Creating fantasy and science fiction covers for my stories is really a bear. Finding the right collection of images to manipulate into a genre specific cover sometimes feels like an useless quest. Lots of modern day images to choose from, especially when it comes to people, but try to find them in clothes from former ages, or the future. If there are some, they just aren’t right at all, being too comical, too modern appearing, too background busy to be useful.
That’s why when I find an image it’s always a celebration. That happened this morning. At least four times I’ve tried to finish the cover for my new short story An Angry Mountain and came away empty. None of the ideas worked, none of the combined images called to me at all once they were assembled into the cover. Really, some truly terrible constructs I’d be embarrassed to represent one of my stories. With a release date of next Tuesday I was getting desperate for anything that would work.
The new story is a continuation of legendary hero Skar Doorishmurk and his Alfr companion Tywynn as they seek to return to Skar’s village in the mountains of Worldheart. I wanted a colorful mountain in the scene and since it’s told from Tywynn’s POV, I really wanted an image of a delicate female with a bow. I looked, and looked, trying various search combinations but coming up with zilch.
And then I saw an image that might work if I forgot the mountain part. A woman in a cape and holding a bow against a stone backdrop like a castle wall. With some work I was pretty sure I could make it appear more cavelike than what is represented. When I clicked on it to view in greater detail it looked even better. And then I spotted the one. Among the other similar photos was the same woman shown in a Michael Whelan styled pose. It was perfect for what I had in mind. I licensed it at once.
Within a short time I had my cover as you can see to the right after using Acorn to filter and composition the two images together. I think it represents the story and Tywynn pretty well, don’t you? I love the colors too.
And the photographer, Sundraw, has some other useful images as well. Very nice!