Creating The Cover Art For ‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’

19 Nov

The cover art for my upcoming book is something that I’m particularly proud of, and it also happens to be the image I’ve used for the background for this blog. As a result, think it’s worth explaining how it got put together. In particular, people have asked about how I managed to create the shaft of blocked light that appears emanate from the lone figure on the roof.

Cover art for 'For Those In Peril On The Sea'.

Cover art for ‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’.

To explain this, you first need to know that the sunset and the lighthouse come from two completely different photos. I was sat at the lighthouse in the image (it’s the one at Hole-in-the-Wall in the Bahamas, which features in the story itself), looking at the most amazing sunset when I realised it would be great to get the lighthouse silhouetted against it. The only problem was that to get into a position where I could do that I’d have to sit about fifty feet beyond the edge of the cliff, so that wasn’t going to happen. My solution was to take a picture of the sunset, then next day, take a picture of the lighthouse from the shore side and impose one onto of the other. This was in the old days, before Photoshop, so this was done by hand using a cut out from the lighthouse picture and an enlarger. The placement of the ray of blocked light on the roof was completely fortuitous (it’s a natural phenomenon caused by a cloud lying just below the horizon).

Later, when I was trying to think about possible cover designs, I happened to remember this old print I’d put together. I dug it out and it was scanned it into a computer. Thanks to the developments in photo-software in the fifteen years since I made up the original, the figures could then be added to it. This took a bit of trial and error, but the overall effect seemed to work. Originally, I’d intended to just have the shadowy people on the ground, but that feature reaching up into the sky was crying out to have one standing in it. It seems to raise questions in the mind. What’s it doing on the roof? Is this figure one of the infected? Is it someone trying to escape from them?

I’m hoping it will be eye-catching enough to attract people’s attention, without straying too far into the types of covers often associated with zombie-type books (not that there’s anything wrong with that style of cover, it just wasn’t the look I wanted). I think this design has a more post-apocalyptic vibe that is truer to the story being told (which is about survival in the face of adversity, and how it forces people to step up or crumble, rather than zombie horror – despite the fact it’s set in a world where the land has been over-run by zombie-type infected).


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in the UK. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.

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