Heys, I'm doing a book cover illustration of a book that I like. Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer; original cover art done by Micheal Whelan. I love the back cover, but I'm having trouble with the composition for the front cover. Oh, and for some reason i thought it was a good idea to start with the size the book is. So my comp is no bigger than 9x7. >.<
O.o I can? This is my first time working in photoshop..can you tell me how?
Go to image>image size. If you don't know much about pixels and such, the resolution is basically how many pixels are squished into one inch. The higher the number of pixels, the more quality the pic. Increasing the actual dimensions of a pic (the width and height of the pic also determines the size of the pic.
EG: 600 pixels per inch is a huge resolution setting, but if you only have your dimensions set to an inch by an inch, when blown up it won't look too good. Conversely, if you have a pic that's 1000X1000 pixels and at 72 pixels per inch, it may look alright on the screen, but when printed out or blown up even slightly you'll see those pixels.
As a rule, start at high resolution if you can. 300 resolution and anywhere from 1000-3000 pixels high or wide will ensure that you'll be able to zoom in a bit for details and also print decently if you choose to. Note that with a lot of laser printers that you'll see in schools and businesses, anything over 150 dpi won't really show any difference. It might though at places like staples where printing is what they do.
As for the pic itself, remember it's a book that needs to stand out next to its composition. A good idea is to make sure it's bright, contrasted with vibrant colours or strong imagery. A good rule is to make your image direct the eye somewhat to the left, asking for the reader to go beyond the border and open up the book.
Sorry, but I think you should leave this version aside and get out a pencil and paper and sit down in a quiet room with the curtains drawn and try to imagine the picture fresh. You need to free up your imagination to "see" images.
Once you get a perfect concept in your mind, full of drama and life and excitement... then trace off your imagination onto paper... a thumbnail of the idea. Make sure you capture the image you saw in your mind's eye before proceeding to any more finished drawing.