Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Designing the cover for Centurion's Daughter

A picture tells a thousand words, which means that this post will have lots of pics and hopefully few words.

Designing the cover was fun. I originally worked on one attempt that I abandoned as being to puerile for the book's theme. It was meant to wrap around from the back to the front of the book. It shows Aemilia and Tarunculus on the walls of Soissons as the beaten army of Syagrius comes trickling into the town.

After scrapping it I tried something completely different. I found these pictures (some have the owner's permission; the others - I wouldn't have a clue now where they came from and they have been changed beyond recognition anyway).

First the background material. The sky.

And the black ground (I deleted the yellow sky).

Then the centurion's helmet. This fellow was delighted to have his picture as part of a novel cover.

And the centurion's face in profile (which was considerably darkened in the final composition).

Then the scale armour and scarf around his neck, taken from this pic.  The image was flipped in Photoshop.

Finally Aemilia's face, taken from this pic of the statue of the Empress Antonina.

With the raw material assembled I set to work. First I opened everything in Photoshop and start with the background sky. I cropped the picture then blended the sky with the blackened ground below, deleting the superfluous yellow sky from the ground pic. Then I applied a few filters to give the suggestion of a painting texture.

Next the helmet. Using deep etching I removed every part of the pic that was not the helmet itself including the face of the young man, which I replaced with the profile of the old man. I then darkened it and applied filters to give it a similar feel to the sky behind it.

 Then the scale armour and scarf, darkened down to be a suggestion and nothing more.

Now the hard part. The bust of Antonina was not ideal but was the best I could find. First I erased everything superfluous, blurring the edges as I did so.

Then I moulded the face, which meant working the jaw and completely recreating the eyes.

Finally adding the text, and voila!

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