Saturday, November 16, 2013

A journey through cover art metamorphosis ~ THE SHEPHERD #YA #Paranormal #CoverArt #Nov #ASMSG

I initially wrote The Shepherd in Christmas 2011, as a gift to my teenage children.  It is a teenage story, about teens, for teens.  Luckily, the novel is fairly intense and engaging, not for young teens (15+), so adults enjoy it too.

Summer 2012, I began plans to publish. At the time, I did not have a good cover artist, so I went to and posted the job for artists to bid. Several bid and gave me a first round of mockups:

Rene Deidrich
Juan Bezzati
Diogo Lando initial mockup
Diogo Lando second mockup

Isaboe Hollis

I finally settled on Diogo Lando as the artist, even though I loved several of the mockups by the other artists.  Diogo has an abstract style, unusual, so I wanted to see what he would do.  This was Diogo's final product:

Diogo Lando final cover art

I soon learned I needed a serious rewrite, so I put The Shepherd aside, and went forward with my Nightlife Series novels, a very adult paranormal romance thriller series.  I posted The Shepherd on wattpad, and left it there, untouched, for a year.

Summer 2013, I had published four Nightlife novels and an Omnibus, and I had finally found the cover artist I wanted for my books, for my style of cover art, Ida Jansson, with Amygdaladesign.

This was Ida's initial set of three covers for a redesign on The Shepherd:

As you might have guessed, this was not the final product.  So, I invited Ida to my blog today to discuss her cover art process, to get to know more about how she does her magic.

Me:  Hello Ida, glad to have you.  Let’s start out with your opinions about the first three cover layout you did on The Shepherd.  Did you like the images I chose and the design concept?

Ida: Hi! Thank you for having me. I loved image 1 and 3, but was not sure about image 2. The concept was exciting and perfect for a cover. I usually recommend not putting too many elements on a cover, so the main character together with the headlights from the car was a great idea.

Me:  What are the stages involved in each of your covers?  What's first, step by step, and then what comes last?

Ida: The process usually starts with gathering as much information as possible from the author. It is important that I get a feeling for what kind of story this is and what the main genre is. Then I start hunting for appropriate stock images, and often download a lot more than I actually end up using because I like to try different options and combinations. Once I have decided what images to use I work to blend them together, using digital painting and different adjustments. This is my favorite part of the process. Then I add the title and author name, usually trying different fonts and combinations.

Me: When you work with an author-publisher, do you prefer to find all the images and come up with your own designs, or do you prefer to have an author like me, giving you all the specifics and the design ideas?  Which kind of author is easier to work with?

Ida: To be honest I prefer to find and choose the stock images myself, because the designer tends to know better what kind of images will work on a cover than the author. I like working from a basic idea that the author gives me (since the author knows the story better than I do), but prefer to work freely with the specifics and details.

Me: This was the second version of a three cover layout, based on changes I requested:
Me: Now, when I have voters on Goodreads look at these covers, #2 and #3 were the most popular.  But, as you know, I am a picky bastard, and I want it my way, regardless of what anybody thinks.

Me: When I asked you to create 4 MORE COVERS in a completely different style, with grungy layers to give it a more thriller look, what were your thoughts?

Ida: Usually I make 2 versions at the most, so you are definitely an exception! But I do enjoy trying different things, and was intrigued by the thought of trying out using textures for this cover. The typography in cover 4 – 7 is definitely the best in my opinion.

Me: And so, after all that work, several months later, I decided on a composite cover, combining fonts, background, and a girl from several of the covers.  Which meant you had to redo the cover for my final version.

What did you think of this final cover art?

Ida: Although I do like the final cover, I don’t think it would have been my choice to be honest. I think I would have gone with the girl from cover #3 combined with the typography and background from cover #6. But the important thing is that you, the author, like the cover!

Add The Shepherd to your Goodreads TBR:

 Amazon US

Amazon UK

Me: After all that work and hassle, after months of dancing with a seemingly implacable author, was it worth it?

Ida: Sure! I learned a lot from the process, and it is interesting to see how people respond to the covers. I love designing, so it will always be worth it. 

Tune in next week for another post chronicling my Journey through cover art with the Nightlife Series, and how I dragged Ida through hell in redesigning my covers.  :)


Amygdala Design was started in October 2012 by Norwegian Graphic Designer Ida Jansson. The company specializes in Book Cover Design for self-publishing authors (“indie authors”) and publishers. Amygdala Design strive to offer the most professional designs and affordable prices on the market. Pre-Made covers are available from $60, and Custom-Made covers from $100. All book covers are available for ebooks and printed books, and the technical specs can be fitted for CreateSpace, Lulu etc.
If you'd like to hire Ida Jansson with click here:

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