Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Process Part 1

For some reason folks are interested in my process for creating covers. So this will be pretty much a step by step of how the images turn into a cover - minus the boring tedious details. You can click on the images to see pretty much a full size.

First this cover is for A Christmas Sleeping Beauty by Lindsay Townsend. Will what you see here end up as the final cover? I don't know it's up to Lindsay. I'm just using it as an example.

First I select the image. I usually start with finding the people, because they take longer. For this one I needed a medieval feel to the couple. Thankfully I had bought this months before from Romance Novel Covers The hero needed to be wearing a jerkin so I lucked out! It's hard to find good period pictures of couples. But like all pictures of people it has a few problems - some bumps on the faces, freckles, a surgery scar on his elbow - those HAD to go.

I used the spot healing brush to get rid of those ugly scars, freckles and bumps. Much better. But there are still veins and minor imperfections on the skin. Well these are Romance Novel Characters! They have to be better than real life!! So next step

A little use of the dust filter in photoshop and voila no more veins! Now they look good.

Now I start playing with adjustments. These are very powerful tools in Photoshop so if you want to play with them tread lightly. This is a curve adjustment - where I adjusted the amount of light.

Now I'm playing with Hue and Saturation. This is the first of those levels. See how much deeper and richer the image is getting?

Okay that's it for this post. I'll be back soon with Part 2 - and I'm still working on this couple.


  1. Delilah, this is amazing. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. I've had the idea for the eye candy award nudging at me for quite some time, now I know what is going on, subtly, that makes our Cover Artists speak so profoundly to me with the covers that blow me away. I only awarded 20 places in my award posting today and of course had to create a brand new blog just to honor our covers.

    Delilah thank you for showing us why your covers always make Kat and I gasp with joy every time we get a mockup e-mail from you. Your skills give elegance and power to our stories bringing them to vivid visual life.

  3. It's incredible what you can do to enhance/change a photo. My book is scheduled to release in July...I can't wait to see what you all come up with for a cover! I enjoyed your post and am anxious to see more.

    Author of Concilium, available July 2012
    Concilium: The Departure, November 2012

  4. Hi, Delilah,

    Fascinating. Do you ever have to put together pieces of two different images?

    Looking forward to part 2!

  5. It is one thing to look at each one individually and read what you did but when you scroll through and just look at them the change is intense.

    Your skill is evident in that you are not heavy handed with your changes. Very impressive and I look forward to the next post.

  6. Lisabet - sometime, yes I have to combine images - if you look closely at the Mind Over Matter cover - you'll see the hero has a tattoo - it is an image I created that I had to shade, overlay, warp and several other tricks to make it look like it was part of his skin. Sometimes you need to add a gun or a badge or some tiny element - the trick is to make the addition not look added and that takes time and playing with it.

    Brian - Thank you. It isn't a quick process and the reason for doing it in small steps and separate layers is if something doesn't work it's easier to remove. Photoshop has a pretty steep learning curve but once you learn the basics of each tool - it can be pretty powerful.

    For those reading this next set is turning our light brown haired heroine into a raven haired heroine.