For Today’s Freebie Friday, I thought it would be fun to showcase a few of my own designs.
I chose this picture for two reasons. For starters, its sexy, but more importantly, I wanted to show you how you can drastically change the color and atmosphere of a picture in just a few steps. Another important thing to note about this image is that we will only be using a very small portion of it, so you will need to purchase the largest pixel size available because we will be cutting out so much of it (but only if you plan to use this for print or commercially).
The first step for me is always cropping the image. If you are creating a book cover, you will probably need to make your image a certain size or ratio. I set this before I actually start cropping. Once you set the ratio, cropping becomes a breeze. Just move the edges until you get the section of the picture you want. I wanted this to look more like a bedroom scene than a beach scene, so I made sure not to show the shorts or too much of the background. How much you crop just depends on what you want to do with your cover.
Tip: Create a duplicate layer of the couple before you start erasing just in case you mess up.
The next step is removing the background. I started with the background eraser tool set with at low tolerance. If you do not know how to find this, it’s on the left side of your screen. In the red box below, the is an example of what the icon looks like when you right-click on it. I use the background eraser to erase the background around the couple, and I adjust the tolerance depending on how close the colors are. For example, in this picture the bottom needed a lower tolerance because the dark colors blend together. If you cannot get it to erase without taking pieces of the image that you want to keep, just skip that part and we will do it by hand later.
Tip: If you mess up go to the top toolbar and click EDIT>STEP BACKWARD.
Once you have removed what you can with the background eraser tool, choose the regular eraser with a defined edge and remove the remainder of the background. This is also when you should remove the edges that you couldn’t get with the background eraser tool. To do this, choose a very small brush size and zoom in so you can be as precise as possible. Also, any time I’m touch up the edges of an image with the eraser tool, I use the soft edge eraser (the red arrow is pointing to it) set at a very small brush size.
Tip: To create a new layer go to the top toolbar and select LAYER>NEW>LAYER.
Now that you have removed the background, it’s time to create a new one. If you want, you can drag in a new picture as the background, but for this cover I just used a simple black background. Start by creating a new layer. Then you choose the paint bucket tool and fill the layer with black. Then drag the black layer behind the couple.
Tip: When creating new layers, it is wise to give them an easily identifiable title because it will make the layers easier to find later.
If there is anything left of the background, use the soft edged eraser tool set a small brush size to clean up the background and the edges.
Tip: To create a black and white layer go the top toolbar and select LAYER>NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER>BLACK &WHITE.
I wanted this picture to feel dark so I applied a black and white layer. A plain black and white layer was a little too bland for this image, so I set the layer to multiply mode. You notice that the couple is still darker but they retain their glow.
I wanted the couple to look a little darker so I duplicated the Black and White layer to intensify the effects. To create a duplicate layer, click on the layer you want to duplicate and right-click on it. The picture below shows the rest.
For the text background, I wanted to create a transparent black strip. I started out by creating another layer. Next, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
Use the marquee tool to make a nice thick rectangle. Next, use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the selection with black.
Next, you want to deselect the selection area.
Now, to make the strip of black transparent we are going to bring the opacity down to 52% and change the blend mode to Darker Color.
The next step is to create the decorative divider. Start by creating another layer. Then use the brush tool to apply the divider. You can use any divider you like, but I found mine here.
All that is left now is placing your text. All that you really need to do with text is play around with placement, font, and color. For this cover, I decided to go plain: pale color, no layer effects, and a clean font.
And you’re done!
I know I promised to have the new tutorial up today, but it looks like I might be a little late. It should be up sometime later tonight. Turns out I had a little more to do than I anticipated.
So, my latest project was learning how to use Photoshop. It was wicked hard, but well worth the time spent. I can do some really cool stuff now, and I’ve only spent a few days learning some basic tricks. I’m thinking about creating a few how-to articles (strictly for beginners), because I know a lot of writers are moving towards self-publishing. Even if you’re not, knowing your way around Photoshop can be extremely helpful to you in other ways.
Below are some covers I’ve created, and some of the things I can teach you to do.
Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. I’m looking forward to this interview and would like to mention that I’m having a giveaway for a copy of Until Darkness Comes. Details to win will be included at the end of the interview.
1. What’s the first book you remember reading and why did it stick with you?
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.
This book was about a young adolescent girl entering puberty and trying to find her way. It was a great story that stuck with me because the main character was easy to identify with.
2. What’s your writing process and what do you find to be the most difficult part?
I’m a pantser. With the exception of the book I’m currently writing, I didn’t know how they were going to end until the ending. LOL. I try to let my stories write themselves rather than following a structure or an outline for them to fit into. For me, I think it flows better
that way. Because I’m a pantser, I have to go back through the story a couple of times to layer and connect the dots. Sometimes that can be tedious.
3. Which writers inspire you and which aspect of their writing do you find most impressive?
I really like Lara Adrian‘s Midnight Breed Series. What appeals to me about her writing style is that she has great characterization. Each of her characters have strong personalities that come through in each story. It pulls me in and I can bond with her characters. I think that’s one of the greatest challenges for a writer, to diversify your characters and create them in a way that the reader can bond to them.
4. What is the most challenging aspect of writing for you (ex. plot, characterization, pacing, grammar, etc.) and how do you overcome this?
By far, writing the ending is the toughest for me. I find it difficult to end a story in a way that doesn’t feel cut off, rushed, or leave trailing loose ends. I try to be very cautious not to do this, but it takes a conscious effort and it doesn’t come easy for me.
5. Everyone has that one BIG lesson they learned the hard way, do you mind sharing yours? How has it influenced your writing?
Learning to write a query letter that doesn’t scream “I don’t knowwhat I’m doing!” There are a lot of newbie errors to be made in drafting a query letter, and at one time or another, I’ve probably made them all.
I could probably paper my walls with the rejection letters.
I studied a lot of query letters and the art ofwriting them. I knew I’d finally gotten it right when I started getting manuscript requests. One of the things I’m working on is
developing a page on my website called “writing tips.” I’m including examples of synopsis and query letters as well as links to some good websites I found to be very helpful. Hopefully, other writers will find this useful.
6. If you could nominate two characters for best Hero and heroine, who would you choose?
Hmm…that’s hard to say, but Midnight Rising was one of my favorite books. I’d have say Tegan and Elise would be good nominees for best hero/heroine. They’re two dynamic characters with great chemistry that really hooked me.
7. Now, to get on to your novel, Until Darkness Comes. Choose three words that you believe best represent it.
Deception, Temptation, Romance.
8. I know all authors hate this question, but I think it’s really important for readers who are unfamiliar with an author–Which two previously published books do you feel Until Darkness Comes is most like. And include which aspects are similar (pacing, tone, atmosphere, romance, character types).
Wow, this is a very hard question. I’ve been told Until Darkness Comes has a certain Twilight appeal. Like Twilight, it’s a series that follows that same two main characters, and it’s a book that appeals to a YA and adult audience. I guess the other book would be Hush, Hush. Although the story lines have nothing in common, they’re both a romance about an angel and a mortal woman. This, too, is a series that follows the same two characters. I think people who enjoyed reading those books will like Until Darkness Comes.
9. For readers interested in keeping up with you and your work, can you list all places you can be found?
Anyone who’s interested in following me can do so through my blog, www.melyndaprice.com. My email and contact links for facebook and twitter are listed on my website. I post excerpts from my WIP’s every week, and am currently doing a Bonded in Exile excerpt.
Thank you so much, Hallie, for hosting me on your blog, and to everyone who stopped by today. I’m giving away a copy of Until Darkness Comes. Enter to win by going to my website, www.melyndaprice.com, “follow me” and leave a message that you’d like to be entered to win in a comment. Good luck!
I would like to thank Melynda Price for stopping by, and encourage you all to swing by a grab a copy of Until Darkness Comes, or enter to a copy at her blog.
Looks very military. This is a guy who could kick my ass half asleep with both hands tied behind his back.
I can tell he’s giving me the same thorough assessment, although I can’t tell by his expression what he thinks. I hope it’s not, This chick looks like a vampire. That will majorly fuck up the rest of my life.
“What are you doing out so late at night kid?”
To Learn more about Six Sentence Sunday, click here.
I usually only showcase 1 to 3 free novels on Friday, but today when I was searching I found so many that looked good that I decided to post them all. Below is a list of titles and their links.