Cover Story – Bastard’s Brew

Since the release of Bastard’s Brew people have been asking me about the cover. I thought I’d address it here.

The cover was designed by me and my sister Sherrian. I got a crash course in graphic design while working at Disney when I lived out in Los Angeles. I started doing basic clean ups on their presentation slides, adding box covers, drop shadows, resizing and that sort of thing. Like I said it was very basic but paid really well. With my limited skills I was making a good living. I heard that the pros were making crazy amount of money just by working twice a year, so naturally I wanted to do that. It’s not like I sold out for money, I genuinely had an interest in graphic design so I enrolled in a couple of online graphic design and Photoshop courses with Santa Monica College.

Paint splat and colors

My first graphic design gig outside of Disney was designing a brochure for American Film Institute (AFI). After that I was lucky enough to join the design team for Caesars Palace and Bally’s for a weekend gig. I learned a lot and failed miserably. It made me realize how much I still didn’t know. During my downtime from Disney, I would hit the library to learn everything I could about graphic design, from colors schemes to font types to placement. I remember getting up early and walking to the library about 2 miles away and spending 8 hours there. I would bring my lunch and water and I work at it.

Not everything I do graphically is fantastic or even fit for human eyes, but once in a while I do something that can be fairly passable or I’m a little proud of.

I like the cover for Brew but I like Siblings cover more which was designed by my sister, Sherrian and cousin Kendell Clarke.

Outline of a face with text flying out of the mouth

Cover design by Sherrian Felix. Illustration by Kendell Clarke

The Process

I had no idea what I wanted the cover to look like. I know I didn’t want any nudity or revealing body parts. I like simple covers think 50 Shades of Grey or Fahrenheit 451. 

The series has a bit of mystery to them and this book took on more of a dark undertone, so I figured the cover should reflect that. When I was brainstorming I had a vision of a dark male figure walking away from light. Below is the mock up cover.

Bastard's Brew cover mockup

My sister came up with the concept for the first two books and also the idea of using silhouettes. Since we don’t have a lot of money to invest in exclusive images, silhouettes are a great alternative. Sure I could pay for stock photos, but I’ve seen lots of book covers using the same images, actors or poses. I want my covers to be original, out of the box or different from what’s out there.

I was out on a hike one Saturday, when I noticed huge, dark, angry clouds devouring the mountains behind me. It was beautiful and scary all at the same, I couldn’t take my eyes off it, so I took a picture with my dumb phone (it amazes me the great photos I get from that phone). I had no idea the photo would end up on my book cover.

Dark clouds used in Brew Cover

Taken with my dumb phone

The resolution of the book has to be high, so we had to get creative and photomerge. My sister then added a dark hue to make the clouds darker and more mean looking. Then I went about looking for my bastard. He was a bit tricky, because of the resolution his edges were very jagged, so we had to sort of take him apart and put him together in pieces. The result is what you see below.

Bastard's Brew Book cover

 

I was a bit nervous to see what the hardcopy would look like and if Createspace would accept it with no issues. Would you believe this is the first cover I’ve submitted to them without any errors? Take a look at what the proof looked like.

Bastard's Brew cover hard copy

To learn more about Bastard’s Brew click here.

 

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