This is the horror art I created as the cover of my first horror novel, published on Amazon Kindle, Dark Trinity. I wanted to do this myself partly because I didn’t want to pay a professional cover artist and also because I had something very specific in mind. In all honesty I will probably pay for cover art when my books start making decent money, except for my children’s books where the cover art is an important part of the overall look and feel of the book.
I started by making several sketches of a female face, all dark gothic drawings. I wanted the girl to look down on the viewer and not make her conventionally threatening or unattractive. I was trying to capture a moment from Dark Trinity when a character (Mary-Jo Clough) is looking down on another character (Harold McHale). She should look creepy more than anything else.
I went onto make this drawing.
I traced this onto a sheet of Bristol Board and then painted over it, fairly quickly.
I scanned it into my computer and adjusted the colours in corel painter, a digital art studio. I ended up with this.
I used the blend tool to make the image flatter and do away with the brush strokes. Not that there is anything wrong with brush strokes but that wasn’t the effect I had in mind. Then I used digital ink to add stark shadows to the face. This made the face appear like it was emerging from darkness. An important point in the story and how I had imagined her from my character’s viewpoint.
I flipped the image because it looked better beneath the lettering. then I added texture with one of corel painter’s nifty tools. After adding the lettering I ended up with this.
On the whole I was pleased with the cover and it looked good as a thumbnail. Making my own cover wasn’t a part of writing horror fiction but I think the marriage of the cover and the story is very important.