The book cover design process

Commissioned as a book cover artist

Probably about 60% of my income comes from working as a book cover artist. The rest tends to come from working as an artist on tabletop games. I’ve now designed nearly one hundred bespoke illustrated book covers over the past ten or so years.

I work as a book cover designer across several genres, with fantasy book covers making up the majority. But I also work making horror, history fiction, science fiction, and steampunk covers.

How to design a book cover

I have a really simple way of working with my author clients. Once we’ve agreed on pricing and deadlines to design a book cover, I have a good chat with them via email or if a video call. We discuss their needs for the cover, and bounce some references images off each other to refine an idea and style. Google image searches for cool inspiration are key at this point, and help an author to describe their characters and places in great detail. I then usually render up a very quick compositional sketch. Blocking in shapes and representative features to make sure that everything needed is on the cover. I check in with the author to ensure we’re on the right track.

Next I work up a black and white version of the cover. Still loose, but enough detail to let the author see the direction of the cover, and the characters etc look correct. Another feedback check with the author and we’re onto the final stage. I add colour and polish and bring the cover to completion.

Making a full wrap book cover

If the author needs a wrap book cover (front, spine and back) I would then take the dimensions to make their printable files, adding blurb, and any other features needed. If they are using a print on demand service like Amazon KDP, Ingram Spark or similar they can provide me a template that the service provides as a download to speed up this process.

More often than not, my authors are still in the editing stage and once the final payment for the art is paid, I leave an open door for them to come back for this formatting stage to ensure their page count and spine width is totally accurate.

steampunk cover art for a steampunk novel by Chloe Taton. Artwork by The Noble Artist. Airship with cogs and victorian vibes
A wrap book cover, with front, spine and rear by The Noble Artist

If you need a book cover designer

If you’re looking for a book cover artist, feel free to snoop through my illustration portfolio or head straight over to contact me for work. You’ll find my email address and some handy forms which guide you through some of the starting info I’ll need to be able to quote for you. Typically I’m booked up a month ahead of time, but do drop me a line if you have anything time sensitive. Sometimes I’m able to move things around in a pinch. Hope to hear from you! In the meantime, stay informed of my new work and availability and sign up for the mailing list.

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I love my job. I’ve always wanted to be an artist working on fantasy settings, creating worlds that give people real escapism and suspend their disbelief. One of the things I love is the interaction with people who are following my work. Hearing comments, and seeing my work make it’s way around the world makes me so happy! So please go ahead, share my posts with people you think would like them. It really helps me to continue to do what I do.

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