Original photo for 2010 FofM cover image and 2020 fun version plus 2014 final

Cover Image Whimsy

Not long ago, I wrote a post about whether or not to write a new and different version of my first novel, The Friendship of Mortals. I decided not to do that, but while writing the book’s tenth anniversary post, I had a look at the original cover image I created when I published the book in 2010.

The original ebook cover image, 2010

That image was replaced with a professionally designed one in 2014, but I thought I would see what I could do with the original using Canva, which I discovered a few years ago. The free version offers way more capabilities than MS Paint, which is what I used for the 2010 cover image.

I started with a modified version of the original photograph. My idea (back in 2010) was to make it look like an old, damaged photo. With MS Paint, I gave it a sepia shade and added a rusty paperclip mark, a creased corner and a few suspicious stains. I also executed a handwritten annotation — not easy to do using a touchpad mouse!

In the end, I didn’t use the modified photo for the first cover image, but I thought it might be a starting point for a new one. With Canva, I added a texture background and the text for title, author and series, aiming for a style similar to what the professional designer achieved with superior tools and skills.

Alternate cover image for The Friendship of Mortals, created on a whim
Whimsical revision, 2020

One thing I like about this image is that it includes the four colours of alchemy — black, white, yellow, and red. The story includes references to alchemy, where it also serves as a symbol.

I have no intention to replace the current glowing purple cover image for The Friendship of Mortals, but I am rather pleased with my revision of the original. And creating it was fun, which would not be the case with a rewrite of the novel itself.

Still the official image

The original photo and all three cover images are shown in the post header. If you have any thoughts about them, or cover image design in general, please add a comment!

37 comments

  1. That’s a very evocative cover Audrey, the idea of an old photograph concept being a very good fit for the theme. The image of two men in deep discussion and the notion that someone had the need to be capturing this at a distance and possibly hidden from view adds another layer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The more I learn about cover design, the more I appreciate people who can do it. I like to think I don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I’ve been known to pick up a book while browsing simply because the cover caught my eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The new cover looks good. Your boxed set has a rather plain cover… Just say’n.

    I also like to play with covers. A couple of months ago I redid all my ebook covers. What is frustrating is that not only am I not an illustrator (I’m an impressionist landscape painter), but I don’t have a visual mind (aphantasia) so that I can’t really picture scenes from my own books to paint — even if I could paint them. I make do with what I can do, and rely on Gimp and its “cartoon” effect that puts black outlines around everything, making mushy paintings sharper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Chuck. The box set cover is rather basic, mostly because I couldn’t think of a more detailed image that would represent all four books.
      I really ought to look into Gimp.

      Like

      1. Gimp is free and powerful. But with power comes a learning curve. I worked with Photoshop at work, when I worked, so Gimp was a bit strange, but I could translate from Photoshop to Gimp, though I am far from an expert. Starting from scratch, you’d probably want to watch some Youtube how-to-do videos. But if you like playing with images, I think it would be worth your time. Here’s how the cartoon feature can transform a painting: https://www.deviantart.com/litka/art/Someday-Days-Cover-Art-524449654

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If a learning curve is perceived as too steep, one gives up. I’ll have to tackle it when I’m feeling reckless and optimistic. (Although really, if I don’t have a must-do project, it’s not much of a risk.) Thanks for the link!

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          1. Yikes! Someday Days is the first serious effort of my late blooming writing — and it shows, with plenty of errors, I’m sure. It is my least popular book. Still, I write to entertain myself, and I am quite fond of it and my imaginary friends whose stories it begins to tell. I had dreamed up many more episodes in their lives that will never see the light of print, so I felt that I owed it to them to publish what I had written. I consider it a romance, though its HEA ending lay several hundred thousand unwritten words into the future — though I did sneak that HEA ending into A Summer in Amber.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I was always hoping that the Necronomicon would become more prominent in the story. Stolen, copied, distributed as leaflets on telephone poles, sent as the enticement in phishing emails. I’ve never read any HPLovecraft stories. What!? With all the scifi/fantasy I’ve read one would think… So I don’t know what his stories portray, other than what I’ve learned in TFoM. A 2030’s version of revivification might be entertaining, given a all the fun gene editing and remapping of the brain’s neurons one might do. A billionaire buys up mortuaries and creates and army of undead from all the virus casualties…

    I created my covers too. My 15 year old copy of photoshop still seems to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great ideas there, except it would require more knowledge of the brain than I’m willing to acquire. Fragments of the Necronomicon appearing in spam filters and graffiti–now there’s a thought! HPL’s best stories are premised on ancient entities indifferent to the fate of humanity but which draw energy from humans who are enticed into worshiping them.
      Making one’s own covers is one of those things indie authors are advised NOT to do. I’ve commissioned professional covers and designed a few myself. “Good, fast, cheap–pick two!”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the final version best. The white print stands out so well against the black background, and the purplish hue adds to the mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the “pro” version, Pete. It remains the official image for this book wherever it’s available. My intent with the 2020 re-do was just to see if I could improve on my DIY original.

      Like

  6. Nice work! There’s something intriguing about that amber palette, and I like the red splotches and writing on the wall too. The title typography works really well against it all.

    I’m a fan of Canva too and can usually get the results I want with it. Nothing too sophisticated, but you can make a cover look professional and appealing. Fun to experiment with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kevin! If I had been using Canva back in 2014 I probably wouldn’t have bought the professional images. They weren’t cheap, so even though they’re more polished than my best efforts, the latter would probably have been good enough for me. And even if one is planning to hire a professional designer, a Canva image would be a great way to give them an idea of what the desired effect.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmmm…I have to say I really favor your modification to the current cover image (fun as that is)…the sense of mystery feels so much more deepened through your use of color and addition of stains and annotation to the original image.

    Liked by 1 person

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