Behind the Design ~ Through the Waters

Posted By Roseanna on Jun 5, 2015 |


A couple weeks ago a previous client got in touch with me to say she was ready to do the cover for her next book, Through the Waters–I love working with people on multiple projects, so I was excited!

Set in the turbulent Civil Rights movement in Alabama, Through the Waters is a historical novel. Embassie, the author, wanted to see a heroine on the cover, in era-appropriate clothing, and a lovely backdrop of Alabama, perhaps with Spanish moss hanging. I headed over to Shutterstock to look and quickly put together a pretty little lightbox. =)

I always try to find an image that nails, up front, the look I’m going for. Failing that…I get creative.

That failed here, LOL. So I put on my Creativity hat, and away I went! All the images I found of women in the right style of dress didn’t fit the heroine’s physical description. But I found two dresses I really liked, and the woman had her back to the camera, so I could tweak the rest. My first choice was this one, in purple. (Yes, I’m always a sucker for purple!)

I downloaded this image, deleted her background, and got to work on skin tone. The heroine is an African American, so I selected all the skin visible, increased the saturation, and darkened a bit until I got a beautiful shade of brown that matched the model on whom Embassie had based the character.

I really liked how that looked. But Embassie said that she always either wore her hair up or in loose curls. With the way the hat was here, we got no hint of hair whatsoever. I decided to change that so found a hand-dandy photo of a girl with lovely black hair.

I chose this one solely because of the way her hair was laying over her shoulder–just waiting to become a ponytail. 😉 And voila!

I really, really liked how that looked, so I chose a background and got down to composing the cover. My first thought was this one with the lovely pinks and purples…

I put them together (though it required copying the grass over and again to get it to go down far enough), zooming the girl in to fill the whole right side.

Next, I added an Action called “Nashville,” that colorizes the whole thing.

I liked the vintage-photo feel that gave it, so I went ahead and added the title and author’s name.

But of course, I wanted a little extra something…and needed to add the series title too. So I chose a flourish and put it both under the title and her name. And voila, the finished version of Round 1.

I sent this to Embassie for her take, and she liked it…then asked if she could see another option. Being a wise woman, she knows that having choices can be a fabulous thing. 😉 So I went back to Shutterstock and this time chose a bright red dress on the same model for a splash of color.

Going about things just as I did with the purple dress, I deepened her skin tone to that perfect shade of brown and added the same hair.

(Let’s ignore the jagged edges–I didn’t want to take the time cleaning it up until I knew if we’d be using it.) For her background, I went with this Spanish-moss-draped branch that gave a fun peek out into a field.

Embassie had mentioned a little house that could be in the cover, so I also found a photo of a small, rundown-looking house.

Putting the house in the background and sizing it appropriately, I got this.

I liked the frame that the moss and branch provided, so I went ahead and put in the girl.

The pop of red was fun, so I went ahead and added the title, etc., again, this time framing it in that white space.

I sent it off to Embassie…who liked this one too. =) She couldn’t decide between them, so of course did the logical thing and asked if we could put Woman #1 on Background #2.

And naturally, we did just that…and found our winner!

I really love how it seems like she’s looking back at the house, and how the images came together so well! Embassie was thrilled too, so there have it. Through the Waters, a sure-to-be-exciting historical romance that will be coming soon!