Art: New Book Cover (Crits wanted!)

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  1. #1
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    Exclamation New Book Cover (Crits wanted!)

    I think it's about time I posted something in the finally finished section! Here is a graphically stylized cover I did for a book by a friend. (http://www.joshuaminton.com)

    New Book Cover (Crits wanted!)

    Crits are welcomed!
    I am always interested in what youse guys have to say...
    Thanks, Chris

    PS. If you'd like to see this piece in progress go to this link:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51581

    Last edited by ArtisticSchmidt; September 28th, 2005 at 02:16 PM.
    J. Christopher Schmidt
    Comic Book Artist / Illustrator
    www.artisticschmidt.net
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  3. #2
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    I like the colors. It reminds of me 70's psychadelic album covers.

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  4. #3
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    NuclearWarrior-Thanks! I played with the colors alot and this is the result. I appreciate you commenting...

    Anybody else out there?!
    ~Chris

    J. Christopher Schmidt
    Comic Book Artist / Illustrator
    www.artisticschmidt.net
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    Exclamation Help me improve!

    I would appreciate anyone giving me advice and criting my work!

    I'd like to get better and learn from my mistakes.

    Thanks, Chris

    J. Christopher Schmidt
    Comic Book Artist / Illustrator
    www.artisticschmidt.net
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    well,. first off i would have to say that the "the" is really killing me on a graphic design standpoint... its very hard to determine what your trying to acheive here.... if your going for a very basic colored look I would have to say that you've achieved it to a certain degree but, you could def. push it further by adding some movement around the rocks/ stones. Maye some in the air... like when you step on the ground and there are tiny gravel bits that just flying everywhere... little things like that add dimension... Ialso wouldnt outline the rocks.. well, not all of them at least.. play with tones and contrast on the rocks.. make them three dimensional.. they all look pretty flat now aside from a little highlight, here and there... Also, you changed the color of the rocks from the back to middle... I know that there needs to be a color variation but, they should have the same hue.... and although the main character has some anatomical errors its really the best part of the piece... which again you couldpush a bit further by adding another darker shade of that purplish blue where its the darkest... Not too much but, just enough to add some defining contrast... finally the last thing I would crit is the temple... It looks rather small... it doesnt even look like he could possibly fit in it.. it would be a tough thing to fix without changing the perameters you have set with the cropping... you would need to either A- make the main character smaller or B- switch the angle of ita bit so that its tilted more towards the left and basically have it go right off the page.... this would also help you bring some really dynamic lighting into play... Well, I hope my crit will help you a bit... keep it going.... and congrats on the book cover..

    Mainloop- man i must be dyslexic.. cuz i thought you asked how many people are on lsd

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    Its starting to look like a real book cover, aside from the random capitalisation In The sub-Title.
    Without sounding too dumb can I ask whats going on? Who is the guy and why is his face so evil? Why is he surrounded by gravel? What is the 'information war'? What does 'flipping the temple' mean and how does this relate the pyramid or to competing as an artist or computer user? (Pyramids like the one in the pic are tombs btw, maybe youre thiking of the Aztec ones which are more ornate?) Dont mean anything by these q's, just a bit baffled.
    On the good side, the guy looks like he's supporting a huge weight easily, and the lettering of the title sits well on the background.

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    The light lines are really bothering me. I think they would look much better by just being solid black, instead of light blue and browns. The coloring is pretty simple, and the little reflective lighting on the right half of the character doesn't look good. It looks more like unshaded margins rather than reflective lighting. Use a different color for the reflective lighting may help.
    The rocks are piling up too high on the character. It doesn't feel like he's standing up from them, but rather like being buried and got stuck.
    And like others mentioned, "the" in the title is distracting, and the subtitle is too long.

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    I really don't like the brown outline on the rocks. The blue is okay on the guy - the main thing with the colorized outlines is that when you have a shaded form and the outline is the same lightness all the way around, then you lose the outline in the middle tones and it looks weird against the darker tones. I'd suggest burning the outlines according to the same lighting as the forms.

    As a whole, I'm not feeling the brown rocks in the composition. Maybe purple would work better.

    The lighting on the main figure is not coming from the moon. It's coming from the left, where no light source has been indicated.

    His right (our left) wrist doesn't look right.

    Also, I really hate that font. It looks like every small-run or self-published book.

    I really like the way you did the water. But reflections over water are generally straight down, perpendicular to the horizon. The yellowy highlights on the reflections don't need to be there, and they complicate the composition, too.

    This is a good start, but to me it doesn't look professional yet.

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    Red face Response

    I appreciate all of you commenting!

    vigostar-I wanted to make the way the type is presented a little playful. Any suggestions? I suppose it doesn't need to be slanted.

    I was going for a graphic and simplified style. You were suggesting having "rock in the air"? I think that would possibly defeat the graphic feel I ended up with. If you look at the link to the piece in progress it judt didn't look right with outlines and blended colors. That is an idea though that I wouldn't have thought of so I'll look into it.

    It seems most everyone doesn't like the rock outlines, but what about the rest of the outlines? In earlier versions the rocks needed more definition, as suggested by other CA members. I agree they look flat.

    What anatomical errors are you speaking of? The "jagged" part on his contour are meant to be that way. Other people mention the right wrist, but the reference I used had a guy with his wrist bent back just like that.

    A darker shade of purple in the figure could be nice. I actually wanted to make him darker but it didn't look right. I'll have to use it in specific areas.

    I see what you are saying about the size comparisons. The temple could have been bigger and the figure smaller but I wanted the temple to be secondary to the figure. I'll consider changing that.

    How can changing the sizes bring "some really dynamic lighting into play..."?
    Thanks alot!

    blexarady- Perhaps I will alter the random caps in the subtitle.

    I personally don't think he looks "evil". He is based on reference of an african american guy I found on the internet. As for him coming out of rocks-I wanted him to feel like he came almost from underground and lifted the temple up over him. I did not write the book, as far as the "information war" goes it's just meant to symbolize the difficulties inherent in getting your name out there on-line. It's meant to be dramatic. "Flipping the Temple" is kind of like the saying "Turning the Table", giving yourself some kind of edge over others.

    The temple in the picture is meant to represent an Aztec Temple. It does look like a pyramid though.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    look-

    I assume you are speaking about the outlines. I suppose they are "light" but I want that feel to them. I will see how the look in black again (I had them that way before) and adjust accordingly.

    I agree about the reflecting light. I struggled with that alot. Since the moon is yellow, wouldn't a different color reflective light throw it off? I guess it could just be a lighter blue or something.

    I don't think him looking stuck between the rocks is necessarily a bad thing. I would rather he looked like he just broke through the rocks from underground.

    I'll try to do more with the type. I however, have no control over the subtitle.

    nonie-I'll consider making the outlines according to lighting of the form. Thanks.

    I'll see what I can come up with for the brown rocks.

    I agree the light sources are off. His wrist may not look correct but it's pretty close to the reference I have. I'll see if I can make it look more anatomically correct.

    I had a different font and changed to this one. It's not like I saw some other "self-published" book and used that font, I just happened upon it. I'll try a couple more and see what I like.

    Yea, Relections are normally straight to the horizon and perfectly perpendicular. I thought it looked cool though. Is it worth keeping?

    I'll work on it more and see 2what I come up with.

    You all helped alot!
    ~Chris

    J. Christopher Schmidt
    Comic Book Artist / Illustrator
    www.artisticschmidt.net
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    Hi there ArtisticSchmid,

    I commented earlier on this in the WIP-section. And at first i thought it was fiction. I realise now it's a marketing book/selfhelp book. That makes a real difference in how to present it in a store. IMO, this cover won't stand out and will only confuse people. You have symoblism in there, you have different backgrounds and backstories intwining eachother....it's too much information.

    The potential reader of this book has to know a couple of things:
    - what type of book it is (genre)
    - what kind of info is inside (how will it help me?)
    - author (why can i trust this guy?)

    It's more effective to have, say a solid black bg with only the title and the authors name, then other information. ATM, the symbolism will make it harder for someone in a store to place this book (what type is it, looks a bit like a thriller/crimestory); the only info on what the content is, is the subtitle which is pretty small; and i have no idea what the credentials of Joshua Minton are (he has a bfa-title and the school he went to is old and settled; he has published stuff before, flaunt it). This guy has a positive message, but the dark picture kinda undermines it.

    So my advice is: keep it simple, rethink this concept. Use more words and less art. Cos the art would look great as an individual painting, but imo it doesn't support the message the book/content is sending out. I know you worked on this hard and very long, but i think you kinda lost the intent of the picture in the process.

    I hope I haven't been too harsh in my critique, since that is not my intent. Interested in the update, hope to see it soon.

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    For me the part that bothers me as a designer is the whole layout. The font is not helping. Maybe in a early 80's book, but not now. You are making a statement in that title, so you need something strong. That blue bar behind the subtitle is dividing your composition too. The diagonal "the" looks forced and the use of drop shadows is not necesary. I sugest that before start a book cover get informed about layout and compossition to better know whats happening in the graphic design world. Be careful when using those saturated colors, because they not always print that good. The palette is very basic and craves for complexity. Maybe it need more colors farther from the primaries. Gotta work the stones, he looks like he's coming out of a corn flakes bowl.

    Hope that helped to improve and not to dicourage.

    Looking for commisions or full time job big time!
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    Smile

    I love the art work but I rally dont think that it supports the premise of the book very well. It certainly seems to support the title but has nothing to do with technology or communication or evening marketing.
    From a graphic design point of veiw I would knock ou the background alltogether to try to create alittle more negative space. It looks more like an old crime comic than an informational self help type book. If you decide to stick with this image scale it down a little with out the backround and rather than render the rocs just show the highlights of a few to indicate that they are there and let the outline of where the figure emerges from them do the rest you dont need the moon at all. This will give you more space to get a little more creative with the type wich is the oly thing that needs to be truly reworked.

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  14. #13
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    Cookiedough-This book would probably be in the computer/business section of a book store. It looks like it should be possibly a sci-fi book, but honestly not all book covers look as though they fit the genre they represent. (i.e. I worked in a book store for a year and a half and at times found it hard to guess what a certain book would be labeled under)

    The fact is, the cover is done. I'd like to do more to it but the Author is very happy with it and wants to get it printed up. If he does a second run I will consider revamping what I have here and seeing what I come up with.

    I agree that the image is pretty dark, however it definitely could have been darker.

    I really do appreciate your help. It will come in handy if I get the chance to pick it up again. I just got to the point where I had to say ,"I'm done." But there just comes a point when you have to move on.

    mindfields-I think the hardest thing to do is take into account everyone's opinions and come to my own conclusion. Like I said above, I could have kept tweaking it till the cows come home but that just wasn't possible with a deadline coming up.

    I definitely see where you are coming from. Honestly, I wasn't completely happy with the end result. I am trying my best to learn to color digitally but coming from a more traditional bkgd the difference is extroadinary.

    I do try to keep up on what's going on, research is many times what I spend my time doing. Thanks for the pointers. Thanks!
    ~Chris

    J. Christopher Schmidt
    Comic Book Artist / Illustrator
    www.artisticschmidt.net
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    Wink

    StephenMReed-First off, thank you. I know that the feel of the cover could have been more geared towards the computer generation/ technology, etc. I agree.

    Knocking out the bkgd is an idea I wouldn't have thought of. If I redo the cover I will definitely consider this. I like the rock idea also! If the bkgd goes so will the moon. And believe me, the type would be different.

    I'd like to make the whole thing have more of a futuristic feel to it also. We'll see if I get the chance.

    Much appreciated, Chris

    J. Christopher Schmidt
    Comic Book Artist / Illustrator
    www.artisticschmidt.net
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