Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Post: Cover Artist Dara England

Hello all. When Kimber invited me to do a guest blog today I immediately knew what I wanted to talk about. So many people—especially Facebook friends—message me with questions about cover art and how someone interested in it can get into designing book covers. So that’s what I’m going to talk about today. Book cover design.

First off I should say that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body when it comes to things like painting or drawing. But that’s what’s so fun about photo manipulation. It gives those of us who aren’t great at other mediums a go at expressing our artistic side in a different way.
Here’s how to get started. Or rather, how I got started; there’s not really any one right way to do it.
1. I downloaded a free program I’d heard about called GIMP (you can find it with a quick Google).
2. I went to Dreamstime  and  iStockPhoto and purchased some nice royalty free images (high resolution, 300 dpi).
3. I spent a few months playing with GIMP and learning how to use it (there are helpful tutorials on the GIMP website).
4. I started emailing various e-publishers and small presses I knew of, sending them sample covers I’d worked up and asking for work. Surprisingly, a lot of them said ‘yes ‘.
From there on out, word spread until I started having publishers and authors emailing me, offering work. Facebook is a great help with that and I recommend it as an awesome way to meet people in the publishing industry. I’d say 90 % of the projects I take on these days come to me via people I’ve networked with on FB.
So get out there and start designing! : )
--Dara E.
Want to know more about my work? Visit my design site at: My Cover Art or drop by my author site at: Carol Green


Samantha Gail said...

Yeah, Dara! We love your book covers:)

Robert C Roman said...

I for one LOVE Dara's covers. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for Christmas Evening Vigil. :-)

Maureen said...

I love my cover, Dara! Thank you and keep up the good work!

Pat Kirby said...

"First off I should say that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body when it comes to things like painting or drawing."

You do, however, have a strong grasp of basic design principles: composition, layout, contrast, etc. Judging from the quality of covers from some small presses (awful), it seems like nowadays anyone with a copy of Photoshop (or GIMP), and some stock photos "thinks" they can design covers. (And don't get me started on Poser-generated covers, ugh.) But many so-called designers don't know the first thing about "design."

Your covers are great. (But I am a little biased.)

Kimber An said...

I was floored when I first received my cover art for Sugar Rush. She made total and pertinent and beautiful sense out of my story's imagary.

Thanks to everyone for popping in!

Kate Richards said...

I have four of your covers so far...and I love each of them more than the one before. Thanks Dara!

The Sweater Curse said...

Thanks Dara. It was interesting to discover how you started. I too am delighted that my books are wrapped in your cover art. : )

Deena said...

Dara, I must say, that to your list of credits we have to add MINDREADER! You really nailed the cover of Trinity for me and have sent many a woman swooning with your expert ways of photo manipulation. Keep up the awesome work. Lordy, but I can't wait to see what you'll do with the next book in this series... :)

ursula sinclair said...

Hi Dara,

Great post. You're a fantastic cover artist and I think the cover you designed for me for White Wedding from Decadent Publishing is one of my favorites. I hope you can design more of my covers.