Designing a Book Cover: Conclusion

Welcome to the 7th and final installment of Ashley Ruggirello’s guest post series on cover design.

For those just joining us, meet Ashley, Creative Director/Founder of REUTS Publications, and owner of freelance design company, Cardboard Monet. She’s been sharing her design expertise, taking us through the process behind designing a book cover. From inception to finished product, she’s illustrated the collaborative steps authors and designers go through, using my nemesis WIP as the guinea pig. And today, we’ve reached the end.

Know what that means? That’s right, next week I’ll be revealing the announcement I’ve been teasing you with since the beginning. I’m pretty excited about it, and hope you will be too. So follow along as Ashley walks you through the finishing touches on Unmoving‘s design and get ready for next week’s surprise! 😉

Chapter 7: Unmoving Tutorial Finale


By Ashley Ruggirello

The end is near. We’ve entered the closing chapter of our Book Cover Art Series! We started the series with an idea, something abstract and intangible. After playing around with that idea, and different forms of representation, the final cover was revealed. And, if you’re interested in how the cover was created, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 have documented that process. But now, the time has come to put the finishing touches on the Unmoving cover, and close the book on the wonderful journey we’ve taken together.

Last, but not least . . . the necklace.

Picking up from last week:
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 7.17.54 PM

And again, the basic design elements



Part III: Step-By-Step Tutorial for the Unmoving Book Cover

Open the Necklace inspiration image in a new browser tab. You don’t need to pull it into Photoshop, just have it easily accessible to reference. In a new layer, above all the background/bench layers, zoom in and draw with the brush tool (“B” on your keyboard to bring it up). It doesn’t matter what color you use, but remember to keep the brush sharp:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.31.17 PM
Before I show how it looks on my screen, we’ll have to add some FX to the necklace base. Remember the button? Make sure you have the necklace layer selected, and from the toolbar at the bottom of your layer window, click the FX icon and select “Drop Shadow”: (We’ll start with Drop Shadow, but we’ll be adding a couple different effects in one swoop.)
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 6.40.00 PM
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 7.09.34 PM
This’ll open the effects window, where you can change the Distance to “3″, Spread to “0″, Size to “38″ and Angle to “150″:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.35.01 PM
Then, from the left-hand column, click “Outer Glow” (as you see from the above screen shot). You’ll change these options to Blend Mode of “Hard Light”, Opacity of “100%”, Spread to “29%”, Size to “90px”, Range to “50%” and Color to “#c0c9cc” :
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.36.02 PM
Then hit OK. And, while keeping that layer selected, set it to Multiply, Opacity “48%” and Fill “0%”:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.37.35 PM
It should look something like this (zoomed in):
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.39.05 PM
Duplicate the layer by either clicking CTRL/command + J or right-clicking the layer and selecting Duplicate Layer:
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 6.36.22 PM
On your new layer, open up the FX window again. You’ll notice the previous effects have already been applied to this duplicate layer:
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 6.40.00 PM
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 7.09.34 PM
We’ll be adding a Gradient Overlay, so select that option from the left side bar. Set Blend Mode to “Mulitply”, Opacity to “100%”, Style to “Linear”, and Angle to “90”:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.42.26 PM
The gradient colors themselves look like this:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.44.01 PM
From left to right the colors are “#262626”, “#575757”, “#8a8a8a” and “#262626”. Hit OK and OK, then look back at your layer. Make sure you change your layer Opacity to “87%” and you should see something like this:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.47.59 PM
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.45.33 PM
In a new layer below the necklace, using a soft-edged brush with a black color (#000000), add a slight drop shadow to the bottom edge of the necklace:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.50.46 PM
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.49.46 PM
I want to apologize for this next step, which I forgot to document: the gem image and coloring. For this, you can either play around and come up with your own gem, or use the following image (taken directly from my design file) and add it as a new layer below your necklace, but above the drop shadow layer:
With the gem in place, you should have something that looks like this:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.54.28 PM
Zooming back out, the last thing we need to add is the chain. Zooming out allows you to better see how it’ll fall off the bench in relation to the design as a whole. This step was as simple as using the brush tool with a hard brush to draw out a chain:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.57.57 PM
To add a little bit of realism, we’ll add a Gradient Overlay to the layer, so open the FX and select Gradient Overlay:
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 6.40.00 PM
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.59.32 PM
Set your options to Blend Mode at “Normal”, Opacity at “100%”, Style to “Linear” and Angle to “90%”:
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.59.55 PM
With the gradient colors from left to right at “#262626”, “#575757”, “#000000” and “#262626”.
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 8.01.44 PM
Hit OK and OK one final time, and you’re done! Take a moment to bask in your new cover, and the new techniques, tips and tricks you’ve learned.
Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.19.12 PM
Thank you for participating and following our Book Cover Art Series! REUTS would love to showcase the work you come up with based on our series, so email them to, and we’ll display them on our blog! Happy designing, reading and writing!


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