Monday, March 12, 2012

Turning a Photo into a Book Cover

Last week I finished designing the book cover for my mystery novel, Artifact, that comes out this summer. This week I've been doing the interior layout to the book. Therefore I've been too busy to do much in the way of photography lately. But I realized I have been working on some cool photography—just not in the way I usually do.

Today I thought I'd show the process I used to turn a photograph I took in India into my book cover.

I took the photo below of Red Fort in Delhi, India, almost fifteen years ago. It's a nice enough photo, but not especially great. But I love the structure of those arches, so the image stuck with me. When I scanned a batch of my old negatives several years ago, I digitized the photo.

Once I knew I'd be designing my own book cover for my mystery novel, this image immediately came to mind, since the plot involves an artifact from India that has somehow wound up on a Scottish archeological dig.

I knew the photograph wasn't strong enough on its own to become a book cover, but certain elements were. In Photoshop, I turned the image to black and white, and used Threshold to make all the values of the image black or white—no shades of gray.

I liked the look of that high contrast image, but it didn't lend itself to the kind of background image I envisioned. So I inverted the image, with the result show below.

Now this was an image I could use. In InDesign, I took the image and applied some color and used a transparency to show a map of the UK behind the Indian arch. Here's the final cover.