and me saying, "Look to your right. Put your hand on your hip. Now look fierce. You're fighting for liberty!"


Once he stopped laughing, we got some perfect shots. I went home and plugged one in, added some lighting, and proceeded to totally freak my mom out by showing her what Dad would look like with long white hair, LOL.

And here we have it! Stormy sky, sunrise coming up over Independence Hall, green grass leading to the foreground, a costume from a ten year old boy, and the face of one of the best men on the planet (I'm not biased. Really.) All to bring you a collection of short stories about Samuel Adams, one of the most adamant voices for liberty. My first Colonial cover, and I absolutely love how it turned out!



To check out more of my book cover designs, 

26 comments:

  1. Awww, Roseanna! I think it's so sweet that your daddy is the model for your first Colonial cover!!! You do such an amazing job designing book covers. I'm inspired to see you continually expanding your gifts the Lord has given you!

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    1. Thanks, Anne! And yes, that made this one totally special. =)

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  2. That is wonderful, Roseanna!!! How cool to have your dad be the model for the photo shoot! I love that!!! I love your book covers, you do an amazing job!

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    1. Right? That made an already fun cover really cool. =) Thanks, Carrie!

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  3. You do wonderful work! I have always wanted to learn how a book cover is created. I see that there is a lot of work involved. But most of all creative talent. Thank you for sharing. This is a wonderful cover.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! I have some other behind the scenes posts on my website (linked at the bottom of the post) if you were curious. This one was a quicker post than most--I was running low on time. ;-)

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  4. Very nicely done. I love the contrast of light too. And the gold lettering.

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  5. I love the book cover! "Dawn of Liberty" looks like a great book! Can't wait until it's out!

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    1. Thank you, Bev! It is available for pre-order now, and if you order before June 2nd, you can get 12 Colonial recipes for free! See the details here if you're interested.
      http://www.amberschamel.com/pre-order-specials.html

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  6. Roseanna,
    Thank you SOOOO much for all the hard work you did on this cover. I am so delighted with the result! :D Special thanks to your dad for being such a fantastic sport.

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  7. Cool! If all I had to go on was that cover, I'd buy the book.

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  8. Roseanna, how special your dad is on the cover of Dawn of Liberty! It is a beautiful cover. It was fun reading how you design your beautiful book covers.
    Blessings, Tina

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing the process, Tina. =)

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  9. Great job. Roseanna. And it makes it so special that your dad is on the cover. Now, your mom will probably want to be a model for a future cover. ;-)

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  10. Thanks so much for walking us through the creation of a cover. It really is quite a feat to get it looking just right. Your Dad makes a great Sam Adams and the cover is wonderful!!

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    1. It's always a challenge, but a fun one. =)

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  11. That's a lot of work; great job. And it's so cool that your dad is on the cover.

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  12. Wow! That is just amazing! Thank you for sharing the process.

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