Cover Design

Last week I watched an SCBWI summer conference session on cover design. I heard what she said and I could even see most of it, but I’m a hands-on learner. So I decided to play around and create a cover for one of my works-in-progress, a picture book about a prickly pear and the family who shares space with it.

Please keep in mind that I know none of these are good to go. This is just me dabbling.

For attempt #1 I went with a photo for simple ease. I didn’t want a really formal font because this is picture book.

But I have to be really honest with you. This doesn’t look like a cover for a picture book. It wouldn’t even work for a nonfiction picture book. This makes me think poetry or maybe memoir.

So then I decided that I need to find something that isn’t a photo. I like the idea of focusing on the cactus but I think coming in this close won’t quite work. I want to include the human element as well since this is about the interaction between a family and a cactus.

So here’s attempt #2.

Hmm. Aside from the grey background around the two graphics (which I am not going to bother dealing with), this one has a few problems. I don’t remember the exact term the designer used but it looked like it was assembled from photos or stickers. How is that? Because you can box the toy car and the text separate from the cactus. I think I like the other font better but that is just personal preference. Text on a slant is supposed to look more vibrant and mobile. I’m not sure that’s something I need to play with for this. Cactus don’t tend to jump around a lot, not even prickly pear. And I just realized that I forgot my name. Ooops!

Yeah, I don’t like the slanted text. Is it just me or does it look like it slipped or wouldn’t fit if it was straight. Let me shift that. But I do like the new position for the toy car.

This is definitely the one that I like best. Do I love it? No. But I’ve got a much better feel now for what works and what doesn’t.

I’ll definitely be attending more illustrator’s sessions in the future.