Designing a Book Cover

We interrupt our regular Monday program (The Art & Science of Pete’s Paleo Petshop) to give you a bit of quick behind-the-scenes sneak peak.  I’m deep in the heart of picture-book production, and I’m at the point where I want to have the front cover all nice and shiny, so it can be the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick for me.

If I have a clear image of what I’m headed for, then it may be easier to keep heading that direction. 🙂

I would like it very much indeedy if I could have a bit of feedback.  Doesn’t have to be much, just enough to help me steer in the right direction. 🙂

First though, a quick (and brief!) rundown of what’s needed in a picture book cover.

  • Visually appealing- obvious is of course obvious.  What’s your first reaction when you see it?  A resounding yes!  Or…not quite hitting the mark?
  • Gives hints about the story- it makes you want to know what happens.
  • Gives you a “feel” of the story.  Style, general mood, if it’s funny or serious, etc…
  • Text is clear, and can be read from a distance, or at least get you to take a closer look.
  • Would you buy it if you saw it on a shelf?

 

There’s more to designing a book cover, but those are the basics.  So I have a couple of questions for you…

  • What’s your first reaction when you see the picture?
  • Would you pick up the book if you saw it on a library shelf?  Please tell me why or why not. 🙂
  • Are there any questions you have about the characters or the illustration?  Does it make you want to know more, or know the story behind it?

 

With those questions in mind then, here is the sketch.

Cover copy.jpg

 

And here is the colored version as I have it now.  It’s only colored as much as necessary to get an idea of style and general look.  It doesn’t have fine details yet.

 

 

Cover_colored_test.jpg

Thank you for swinging by my little corner of the internet, and thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. 🙂  I think it’s pretty awesome that indie publishing is an option, and that you can be a part of this.

Here are those questions again, and it would be most helpful if you could answer the questions for each image above.  Whichever ones work best for each picture. 🙂

  • What’s your first reaction when you see the picture?
  • Would you pick up the book if you saw it on a library shelf?  Please tell me why or why not. 🙂
  • Are there any questions you have about the characters or the illustration?  Does it make you want to know more, or know the story behind it?

Thank you again for taking the time to help me give you something better. 🙂  I love to read your answers in the comments! 😀

2 thoughts on “Designing a Book Cover

  1. First reaction: “Woah. Dinosaur! Big text!”

    Would I pick up the book if I saw it on a shelf? If I were buying a book for a young one who liked dinosaurs, yes. I would recognize the dinosaurs to be different from the ones I usually see and appreciate the accuracy. Otherwise, I would not buy this for myself, probably. I seldom read children’s books other than for school, and to learn about dinosaurs I would like something with more pages.

    Questions that make me curious? Yes. If the artistic style is rather realistic, why is the drawing itself so unbelievable? It’s unexpected. Also, there’s some irony in that you have a sauropod neck framing the title, “little, Quiet Dinosaur.” Are they little? Are they quiet?

    Like

    1. Hi Michael, thank you for your great feedback. 🙂

      I think you pointed out exactly what’s been nagging me. Everything kinda looks out of place. Disjointed, and I can’t figure out why. Maybe it’s the fact that no one is looking at each other or really interacting.

      Perhaps a start on making it better would be to change the title?

      “Do you have a little dinosaur, a quiet dinosaur?”

      Vs.

      “Little, quiet dinosaur”

      It’s a lot longer, but it implies more of the actual story. Perhaps there’s a way to reword that into something a bit shorter. That was the reason for having a large Dino in the picture.

      Also, I wonder if only having the “birds” would have younger children wondering where the dinosaurs are, since it’s not generally known that birds are living dinosaurs.

      Most think that birds are descendants of dinos.

      Hmm, I clearly have a long way to go for the right cover, but that’s what the mock-ups are for. 🙂

      Thank you again for the awesome feedback! 😀

      Like

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