Friday, January 15, 2010

How To: Make a "Cover" for your WIP for your BLOG

I received a question from Shannon O'Donnell and Sara McClung. Both asked if I designed the covers for the WIP's you see to the left and if so, how I did it. The answer: yes, I designed them and here's how:

If you don't already have a Photoshop-like program, I know of one you can download for free. It's called GIMP. If you click that link it'll take you to the website. It took me a little while to understand what all the tools did but it wasn't that hard and it was fun experimenting. This is what it looks like when you open the program:


If you go to file and open, you can select a picture from your files. The picture you select can be one you've taken or one that you've used from the Internet. Watch out for copyright laws. From what I understand, you can use a picture of someone else's as long as you give them some credit (like a mention in a blog or in tiny print at the bottom of the photo) and only use it for your own use (don't sell it or anything) However, I think it's much more fun to take the pictures yourself and see what you can come up with, hopefully something that can work with your WIP's ideas and themes.


So here's the picture I took of a place on my family's farm.
The picture you take, should automatically be the right size for the book. it's easier to take a vertical shot, but if you don't, you can add a background color. (It takes a while to explain how that works, but if you want to know, email me and I'll be happy to show you: bkaymattingly@yahoo.com)

Okay, so we have the picture and now it's time to have some fun. I personally like to darken my photos, so I'm going to use the dodge/burn tool to do that. (it's the one that looks like a black ball and stick in the toolbox) Dodge makes the pic lighter and burn makes it darker, you can select which one in the 2nd half of the "toolbox" box. You can also change how dark/light you want it to go with one "stroke" of your mouse. So, once you get it how you like it, it will look something like this:


(hint: save as you go. If you do something you don't like you can use the undo button (hit ctrl z) but, you could accidentally undo something you liked. It's in your best interest to save as you go and then delete the extras once you're finished.)

Now, you can add some stuff to it from other pictures you have taken. I'm going to use 2 pics I found on the web. Open the first pic and use the "free select tool"(one that looks like a lasso) to select the image you want. Copy and Paste it onto the original and adjust the size and direction. Play with it and add more until you're satisfied. I'm going to add a few more in a different color. See this next picture..

Now, I'm going to add some sparkles/fairy dust because what's not wonderfully magical about butterflies?? To do that I'm going to use the paintbrush and adjust the size of the brush in the 2nd half to the tool box. I also darkened the picture a bit more so the sparkles stand out. Here's the finished product: All that remains is to add the title, your name and credit the website.


So, since this is a sample, I'm going to make up a title and put my name on it. (I kinda wish I had a book to fit this to now. Who know's maybe I will eventually. :) Adjust the font style and size to compliment the picture. Again, just play around until you find the one that fits for you. Here's what I came up with for the final look:


In the end, it's all about how much you play around with the tools. Experiment a lot and you can do a lot more than you could have ever imagined. As always, if you have any questions or would like more tips, email me at bkaymattingly@yahoo.com.

If you want your book synopsis and an excerpt to come up when someone clicks on the picture....add your picture as one of the gadgets and you'll see a box that says link on the Blogger Customize page.

Go to Google Docs and create a free account. You can use this program like Word. Once you write it all down, find the button on the right top that says SHARE. Click it and select "get the link to share." A box will pop up with the link. Paste that link into the box on the gadget that says link and you are good to go. (don't forget to tell your followers to click on the picture in the picture comment box) Sign out of everything. Go to your blog, view your awesome pick and click it, your synopsis and query should pop up. Now, you're done.

Let me know if you try it. I want to see what everyone else can come up with!

23 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh that is sooooo cool. I will come back and check those links out!

MeganRebekah said...

I love it!! I'm a photoshop junkie, but haven't spent enough time coming up with something for a preliminary cover. You may have inspired me to put a little effort into it :)

Aubrie said...

I love the picture that you took and what you did with it! I use photoshop myself, but I'll have to check out that free program as well!

Nisa said...

That is so cool! You're so creative!

Bethany Mattingly said...

Thanks gals, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Sarah Forgrave said...

So neat! My former critique partner has a manuscript titled Believing in Butterflies, so this would be a perfect cover for her. :-)

Tamika: said...

Squee! I can't wait to get home from work and play around with this! Thanks Bethany. This will be my weekend project, I think it will motivate me and inspire me to write faster!

Kelly Lyman said...

This is awesome!!! Now I just have to find the time to play around with something like this! I'll most likely be emailing you with questions since I'm not that savvy with stuff such as this...at least getting it on my blog! I have such a problem with the whole gadgets thing.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

OMG that is SO cool!!! I have a similar program, but I like the one you used better... I have to wait for my poor computer to come back from the hospital, but then I'm SO following your steps!!

This is definitely bookmarked :-) Thanks!!!!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

OMG that is awesome! I need to download that now and start playing around (more procrastinating yay). But wow that cover was beyond beautiful, love the butterflies!!!

Amy Tate said...

Aren't you talented!!!! Wow, Bethany! Thanks for the great information. I can't wait to play with this! Have a super weekend.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Sarah, This would be perfect for her. I wish I could think of some way to use it.

Tamika, I hope so! It's a lot of fun to play around with this program :D

Kelly, email me anytime. I'll explain it the best I can. :D

Sarah, :( I hope it comes back soon! I can't imagine having my computer gone for so long.

Frankie, ha ha thanks. I hope you have fun having fun, uh, I mean procrastinating with it. :)

Amy, ha ha thanks. Hope you have a super weekend and have fun playing around with this cool stuff. :)

The Blogger Girlz said...

Wow Bethany! Awesome post! I'm definatly going to try out that website! And I was also wondering: I've seen authors make icons for thier books and put them on their blogs, do you know how to do that?

~Ella

V. S said...

How insanely awesome!!! Thanks for sharing. I will let you know how mine comes out.

Elana Johnson said...

This is amazing! I'm so downloading GIMP right now. I didn't even know it existed! Thanks!

Patti said...

I love your covers, especially the one for broken. I have photoshop, and my husband's a graphic designer so I should be able to do this.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Ella, Do you mean like a "stamp" type mark for them? Like for New Moon a wolf to click or something?

V.S, Yay, I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Elana, You're welcome! I hope you have fun with the program. :)

Patti, Thanks! I'm sure you can and you can get tips from your hubby! Super plus!

Katie Ganshert said...

That. is. Awesome!

Kimberly Conway said...

Wow, you're really creative! I love the Broken cover!

Shelby said...

oh that's awesome! I learned stuff.. the best :)

Eva said...

That is great Advice, what I was doing was not working. I was about to scream....

Great post!

Bethany Mattingly said...

Katie, :D Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Kimberly, Thanks for stopping by my blog! and thank you very much for the compliments :)

Shelby, Great, I love learning and teaching people new stuff :) thanks for commenting and stopping by.

Eva, I used to get so frustrated with working with the program I used to use, and then something just clicked with this one. I'm glad you found it useful :)

KM said...

How awesome! One of my favorite posts ever. Thanks for the tutorial! Now I want to go make covers... :)

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