The Making of a Cover

After reading this Lit Hub post on cover design, I thought it would be interesting to share the the process involved in making the cover of the first Doc Vandal adventure, Against the Eldest Flame. The big thing was that I wanted a cover that really felt like it would have been perfectly at home on a newsstand in 1937. That meant no obvious CGI figures or backgrounds; the cover needed a painted look. I’ve put the journey behind the fold because there are a number of images here.

As a self-published author, I’m pretty hands on with everything I do, and that includes cover design. In the case of this book I started with a  sketch of my own. I’m not a great artist, but I can draw well enough to get a basic idea across.


It’s not much, but it gets the basic idea of a Zeppelin escaping from an erupting volcano across. I then went to Fiverr and found a cover artist. I gave them my parameters and received the following images:

First, this:


It was incomplete, but it was a step in the right direction.

Next, I received this:


This second image was pretty good, but it was too dark, especially around the airship. It had all the elements I wanted but the whole didn’t quite work. So I had it revised and got the following image:


From here, I went to a cover designer, who provided me with this:

Against_the_Eldest_Flame_ Final

This version looked better, the cover designer had brightened the image so it stood out, but the cover as a whole just wasn’t quite it. After bouncing around several ideas I finally came up with the idea of a different title font, and also putting the volume number on the cover to balance the logo.



And there it is!

If you have any comments or stories of your own cover design journeys I would love to hear about them in the comments.


Author: Dave Robinson

Dad, comic fan, hockey fan. Writer of Doc Vandal

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