Book Cover Art Chapter 4: More Mocking

Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 in Design Advice, Series | 8 Comments

This week’s post in the Book Cover Art series is exciting for me as a designer, because I’m able to show you in a side-by-side view how we use feedback to incorporate and transform the design. As promised, I’m going to recap Kisa’s thoughts on the original cover mock-ups from Chapter 3, and then give you a chance to catch the subtle, and not so subtle, updates in with the new version. The mock-up and revise process can consist of many rounds, but for the sake of this series we’re only showing one round of changes, although Kisa and I have gone through a couple more to get to a more final design. Next week we’ll debut that final, and jump right in to a step-by-step tutorial on how the cover was created. We’ll provide all the stock and styles so you could practice and create the Unmoving cover yourself. Follow along, and let’s have some fun! 🙂

Mock-Up #1

Feedback points from Kisa:

  • Can the necklace be more prevalent, maybe with a chain interacting with the text?
  • Add the filigree from mock-up #2 to mock-up #1, faintly in the corners
  • Increase the title, and move it up more.

Overall, Kisa’s feedback was very positive regarding mock-up number one. I think there was even an “I love this!!!” somewhere in the email, which is great! But, it also makes it more difficult with the second mock-up. I made somewhat of a mistake sending Kisa this mock-up first, while working on the second. It allowed her to only focus on the design in front of her, develop a love (or hate) relationship with it, and then hold the second to a higher standard. I would recommend in the future sending all mock-ups at the same time, to give a fair comparison of both, and against one another. Fortunately for me, Kisa has an artistic background, and didn’t let the appeal of mock-up #1 get too much in the way of discussing mock-up #2 😉

Back to the covers…

The contemporary, faint feel of this cover would stand on its own on a bookshelf, and captured many of the main elements of Unmoving, so overall she was pleased with the direction. I took her feedback and requests, and got to work. To the left is the original, to the right is the updated mock-up #1 (let’s call it mock-up #1.2):

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 1.11.52 PM

 Note: I began to play with the font, but didn’t complete this round of revisions. The same with the chain– since these are just rough mock-ups I didn’t take the time to shade/accentuate a 3D effect on the chain.

Mock-Up #2

Feedback points from Kisa:

  • Portland is very lush (constant rain) so the dirt below the bench feels out of place.
  • Try something more along the lines of a gray pallet similar to the first mock-up.
  • Apply the same styles but with an image we’ve referenced before, in Chapter 2.

As I expected after sending mock-up #1 first, mock-up #2 wasn’t received with as much excitement with the first already so loved to begin with. Kisa had a little more of a clear direction to take this design, which as always is helpful on my end. Overall, Kisa liked the styles of Mock-Up #2, but with Mock-Up #2.2 she wanted to try a new, lighter image.

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 1.12.42 PM

Quite a different change, isn’t it? But you can still see how these two designs fall within the same vein: a more prominent bench, a fantastical overlay texture, movement bringing your eye around the design, etc… I’m actually much more pleased with round two of this mock-up, than the first– proof that a design continues to get better and better with collaboration, edits and multiple rounds of reviewing.


We’ll unveil between Mock-Up #1.2 and Mock-Up #2.2 what direction Kisa picks (and together we finalize) in next week’s post. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below, or Tweet at us @REUTSpub. I have a favorite, and I have a feeling I know which one Kisa favors, but let us know what you would do, and which you’d pick if you were in her shoes. Maybe you can sway her opinion 🙂

Remember, next week we’ll get into the cover creation, meaning over the course of two or three posts I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of recreating this cover. You can practice and practice the techniques I’ve used, and maybe apply them to your own cover in the future. It’ll all begin with the Stock Permission Request mentioned way back when, and how to deal with copyrighted stock.

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  1. Summer
    October 16, 2013

    Neat to see how changes are incorporated. I have MY favorite 🙂 I really like Mock 2.2, though I would go for an even simpler look, sans filigree, or even a lower percentage of opacity on it or different color. That being said, I like the addition of the chain and bolder title in Mock 1.2. Can’t wait to see the final cover!

    • Kisa Whipkey
      October 16, 2013

      Thanks Summer!

      I’m really enjoying seeing everyone’s feedback. Honestly, this story has been stuck on the back-burner for so long because I was really afraid it wouldn’t be well-received. But seeing the excitement surrounding the book cover is giving me hope. Especially hearing people’s interpretations of the cover.

      I think you’ll really like the final one we came up with! 🙂

  2. melody Winter
    October 16, 2013

    Ohhh, after the comments I made last time I am now backtracking. I like the bench in the second mock up – it hints at loneliness and the cloudy grey hints at mystery. I still like the placement of the necklace in the first design. I’d find it hard to decide between the two now, although the second one with the complete bench is really starting to stand out.
    Looking forward to hear what Kisa thinks.
    Melody xxx

    • Kisa Whipkey
      October 16, 2013

      Thanks, Melody!

      I did the same thing with my opinion. At first, I was sure I was going to go with the first choice. But after seeing the second, and hearing some feedback from the lucky few who’ve read the story, I really started to feel strongly about the new direction in Mock 2.2. I think you’ll be impressed with the final outcome. It’s beautiful, elegant, and perfectly matches the book. 😉

  3. Laila Blake
    October 17, 2013

    They are both stunning and I love the way you show your process here! I’m especially fond of 2.2 – it’s so simple and stark and draws you right in. I like 1.2 as well but I don’t see the bench in the background and the difference in sharpness/blur between fore-and background feels just a hint too strong. But both would be amazing covers – lucky author :D.

    • Kisa Whipkey
      October 17, 2013

      Thanks, Laila!

      I definitely feel extremely lucky. Ashley’s work is amazing, so I jumped on the chance to be her guinea pig. Wait until you see the final result–it’s perfection! 😉

  4. Alexandra
    October 17, 2013

    How easy is to make a simple cover into an amazing one! The chain of the pendant gave a curve on the background, filling the cover! While the bench was like screaming “I am a magic one!!!!” Beautiful ideas and i can’t wait to see more!! 🙂

    • Kisa Whipkey
      October 17, 2013

      Thanks, Alexandra!

      That’s what I thought about 2.2 as well–that it was a tad more in line with “fantasy” covers. This series is Urban Fantasy, so I felt it was important to capture that feel. Plus, the few beta readers I have were insistent that the bench needed to be featured more prominently. I did really love the elegant simplicity of design 1 though. But the final version we created is more perfect for this story, and, I feel, combined the best elements of both designs. 🙂

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