Book Covers and Murals

Following on from last week’s post about book covers, here’s another. I’ve spent most of this week working on the new cover for Resonance. I’ve just got the rights back to the book, but it needs a new cover before Book View Cafe can publish it. I could have handed the job over to someone else but…

My artistic past has been re-kindled. I’ve never really been an artist – largely because I can’t draw, and paint seems to prefer my skin and clothes to canvas – but I’ve always felt that I had an eye for it. When I was a student I dabbled with painting murals. Our landlady made the fatal mistake one day of asking six 19 year-olds if they’d like to redecorate the house for her if she paid for the paint. A more astute landlady might have had second thoughts when she saw the cans of orange, lime green and purple stacked in the hallway. Ever seen a lounge with a black ceiling and walls in purple, lime green and orange? You don’t forget if you have.

When it came to my bedroom, I thought I’d go for a mural. Here’s the first one I painted – a copy of cartoon on the inside sleeve of an LP (If anyone can guess the name of the LP, I’d be amazed. It’s from around 1971.) You can see the mantelpiece at the bottom of the picture and the clouds which filled the entire room between the picture rail and the ceiling. (Click on any of the pics to see a larger version)

The source for the second mural is a tad easier to guess. But can you name the LP? I painted this in a different room and it was about six feet in diameter.

Strangely, marriage and painting murals does not appear to mix well. But now, with the wonders of computers and photoshopping software, I’m dipping a toe or two back into the ultramarine.

Below is my first pass at a cover for Resonance.

Without giving the plot away too much, Resonance is about Graham Smith, a reclusive man with OCD who believes, with good reason, that the world about him is highly unstable. Roads change course, people disappear, office blocks migrate across town – all at night when no one’s looking. And he’s found that he can lessen the effect by sticking to a rigid routine. If he walks the same route to work every morning and catches the same train, and keeps himself to himself, then there’s a good chance his home will still be where he left it when he returns home in the evening.

Then Annalise comes into his life and everything changes. Annalise is a girl who looks different every time he sees her. She warns him that he’s being watched and his life is in danger. She rescues him, she hides him, she … disappears. Only to reappear a few days later in another guise. She too has problems. She hears voices – all from girls called Annalise. She has 200 of them inside her head. And all of them are telling her that Graham Smith is in danger and only she can save him.

So, how do you capture that in a cover?

I’ve gone for an unstable London at night scene with three of the many faces of Annalise. I think it works but … I’m not sure about the disembodied heads. Originally I had a head and shoulders shot but that looked too much so I cut it down to head and hair. I’m wondering if I should fade some of it back in – assuming I can get fade to work (I’m still learning Gimp).

What do people think?

Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novel – Resonance (Baen) – can be downloaded for free here. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf

Recently released from Book View Press: French Fried true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.

International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth. Forget Bruce Willis and his team of miners. Send for the kitties!




Book Covers and Murals — 7 Comments

  1. I like the heads and the wavy London, but I think there’s too much brown. Maybe change the color of the title and the author name bar across the bottom?

    I’m partial to blue, personally, but other colors might work too – just something to make it pop a little more when it’s a thumbnail…

    Either that, or change the hue of the night sky – it’s sort of brownish in this image, but more of a black with gray clouds or midnight blue might contrast enough with the brown text to make it work. Making the faces stand out a little more might be nice too.

    I hope this is helpful! Resonance is one of my all-time favorite books! 🙂

  2. I suggest you straighten the title – it will provide better visual contrast with the wavy London (which is great, very eye-catching). How does the title look in a slimmer sans serif font? Agree with Anthea that there’s a lot of brown/yellow/orange going on here (a title in a sharp contrasting colour might work well), and also that a night sky would be preferable. How does existing city/very deep midnight blue sky/bright yellow title look?

    I’d lose the heads altogether, but I concede faces do catch people’s attention. An alternative might be one large woman’s face hovering over the city, with ‘Resonance’ across her face at roughly nose level.

    Good luck with it 🙂

  3. I like the wavy title echoing the wavy city. Don’t know if you want the faces to look like a dream fading into the distance or not.

    For a black and white thumbnail on the Kindle you will need more contrast. But don’t ask me how to achieve it.

    Just my $.02

  4. Anthea, I took the brown from the picture of the night sky and continued the theme (what can I say, I’m partial to chocolate:)

    Good idea about trying blue though and playing with the sky colour. I’ll give that a go.

    And thank you for the kind words about Resonance!

  5. Ajay, my original idea was to have a sweep of heads disappearing off into the distance to fit in with the 200 Annalises but I couldn’t get it to look right. I’ll try a version with a single head though.

  6. Dark was the first thing I thought, followed by “This won’t work as a thumbnail”. I really like the London curve effect. Have you tried putting Resonance in the same type as your name, and making it a hair larger? Then you can play with straight or wavy.

    I’d bring some shoulders back on the woman, and then try different depths to her — half-wash, quarter wash — even behind the title. Maybe three you can see and a few others suggested? Maybe even one washed out in a light color (gold is all right, if you want to stay with this palate) where it’s like a silkscreen of the face, only in one color? There is always the diminishing mirrors effect, but that might detract from the London dance.

    It’s coming along nicely! I’m not sure about the station sign — I might start washing it out, too and mixing it up on the cover, as opposed to that stark graphic in the corner. But that’s my mental demand for symmetry.