Cover Design Showcase With Aidana WillowRaven

Sunday, 7 February 2016
Today's book cover design showcase takes a look at the work of Aidana Willowraven, a tradigital artist. Take a look ...

These first two book covers are part of a series, so should be displayed together. They were initially created in a 3D program called Daz, then the renders were pulled into Photoshop for overpainting and enhancements. 

For The Orb, the figure was first created as a nude, then a clothed version was layered on top of it. The rips and tears were cut out of the clothes to show the skin beneath. Painted enhancements furthered the illusion. Cuts and blood splatter came next, and finally, softening and glow effects. 

A similar process was used for The Lure; first nude, then 'stone' body, etc. Now for design/ typography. Finding it important that art and typography worked together as a complete visual, a font that was both circular/curvy (to compliment her curves and rounded elements in the environment, like the boulder or lilypads) and blade-like at the same time (to compliment the sword, banners, and grasses) was chosen. It's called Roman Uncial Modern regular. 
The next cover, Blood and Steel, was an exceptional challenge. With only one element in the scene, there was absolutely no room for error; nothing to distract the eye from flaws. Also, working with a flat black ground can also go wrong real fast if not careful. The metal rose, blood pool, and reflection were created in Daz; using a single spotlight. Then the render was pulled into Photoshop to paint in the 'bleeding' aspects and enhance the visual with contrast and glow effects. Since half of the cover was text, and the title is an art element, itself, The chosen font (Lombardic for Blood and most of Steel) strategically layered and styled to represent what the words were describing; blood and steel. The 't' in steel was omitted to allow room for a cross that's been molded to be a vampire stake, as well. It, too, was created in Daz, then textured in Photoshop and placed in its space. A sequel is in the works.
For the Sword Masters Of Mars cover, a more traditional sci-fi look was wanted even though the figures and environment were also created in Daz. The book is a spin-off series of the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
To get more of a drawn and painted effect, the render was literally drawn and painted over in Photoshop. The colors were brightened and enhanced, then an overall softening and some glow for more of an old-school cover feel. As inspiration and guidance of the desired look, research of all of the previous covers and art by art greats, Roy G. Krenkel, Frank Frazetta, and Michael Whelan. Of course, it still had to look like a WillowRaven cover, too.

Short Artist's Bio: Aidana WillowRaven, tradigital artist (hybrid artist who combines traditional training and techniques with digital tools and applications) and mother of three, trained in Fine Art, Studio Design, and Animation at NSU and ODU. WillowRaven works with traditional publishers, as well as, independent authors from her home in Memphis, Tennesse. More of her work can be seen at, She can be reached via live chat on her website, her contact page, or on Twitter (@WillowRaven).

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