Last week I revealed the cover for Mary Kay Tuberty’s book, Keeper of the Flame. It’s a lovely little book and you can read more about it in my previous post by clicking here.
Today, I want to walk you through some of the stock photos I used to create this cover. I typically use stock photos to create my covers. They are readily available, copyright free so I don’t have to worry about infringing on anyone, and I can any season, location or style that I need. However, finding that perfect picture may require a little “tweaking”.
It’s always a blessing when I search through the stock photo sites and land upon the perfect picture…the perfect location, season, and overall look that I’m going for. I’ve only had that happen with a couple of covers. For the rest of them, I’ve pulled several photos together to create the perfect scene to convey the message the story tells. That was the case with Keeper of the Flame. Here’s a peek at the photos on my art board for this project.
For each cover in this series, I started with the tan background that looks like a collage of cracked plaster and brush strokes. This was largely based on Mary Kay’s wishes to have a old sepia looking background for her book series. It really turned out to be a great foundation for this series of books. On Keeper of Coin and Keeper of Trust, I was able to blend in some sepia photos of the house and family in Ireland. It gave a wonderful hint to the storyline without being overpowering.
However for Keeper of the Flame, I decided that I wanted to elude to our main character Kate’s seamstress abilities. After searching through the stock archives for photos relating to seamstress or sewing, I found this wonderful photo with an old sewing mannequin and a lovely tan damask wallpaper. Our story is set in post civil war St. Louis and I thought this carried the charm of that period extremely well. I was able to lighten the foundation background a bit and blend it seamlessly into the damask wallpaper for a cohesive look.
For this series, I have used the same sweet street scene to anchor the bottom of the page. The sky has been removed and the buildings are processed through a blending setting that ages them and allows a bit of the background to show giving them texture and cracks.
Lastly, there is our main character, Kate. She was quite elusive. As I go through stock art sites, I bookmark any period clothing that looks interesting. Because there are fewer photos of period clothing, it’s a bit harder to find a character that has not been overused. Our Kate started as a combination of a few pictures, but then I ran across this renaissance lady. While that hat was totally wrong, she had all the qualities I was looking for in Kate. She had dark hair, a strong determined look, and most importantly, a natural look not marred by overdone makeup – another issue that sometimes crops up in stock photography, especially among period costumed models. I tried everything to avoid using this photo but ultimately, she kept nagging at me to be used. So, I extracted her from the background and started work on that hat. I decided my best option would be to try and trim it down to a hat that might have been more period appropriate and avoid having to find a whole new head of hair for her. Also, I removed the large dangly earrings that would not have been appropriate for a seamstress working in a shop. Lastly I positioned her behind the title art so as to hide the corset over the shirt, which also would not have been true to the period. Our Kate was complete!
I was so thankful that I went back to this Kate and transformed her into the perfect seamstress for our cover.
If you have a book, longing for a cover, drop me a line and let’s work together to create it!