Behind the Cover

The story behind the cover of The Laws of Entanglement: A True Love Story

As an artist and an author (as well as a reader), I believe in the importance of a good cover. Despite popular euphemisms to the contrary, humans are visual creatures. We do judge books by the cover. A good cover is critical for selling a book: it needs to attract readers and give clues to the contents.

Because the Laws of Entanglement is a non-sequential magical realism/paranormal romance crossover novel, I knew a fundamental understanding of the book was necessary for a good cover and that meant the only person qualified to create it was me.

Although I was trained by an old-school designer, who has the time or patience for analog sheets of thumbnails and roughs these days? My solution: mobile apps. My two favorites are Adobe Spark Post and Canva. (No, they did not pay me anything to say that). Here’s what I started with courtesy of free stock and google images.

Back to the drawing board Google image search.

Still not there. Too science-y. And weird. Time to broaden the search parameters.

At this point I stopped looking at paranormal romance covers and looked at magical realism covers instead. Which is when I fell in love with the beautifully illustrated covers of the genre and how simple yet complex they were. I knew I wanted to evoke a sense of mystery. I began searching for illustrations.

Next I did what any good artist does: look for hand references. After downloading several and trying them, I did what a better artist does: pulled out my phone and became my own hand model.

And then I drew a lot of hands.

And then back to the apps for cleanup and compositing. I used Photoshop Express and Mix for this step.

Once I was happy with the design, I emailed it to myself and took the file to Illustrator. That process is an entire tutorial itself (and more appropriate to my artist site).

By now you’re probably wondering what thoughts happened between kissing and hands… and how I arrived at this concept so radically different from where I started. I would be wondering that.

Remember how I said a good design should give clues to the book’s contents? Creating an illustrated cover allowed me to compile visual symbols which would function as clues to those versed in symbology.

For a primer on the symbolism behind the cover, read Part 2. 😁

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