Designing GREAT Fantasy & Sci-fi Book Covers!

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A book cover can make or break a book’s success. Let’s talk about the best and worst practices for designing sci-fi/fantasy book covers.
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Daniel Greene says:

The first 1000 people who click the link will get 2 free months of Skillshare Premium: https://skl.sh/danielgreene0820

Oona Virtanen says:

I have one complaint about the Promise of Blood cover… Why isn't the illustration bigger?! It's so detailed and everything, why did they give it only half of the cover?

Tiago D'Agostini says:

As someone that already worked doing book covers (2 times).. it is amazing how people consider your job to be worth nothing. When they ask for a cover work and they think they are going to pay as much as a Lunch at Macdonalds…. it is funny how many authors think that they are the all mighty artistic talent of the world and there is no skill involved as well in illustration.

CarrotVision3D says:

I really like Scribner's dark tower covers.

CarrotVision3D says:

Every Dresdin cover that I can think of has Dresdin looking in your eyes. Is that supposed to mean something?🤔

Matthew LeTexier says:

My general rule for covers is if it has a picture of a real person on it as the only main thing then I probably won't read it

Belyash Draws says:

Is that Ethan Beckers's knife?

Mitzi Bartlett says:

There was a well known cover artist at one of my local conventions that made the comment, "I know it sounds arrogant, but if you've bought a book just by the cover, there's a good chance that it's mine."

Mind you, his behavior during the entire con was pretty laid back, so I doubt he was actually being arrogant.

Nonetheless, a couple of friends got a little miffed at the comment, and went home to dig through their library, pulling out the books they remembered being influenced to buy by the covers.

About 80% of those books had his cover art.

He is one of my favorite artists (which meant I spent most of the convention that I wasn't working trying very hard not to fan-girl), and indeed, one that made a 12-year-old me stop dead in a mall to stare at a display for the latest book by one of my favorite authors, and from then on, truly pay attention to art as a whole.

The book on display was The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey. The artist is Michael Whelan, and he is a master of light and composition.

Martino Guadagnin says:

A couple of months ago I walked into a library and saw a Dracula book, and it had one of the most inapropriate cover I have ever seen. The main visual was a screenshot from a film adaptation of the book and the scene they chosed was DRACULA AND A WOMAN KISSING, as if the book is a romance story. The font they used for the title was some fancy cursive handwriting font, wich I think was not the best choice.
If I didn't know anything about Dracula, I would have never bought that book.

Kia Lazyeyereader says:

the best covers, in my opinion is actually Middle Grade covers… the art is almost always fun to look at… The Potkin and Stubbs trilogy does everything right, not even gonna add "in my opinion" because they just do, The art is something I haven't seen before, while still reminding me of sort of a Noir detective thing, and so does the content, so the cover and story becomes more of a unity than with a lot of books.

Ronja Wittke says:

7:20 : As graphic designer and digital artist I have to say while the art is good the text isn't. Especialy on the spine. The dark, semi-transperent text with a white blur around it really doesn't look good, is different from textblock to textblock and is hard to read from a distance. So the artist did an amazing job, the graphic designer did an ok job.
9:30 : The font also does contribute to them looking like they are from the same series. It's the same font in about the same size (compared to the size of the cover). Also it has an white outline and a shadow in both cases. The samler text is also identical in font and placement.
14:30 : I think if the text was white, yellow or another solid colour it would look better, be less distracting, would be easier to read and could have been smaller.
19:00: I think the text is a tiny bit too close to the dark parts of the painting. If either painting or text, or both would have been a bit smaller they could have avoided them overlapping. Don't get me wrong overlapping is fine, but it has to look deliberately.

Irina CD says:

Big agree with everything mentioned in this video tbh! I recently really liked the cover for Wilder Girls by Rory Power; it's eerie and beautiful and it encompasses the vibe and most important story elements perfectly. I don't think I would have noticed the book if I hadn't happened to see the cover and get so engrossed by it lol

Mio, My Dog says:

The absolutely best book cover in the whole existence is the Latvian edition of "The Name of the Wind". You can't fight me on that. https://www.zvaigzne.lv/images/books/74122/300x0_cover.jpg

Lacey Harvey says:

I like the minimal covers here and there (like, I think the UK editions of Mistborn are just so pretty), but I also don't think they age very well. Like, if I am buying a nice hardcover to be shelf candy (I'll do this with a book I've already read that comes in a really pretty edition), it's fine. But if I'm buying a paperback to carry around with me, I usually don't mind distressing, especially on a more traditional fantasy/sci fi cover. But the minimalist covers just don't look as good with wear and tear, especially when they're dominantly white.

fortyfiveframes says:

The last cover could be so cool but all I could think about was how much I could NOT read the title at first and even second glance. The values of the background and that magenta just make one big mess, and the spine isn't much better either :") I think good readability is vastly underrated sometimes lmao

Federica Rubio Wenk says:

Books are designed. It’s a designer who makes the cover for books

Maizeblu says:

I'm an aspiring writer who is currently working on my first novel (outlining it) and I had an artist who I would pay to make me art for certain things. For example, he made a cover for one of my webnovels and he is really, really good and pretty much able to draw/paint/color anything I want him to. And would definitely be the person I would hire to make a cover for me, if I every actually finish a book and get it published. Unfortunately… he's vanished. I mean, I haven't seen him or received any replies from him on discord for the past two months. I'm hoping that he's not gotten sick from covid. He's someone I actually trust to do my art, so finding another person might be difficult. :/

Thomas Lange says:

One of my favorite video's you have done. I hate how some try to say that covers have no meaning. I will admit that I buy books on A. Recommendation and B. Curb Appeal. I know I am not alone. When I started reading again, I loved some of the covers so much (in that they got me hooked to read the book) that part of my reading hobby became collecting them for display! It is subjective of course, but I am suprised how much it does not get talked about in forums such as yours.

jitterbugbear says:

typography is a big part of the cover's appeal for me, if the font is awful……. i'm not going to pick it up 🤷

Monny Arcade says:

Twilight became popular because of its cover; fight me.

Also the cover which popped for me the most was the original UK Percy Jackson cover. How many kids walk past winged converse?? Such a shame that that style was dropped during the 3rd book's run.

Blitz says:

0/10 thumbnail lied, no dune.

Anrael says:

Yeah GRRM's Feast of Crows and Dance with Dragon are better than most fantasy out there, but they're still 7/10 books, long winded full of an old man's love for the world he created, good for him., He originally meant the series to be three books and if he'd sliced the excess away he could have achieved that, instead we get this situation and these extra books which aren't anywhere near as sharp or interesting as the first three books which have excess in them themselves. These last two books are one shade below Game of Thrones and way behind Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords.
George likes writing the books kinda, and for a long time he said no-one would finish the series but him, I dissuaded him of that saying it wouldn't be fair on his readers.
Let's see what happens maybe the last books will be epic, they will be entirely competent and better than most fiction of any kind out there.

Mashi Maro says:

Haha i did exactly that with the Robin Hobb books: searched for the old edition for the beautiful cover.

Really sad actually for that new edition being so unappealing.. More people should read Robin Hobb.

hannes haasbroek says:

Dresden files orbit covers are my favourite

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