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Horror story book cover.

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I am a writer of horror and fantasy novels.  I've been trying my hand at the graphic design field for a few weeks now.  I was able to take the art from a buddy and turn it into a book cover for my latest project.  Affinity Designer was very easy to work with and I've received several compliments on the layout.  I want to sharpen my skills so I am willing to listen to some criticism from you lovely people.




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Great initiative, I'm curious about the book judging by it's cover.


I think the illustration is very expressive.

The layout and text I think are generally good (position of elements, font size). However, I'd use less visual variations on the page. For example, you chose mutiple text fonts that don't read very well together, and you mixed backgrounds even though you were trying to make them look the same. Also, I'd try to use a more subtle transition between the main title and the image (im referring to the thick black line that to me has too much prominence). Just a final suggestion: maybe find a way to use the blood texture to fill the letters of the title?



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As you have openly invited criticism and already recieved a bit, I thought I might add some of my own (take it for what it is worth and, btw, I am not one of the more 'lovely' people here :rolleyes: )


As a reader of both 'Creepy' and 'Eerie' magazines in my youth, I am a fan of this type of illustrative art for just such a use as yours.  

What I see in this work is exemplary of that period even down to the colours chosen. The same is true of the chosen fonts, although I do agree with what has been already said regarding the number and disparity of the fonts and that three fonts is one too many. Perhaps were the text 'Strange Ingredients' made slightly smaller and moved to the left to allow for the 'Five Horror Stories' text to be positioned to the right of it using these same two fonts (but perhaps even matching the colour and even 'boxing' it in on its own) it could eliminate any 'busy' feeling with the text. Such a box was used at times for the publishing house's logo or name. But that is just an idea to ponder and may not be effectual or to your tastes. I do not, however, see any problem with the black line (and solid colour as opposed to the texture in the main art) separating the title from the art; in fact, such a 'device' was often used in the pulp fiction genre.

As I said, I think that the colours are perfect for this type of book cover illustration and for that 'retro', early '70s period, 'cheap paperback' (if you will excuse the term) feel, but I felt very distracted by the 'apparent' highlight in the red area above and to the left of the head; it drew my attention to that spot repeatedly which is not something I would imagine that you intended. Perhaps the author's name could be positioned to fit on the left shoulder of the figure with only the skin as its background if its current position is not required by the publisher or something. This could also alleviate any tension between the texts while at the same time highlight the author's name even more. The red colour and the 'cracks' seen in the artwork at the top could also 'cross over' into the area where you have the title if you do decide to eliminate the black 'border' line; this was also a widely used 'style' or 'effect' in pulp fiction book covers. These are merely my humble opinions and they may find no one in agreement with them, but I thought I might share them with you.


That being said, I think it appears quite professionally done and remains a wonderful cover for a book of horror stories - it entices me to want to read them.


(Here is what I meant regarding 'a box of its own' in fitting with this genre; albeit in a very, very quick and dirty fashion:)


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Thank you for all the comments!  The next book of horror stories is in the editing process and the art being scribbled up.  I will take your advice into careful consideration when I design the second book cover.

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