Saturday, May 4, 2013

Introducing Saurimonde... the Painting by Michele Bigler



Saurimonde by Michele Bigler, 2013

As I write this, the Sunshine soundtrack plays in my ears mixed with the sounds of chirping birds, leafblowers, and planes far overhead. The sun shines brightly warming my skin while I sit on my porch contemplating Saurimonde's cover that I just sent to Scarlett for review. We're so close. Just a few more tweaks. But something is still off...

I lift my face to the sky and a wild humming bird suddenly appears as if out of nowhere hovering over my recently blossomed basil plant (an omen?) and it feels like only yesterday that we began discussing a cover yet at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago. Time is funny that way...

When we first started talking book covers, there was one thing we knew for certain, we wanted it to have an organic feel to it more like a painting rather than straight graphic design and we both wanted original artwork. Scarlett mentioned that a friend of hers, Michele, was a painter and that I should check out her stuff on Facebook. So I clicked on Michele’s album and immediately agreed she was the one.

Sketch of Saurimonde

Michele sent us a handful of sketches, we chose our favorite, then we got our first scan of Saurimonde and she was perfect. Or so we thought until we realized there may be some censorship issues... So we toyed with a few ideas but ultimately decided the best thing would be for Michele to paint in some jewelry to cover up the "offending" nipple (and hopefully that will be the end of that and this cover will pass - as of right now we don’t know yet). I thought the repaint was expertly done and the necklace exquisite (I kinda want one like it in real life).

Saurimonde with Necklace

Now if only we could have left the cover as is, but we had to add text and make it fit certain guidelines... Thankfully, Scarlett and I have experience with book cover design. Independently, I’ve been doing graphic design for over a decade, then I met Scarlett in 2008 and since we’ve designed multiple websites, posters, and book covers together. Scarlett is excellent at envisioning striking visuals and I use the tools at my disposal to help turn those visions into reality as best I can. It’s not always easy - what you see in your head doesn’t always work on paper or screen, but patience and taking risks are key.

In The Now by Melissa St. Hilaire;
I needed a book cover but was struggling with ideas,
Scarlett mentioned a scene in the book saying it might make  for a good visual,
that gave me direction for the rest of the cover as above.

L'Autre Monde un film de Richard Stanley;
Of all the designs I've worked on, the above poster is one of my favorites.
Richard, Scarlett, & I worked tirelessly on it.

To make the actual cover, we had to lay in text, which means choosing the right font(s) and color(s), as well as creating a back cover with space for a summary and barcode. Additionally, all the elements should flow and have balance.

Scarlett scoured the internet for possible fonts while I read countless articles and blogs on choosing fonts for book covers. We perused various novel covers, choosing ones with elements we liked, as well as a multitude of imagery from myriad sources. We finally settled on a rich golden design for the back that wraps around the spine and front cover framing Michele’s painting.

Back Cover & Spine with Blurb in Garamond

After a few trials and errors, we agreed on a combination of Trajan and Allura for the fonts.* Trajan is a fairly common book cover font and it’s easy to see why - it’s simple yet elegant and is easy to read as a thumbnail without getting too blocky full size, while Allura’s more free flowing style nicely compliments the more formal Trajan. (*With the back cover blurb in Garamond for easy readability.)

Front Cover & Spine with Trajan & Allura fonts

Lastly we needed a color palette. We decided upon using Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, as we had already chosen a couple coinciding colors and, seriously, what better inspiration for a romance cover than the birth of the goddess of love and beauty?

The Birth of Venus (Italian: Nascita di Venere) by Sandro Botticelli, 1486

Melissa S.
Los Angeles, May 1st, 2013