I’ve been discussing covers, and I am supposed to be posting the final parts – “How to Make a Pesky Back Cover”, however, I’ve changed my mind. I had some questions on the wordpress blog, so I’ve decided to actually do some short tutorials on making the cover – using the three programs I mentioned: Paint brush, gimp, and Paint Shop Pro
We’re going to attempt to make the same basic cover in each program. Though, you’ll see that it won’t look identical, still, the idea is there.
If you want to follow along, you can get our sample photo here:
(Yes, we are doing this in miniature because it’s easier to work with. For an eBook, this will be good enough. However, for a print book, you will need to use a larger image size and make a larger cover – about double this at least, or else it will turn out blocky when it prints. Also of note, we are NOT worried about the 6×9 cover size because, again, this is for an ebook where it won’t matter. If you are making a print cover, you’re going to want to start with a picture that is already 6 x 9 inches!! To get an idea of the image size you would need for a 6 x 9 print book, you can download this handy dandy front cover template I made.
You can use it if you’d like – that’s why I do this stuff – but of note is that all IMPORTANT information should be INSIDE the red lines. Anything that bleeds into the red might get chopped off when the book is printed.)
Step one is to open your picture in the program:
Choose the rectangle tool and make sure the last option is chosen (aka background color only).
Make sure you have black set as your background color:
You do this by RIGHT CLICKING on the black in the color pallet (A.)
Now, draw a rectangle across the top of the picture by clicking, dragging, and releasing:
Do the same thing along the sides. As you go you will need to scroll down and do it in small pieces.
To keep it lined up, start from the edge and pull your box towards the center. Release the mouse ONLY when the line is even with the one above it. If you need to, there is an Undo button, but there are only THREE undos.
When you get to the opposite side, you can either use a ruler or get a piece of paper and put it against the monitor. Now, make a mark on either side of your black border. Move the paper so that it overlaps your screen and the marks line up with the other side of the cover, then use this as a guide. You can also use your finger, an ink pen, whatever you have handy – or just eyeball it:
If you look closely, you will see that I have accidentally neglected to go all the way to the edge of the picture. If this happens to you, just draw another rectangle up the edge, careful to keep it from overlapping.
When lining up the “pieces”, you can use the zoom feature for more precise work by going to View – Zoom – Large Size:
When your borders are done go back to the bottom and make it thicker than the other three sides:
Now SAVE – under file, name it cover. PNG do NOT save as a JPG!! JPG’s have lossy compression, aka they LOOSE information when they save it, and that’s what makes all those hideous fuzzy things you see on a lot of web images:
Now, let’s do our type. Go to the Alphabet tool – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND SELECTED! (The bottom box):
Now draw a text box across the top (note, where you put the text box is where the words will show up, so put it where you want it!!)
Now choose your font face (here I’m using Vivaldi), size (90 – I got this by TYPING 90 into the box and hitting the enter key) and whether you want it Bold, Italics, etc.
Also remember to choose your color (I’m using white):
Now, click inside that text box you made and type in your title (in this case Winter’s Chill)
If you need to center it, or what not, then you can use spaces to do so.
When you’re happy with it, just click somewhere else and it will be applied automatically.
Now for the author name and tag line.
Scroll to the bottom and choose the alphabet tool/colors again.
Draw a text box and pick a suitable font – in a smaller size (I went with Garamond, size 50 – again, I typed that number into the text box next to size)
Type in your name and use spaces to center it:
Now let’s do the same thing for a tag line “Once you feel its kiss, you’ll never be the same…” Only, we will make it italic to make it look a little different.
And let’s add another one at the top for fun – do it the same way you did the others, using the spaces to center it:
Lookin’ good, but I like squares, so, let’s add a nice emphasis frame. Since we want the title to be the thing that pops out, use the eyedropper to choose a color from the picture – put the eyedropper in the location of the color you want and click it once:
Now, choose the line tool, and the desired line thickness:
To use the line tool click where you want the line to START and DO NOT LET GO until you have dragged the line where you want it to END:
Your line will automatically straighten as you move it around. If your line ends up crooked then hit UNDO and start it over again. Once it’s done – and straight – we’re going to “cheat” – select the selection box tool
Now draw a box around our line, making it as slender as possible, and also making sure to NOT have black at the top and bottom aka:
As you see, it pastes is right against the edge, but that’s okay. So long as the dotty line is around it, and we’re on the selection tool, we can move it where we want it. So, scroll up and put it where you want it, then click off of it.
Now paste the line in on the other side – make it as close to that side as you can get. But don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, we can fix it.
Now, select the line drawing tool, and draw a line from one side to the other, where you want your frame to end:
We’ll fix this later. Meanwhile do the same thing at the top
Now, to fix this. Pick the paint brush tool:
Make sure your color is black in the pallet and then zoom in on that large size and use the brush to clean up the stray lines:
Zoom back to normal size and save!
And, you’re done:
Pretty easy, huh? Of course, there is the size issues with paint brush, so I really don’t recommend it for making print covers, but for an E-book it will work perfectly. If, however, you want to use paint brush to make your print cover, start by opening TWO paint brushes. In one, open the book cover template, and in the other open the picture you want to use on your book cover (remember it needs to be BIG!) then copy it and paste it ON TOP of the template, and go from there. As I said, it can be done, but it’s hard to see much of the cover at once.
I should be posting the gimp version tomorrow, so stay tuned!