I wrote Project Green Earth some time ago, but recently, I found myself in the mood to do some updates. At the time this second wave of editing and cover art began, Project Green Earth was the least professionally designed out of all my covers…at least to me. It wasn’t the first on the chopping block, but it was the most anticipated. Below is a sampling of the former cover design…
Granted, it had some factors working for it. However, it lacked a clear unison of styles. The text was difficult to read and the planet was…different. Actually, I used a planet-gen plugin for GIMP that a friend suggested to me. It did the job at the time, but this cover was overdue for an overhaul. I had to change a few things for the next cover…
- The planet had to be alien, but realistic, unlike the former.
- The text had to be clear and done more professionally.
- The new cover had to convey more about the book’s plot
That said, this one needed to be redone completely from scratch. I needed to find a planet first. That was the difficult part. When it came to planets, I had two choices: Use a NASA photograph of something in our solar system or use an artist rendition of an alien planet. The problem with the former was that I ran the risk of it looking too much like mars. The problem with the latter was that I ran the risk of it either appearing too realistic or not having adequate rights to use it.
It turned out, however, that I did find a few planets in the NASA repository that would work out well. This came after I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Flickr.
The above pictures served as materials. I wanted to capture the original placement of the original cover as close as I could. The reasoning for this was twofold…
- I didn’t want to have to re-invent the wheel
- I really just wanted to “Upgrade” the cover as opposed to radically changing it.
It took some heavy work and few hours of sizing, placing and editing before I came to my first official draft. Seen below.
This one definitely looked more realistic than the previous as far as the planet was concerned. The moon-ish planet was a nice addition as well, but there were a few things wrong with this piece. First off, the colors were too thick. I wanted to give the impression of a forest planet, but there were no clouds and I tried to counteract the dilemma with more green color. That wasn’t working well, so it needed toned down.
As well, I noted the page aging near the top of the cover. This was present on the top of the original background image. At first, I tried to edit it down, but after looking at it, I decided that it might actually look nice if I included it. PGE was essentially a B-Movie in terms of plot and theme.
Three major revisions and another hour or two later, I had this…
Out of the bucket and into an eBook cover. Project Green Earth left me feeling good about the improvements.
It wasn’t perfect. I had some misgivings about the font and the planet didn’t scream forest world, but for the resources available, we can keep that our little secret.