135L makes a Book Cover

Started Dec 3, 2007 | Discussions
genrxr Regular Member • Posts: 430
135L makes a Book Cover

A friend recently finished her first book. It is a book designed for teachers to school children in manners and her first cover was a basic stock cover provided by the publisher, Lulu. Pretty basic and used mainly to get copies to send out for proofing.

She then had the art director of a well known Dallas design firm "give her a favor" by designing a professional cover. Of course the favor was charged in dollars and although it looked more professional than the stock photo, is this something which you would see in a children's classroom?

My thought was it belongs in the office of a fortune 500 company or on Zig Zigler's speaking tour. The book is not meant to be read by children, yet the focus is on children and the teachers instruction of manners.

Do you ever really stick your foot in the mouth? Not literally, yet what I said next qualified figuratively. "Jeannie, that book cover sucks and I could design a much better one." "Really? Oh thank you very much, I am not happy with it either," she replied. Duh.

The following two weeks she asked how the cover was coming along and my reply was "fine, I am creating it in my mind." I was thinking of how best to convey either a rocket ship blasting into air with a "soar" theme or a sailboat and water in a "sailing" theme. Sailing through life seemed so cliche, yet in regards to manners it is true. A young person who knows, understands and acts with manners will make it through life easier than one without. Sailing it is.

How to make something really unique though? My next idea was use 2d paper and make it look 3d, similar to the Southpark look, only use real paper and not create it digitally. Utilizing the depth of field relationship between large aperture, long focal length and short distance to focal point, I could create blurring behind the sail boat and thus enhance the 3 dimensional look. I also decided to purchase high grade construction paper with vibrant colors, to make a sunset. I was thinking of the sailors saying "red skies at night are a sailor’s delight." I searched the web for something on this, yet found nothing. Following are some of the pictures, taken during the creation of the book cover and hopefully, it will help someone in their creation. It was a blast making the diorama, photographing and finally putting the cover with text together.

All the pictures can be viewed here. http://www.photo.darrellnece.com/p631854466/

The Following picture shows top-down view of spacing between paper objects. The sail boat was placed about 6" in front of the sun.

My truck was recently broken into and the thieves made off with a tripod so I had to improvise.

The following picture shows what the picture looks like straight out of camera at F-8. Notice how there is not very much blurring in the background?

This picture shows the 3d look after opening up the aperture on my Canon 135mm lens to 2.0. It has also had saturation levels increased, unsharp mask applied and brightness and contrast adjusted. I then added some additional space on the top to accommodate the title.

This is the final product. 50 dollars in material and 12 hours of my time versus the 10-20k a design firm would charge for something similar. Although done just for fun, I feel confident this cover can hold it's own against any design firms work.

For larger image,

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yongbo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,612
Re: 135L makes a Book Cover

Photo Gallery: http://www.photo96.com/
Blog: http://www.photo96.com/blog/index.php

bigufe Regular Member • Posts: 283
Re: beautiful work, thanks for sharing


Teris Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: beautiful work, thanks for sharing

Great job! I much prefer it to the other designs.

Robphoto Regular Member • Posts: 474
Pure awesomeness

Very nice work, you really blew the others out of the water!

007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 12,903
I love seeing DIY (do it yourself) photo, what kind of lighting is that?

What kind of lighting is that. They look like affordable Home Depot type of lighting, rather than the expensive photographic equipment, right?
I love reading DIY (do it yourself) photographic technique. Good Jobs.
FANBOY(i)sm is a NEUROSIS, Get Help!

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90c4 Contributing Member • Posts: 561
Re: 135L makes a Book Cover

Well done!

Hatch Regular Member • Posts: 380
Re: 135L makes a Book Cover

Very creative! You will have to update the thread and let us know how she liked it. I'm betting she will love it. Much better than the first two covers. Well done!


OP genrxr Regular Member • Posts: 430
Thank you everyone!

Robphoto wrote:

Very nice work, you really blew the others out of the water!

Rob, it was Home Depot work lights. They are around 10-15.00 each.

Thank you everyone for the kind comments!

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Phil Flash Veteran Member • Posts: 4,325
Cool -- you understood the assignment!

You clearly took into account the creative objectives and the target audience.

The one with the photo of the actual (real) sailboat was just sad and bland. The blocks really didn't have much to do with anything other than saying "It's for kids".

Very inventive.

I dig the "tripod", too.
Phil Flash

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the_wrench Regular Member • Posts: 171

It is amazing to see all those miscellaneous, inexpensive parts come together in such a great design. You must have a great vision.

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KENTGA Veteran Member • Posts: 7,876
Re: Wow!

Thanks for sharing with us.

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ThaQuest Senior Member • Posts: 1,376
nice work

very impressive!

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mmcloone Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: nice work

That is a much more powerful cover...I love it! great job.

hhski Senior Member • Posts: 1,295
Re: 135L makes a Book Cover

What a friend. What talent. Thanks for sharing this.

shaktipalooza Senior Member • Posts: 1,652
You crushed the competition

I want friends like you! Seriously, great work, very inspiring.

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