Switching Gears – Book Cover Design

I haven’t been drawing as much in the last few months since I have focused on the final stages of publishing my book.  It’s a memoir about my life with my dogs. A collection of stories – the adventures, the misadventures, and everything in-between. It’s about all the life lessons a multitude of furry friends taught my family and me. So my head has been more focused on words, grammar, and all the nuances involved when trying to get a book published.

Luckily, I have experience from my past that taught me about some of the things involved with publishing a book. Writing is only one part – granted a big role – but then there is the editing – endless editing—edits and rewrites, leading to more revisions and rewrites. And we still haven’t gotten to printing the book. There are interior layout that needs to be done – that’s what I used to work on when I used to work for a small publishing company in the 90s.

Hundreds (if not thousands) of little decisions go into the making of every book. Size of the book, what the cover and back cover artwork will look like. This is where I have been able to artistically focus some of my attention in the last few weeks. Since it was a memoir involving my dogs, I had countless photos of my dogs. They are some of my best subjects. Let me rephrase that since they don’t pose there, I tell them to sit. I must be more of an observer and catch the moment for a stand-out photo.

I didn’t want the cover to look like a dog training book which is what the first few drafts reminded me of. My son kept asking me why I would leave the cover design of my book to someone else. I was tired – wasn’t writing the book a significant enough accomplishment? But he was completely right, so I sat back down and decided to try it. I had no idea where to start – I can draw, but I can’t draw my dogs. I can draw dogs, but again not MY dogs. At least not yet. I wouldn’t be able to do them all justice, and I certainly didn’t have the time to figure that out.

As always, I fall back to my comfort zone in photography. My photographs. I have thousands of photos of all the dogs, and I needed to start going through them to find the ones that would be in the book. I decided on a few images that stood out to me. I blacked out the images so they were silhouettes and started to play with them like puzzle pieces. I was playing around with different blending modes to create a colorful effect. 

Spine and front cover

Luckily I had to do the back cover as well, which allowed me to include the remaining dogs that I couldn’t fit on the front cover.

Back cover artwork

Xine’s Pack of Strays & Others – A Memoir is available at either Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

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