The making of a novel cover

Author Ethan Collins’ next full-length novel comes covered by art having its own story. Image portrayal of “Do Not Mix with Alcohol” started as this sketch of a girl seducing passers-by with the lure of her irresponsibility. Though inspiration for this pose isn’t authorized for release, its written transmission was captured by Scottish artist Ruby McMenemy-Taylor:

Preview sketch of Do Not Mix with Alcohol by Ruby McMenemy-Taylor
Copyright © 2014 ▲Church

But Do Not Mix with Alcohol antagonist Aisha Costello would never be caught guzzling something she abused more for control over her lover than herself- alcohol wasn’t her poison- so Church requested artist McMenemy-Taylor lower that bottle to her lips in order to suggest drinking. Moreover, there had to be reward for following this character’s direction and thus posture that reflected relinquishment of bodily-control as in a relaxed spine was fed-back to the artist:

Do Not Mix with Alcohol by Author Ethan Collins
Copyright © 2014 ▲Church Publishing

Once the artwork was complete, but before that got posted from Scotland, artist Ruby McMenemy-Taylor fulfilled her Church contract by transmitting a photograph of this painting. Note, Aisha Costello’s fate depends upon the perception of her fireman boyfriend yet Church Publishing confirms a girl died in a fire; subtle coloring of the shirt and streaks of soot showing in this photograph are therefore not the result of poor photography- this discoloration is symbolic:

First photograph of Do Not Mix with Alcohol painting
Photograph of “Do Not Mix with Alcohol”

Nevertheless, having washed colors that lacked contrast, Church found the image blurry. And without any idea of what Collins’ cover based on this painting would look like Church contacted an Israeli painter specializing in digital re-touch whose work portrays glamorous women in even more surreal states. Church thinks his preview made her character appear much softer:

Graphic artist's correction of Do Not Mix with Alcohol painting's photograph

Then, in true irony almost worth its own publicity, after taking physical receipt of the painting Do Not Mix with Alcohol commissioned to make this book cover Church couldn’t get it photographed; it worked for seven weeks to get this digital capture! But in the end it got service from imaging professionals who converted this 20″ canvas at 300 dpi into 32 million pixels. Note sharper contrast compared to its first photograph in a file reduced to fit this site:

Do Not Mix with Alcohol painting
Copyright © 2014 ▲Church Publishing

But the character’s portrait wouldn’t be enough for Collins’ book cover which also requires a title and the author’s writing credit. So Church used this image of the painting to design his book cover. First note relocation of the character’s arm so that the glass bottle contacts her closed lips:

Painting prepped for book cover
Copyright © 2014 ▲Church

The first objects added were fireman’s liquor and helmet:

Firewater and fire helmet added to DNMwA book cover

Next Church added backgrounds and author credit text:

Author Ethan Collins added to his book cover

Then Church finally added the bottle label and novel title plus a drop shadow:

Bottle label and novel title added to DNMwA book cover

Objects from the plot were also added after branding the book as published by Church to the image below. But, these cascading images incorrectly depict time; it took more than image merging to make the novel cover. The cover of author Ethan Collins’ next full-length novel took an international agreement to travel across The Atlantic Ocean for delivery to Church. Then, for the painting’s color to be digitally rendered the “D65” profile got imported, and the image underwent painstaking edge alteration, pixel blur, digital effect, text warping, scale, rotation, paint at an equivalent 120 million pixels, light manipulation, and mapping to curve objects. Proportions for the liquor bottle brand above its label got lifted from a real-life sexually-explicit painting then cut, stamped, inverted, scaled, flipped, embossed, and altered. Each part of this cover took anywhere from an hour to one full day in the design studio to create. Yet, without more, click to preview the new cover of “Do Not Mix with Alcohol.” Happy New Year!

Cover of Do Not Mix with Alcohol
“Do Not Mix with Alcohol” by Ethan Collins