Christina Adams White Lilac book cover illustration

Cover Illustration for Christina Adams' White Lilac

Here’s the cover illustration I created for Christina J. Adams’ new science fiction novel The White Lilac.

The trick was to create a cover illustration that the viewer would perceive as a young woman in water — rather than a gal floating in the air or space. To achieve this, I worked with a variety of blues and placed a couple of beams of light through the murky scene. I then created a water reflection of the top of the illustration, and painted in a variety of bubbles and bits of dirt and sediment which are almost always present underwater.

One catch: The scene was an alien ocean. So I tried to create some alien fish. Not an easy task (and perhaps not achieved completely) since Earth’s deep water fish tend to take on alien, even nightmarish aspects. But I tried to cobble together something that might at least hint of an alien ocean far from our planet.

White Lilac alien fish concept painting

White Lilac alien fish concept painting.

By rotating, resizing, and monkeying with the tail of this single fish image, I created three fish for the price of one — without going to all the work of actually drawing three.

Finally, to help potential readers tell at a glance this is a science fiction novel, we employed a typeface with a little sci-fi “flavor.”

The result:

Christina Adams White Lilac cover layout and illustration

You can read a couple of chapters of The White Lilac as well as order a Kindle copy of the book at

Duncan Long creates book cover illustrations for self publishing authors as well as larger presses including HarperCollins, the Sun tabloid, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Enslow Publishers, etc. See more of Long’s illustrations and book cover design at Duncan Long’s Book Cover Portfolio