I went down a rabbit hole recently. A Canva book cover design rabbit hole. I’ve decided that I want to self-publish my second manuscript (for a few reasons I’ll chat about in another post some time), and I was goofing around with covers. I played around with some of the templates, and then I went rogue. (Well, as rogue as one can with a free account.)
I follow this wonderful artist on Instagram, Pascal Campion, and back in December of this last year, he posted a drawing of his that at first glance I thought – that’s Lucy and Ciro! (Lucy is the main character of the book, and Ciro is her little brother.) I know there is no way I could afford to use this image, though – assuming he’d even be open to it.
As I continued to reimagine the cover, I still had this view of a wrap around, dark blue sky filled with stars. This one specifically comes from an edited template – me just trying to get my feet wet. I liked the colors…the concept not so much. I tried a few things with this background, but I couldn’t get anything to work the way I wanted. (This will come back around.)
This was a random sharp right curve away from my original idea because I was so frustrated and just needed to try something different. I didn’t hate it – I like the simplicity of it. But I was frustrated that I couldn’t really edit the silhouettes of the figures. It would require me creating brand new ones. So I moved on.
Then I stumbled upon this image, and I liked it. I liked the colors, I liked the figure, I liked the stance, and I liked the lights (though I wish I could erase the string between them to give the lights a bit more of a firefly feel (which play a prominent part in the story). But no go. I’d have to recreate it, which wasn’t the easiest thing to attempt.
But I did attempt it. [face palm] I ended up recreating the gradient using the highly sophisticated design program called PowerPoint. Maybe you’ve heard of it. [strained smile] Use what you got, am I right? I toned down the brightness of the colors a bit, and then I went on a looooong search for a figure to come even remotely close to the original image. No go. Also, every single firefly feature is part of the pro/paid Canva (I’m not saying they don’t deserve money – just that I’m not at a point where the money is worth it – I’m just goofing around). Then I saw this figure – the young woman on a swing (there’s another important story of her on a swing as a kid). Then I started playing around with stars and yellow glows and on and on and on. I still wasn’t fully happy with the background, so I swapped it with the stars again.
Like I said, I came back to them. [another face palm] I still couldn’t get it to be what I saw in my head (going to need access to a professional design program for that, which I don’t have on my laptop at home). I went to make one more attempt, another attempt, and so I deleted the background…and then I froze.
I’m not ready to reveal the cover just yet. It needs some finessing. But I’m laughing at myself because I stumbled across it on a whim. I’ll have to recreate the entire thing in a better program, but for now, I know what it will look like.
Overall, this was a fun exercise. (There are even a few other designs I created that I didn’t share here.) But now I need someone to come and take Canva away from me…