This past weekend the cover for my next released novel, The Rising has been finalized. I thought I’d share with you some of the final little tweaks we did to it. Big thanks to my brother Byron McConnell for once again pulling all the elements together in Photoshop and making them shine!
The above version had five important design changes. The First was the yellow flame out the back of the top fighter. The second was the new explosion. The third was the canopy glass on the bottom fighter, and the fourth change was the motion blur added to the green fighter and the bottom fighter. The fifth design change was to punch up the brightness of the stars.
In the above version we changed the color of the top fighter’s exhaust back to blue, realizing that the yellow didn’t fit our stated blue and orange color guide and it conflicted with the yellow of the green fighter’s leading edge. The two lower models didn’t have motion blur and looked static to me. Also the canopy glass was not yet applied to the bottom fighter. The explosion in this version was not as dynamic as the first one either. The stars are not as bright in this version and it was determined that when you looked at the cover in smaller sizes, the stars faded away entirely.
For the final version of the cover we merged the best of the above versions into a single version. So now you have the blue flame of the top fighter, the more dynamic explosion and the motion blur of the middle and bottom fighters. The canopy glass on the bottom fighter is reflecting the explosion which makes it more realistic.
Here’s a quick look back at how the cover evolved over time from my original sketch.
My original sketch was inspired by model airplane box cover art from WWII which usually depicted aircraft dog fighting in dramatic fashion. I still had the series banner at the top the same way it appeared on the older coin covers.
Above we see a finished version of the initial sketch. We decided that the title should be on one line and that we didn’t need to keep the series banner.
So I did this format change to make the textual parts more clean. All of the books in the Star Saga would now conform to this template for the cover title, saga title and author name.
I added a third fighter in the foreground to help add interest and show the fighter who shot down the green fighter. Now the battle depicts the good guys winning the engagement. The bottom fighter was eventually swapped out for a better model of the Vicker’s Victory fighter. Actually, both Alliance fighters would eventually be the same newly created plastic version with more details.
You can see what was involved with building the two models used on this cover in the Model Builds section of this blog.