Book cover illustration for Angel Wars

I’m slowly wrapping up what proved to be a huge book project: Illustrating and laying out Steve Quayle’s Angel Wars. Rather than creating only the cover illustration for the book (as is my normal assignment with book projects), I also did the graphic design and layout of the cover and all the inner pages as well.

The publisher gave me a free hand in my design work, so I found myself agonizing over typeface combinations, creating the logo that would appear in gray at the top of each chapter, and devising the best column arrangement for the target page count the publisher was wanting. I also regularly tweaked old photos and created a few inner illustrations, too.

It was one hairy project.

Lots of work — but oh, so much fun as well. Few things are as magical as being able to shepherd the progress of a edited manuscript to the final PDFs that go to press.

I adopted a sort of Art Deco feel for the cover illustration. In part this was to duplicate the logo that appeared through the book (a sword with wings on either side of it). The trick was to keep the layout of the illustration formal yet interesting and dynamic. Hopefully cover artwork achieved this. (In the layout I also flanked the artwork with some gray “angel text” similar to what’s sometime’s seen in ancient inscriptions; these were repeated on the back cover to compliment the front.)

Cover artwork for the book Angel Wars

So after a little over a month, we’re finally near the finish line (just one last round of corrections). The page count is 444 and the footnotes are over 600 (I think — without taking the time to check right now). The footnotes proved to be the trickiest part since they often had to be “done by hand” to get the columns to look their best. Likewise I fussed with adding hyphens here and there to keep the “white rivers” from flowing down columns, tinkered with column widths, and re-kerned two of the fonts (one had no kerning at all at the start — fortunately some of the kerning can be done automatically using FontCreator).

Yes, wild and wooly.

The illustration and graphic design and layout for the book Angel Wars

But now we’re near the finish line. Hopefully next week at this time we will have finished the course — and I’ll start to get caught up with my other projects.

When he’s not fussing with typefaces and column widths, Duncan Long generally can be found creating book illustrations and artwork for presses and self-publishing authors. You can see more of his graphic design work and book illustrations and artwork at Duncan’s Portfolio