Richard Falken book Cover illustration by Duncan Long

Cover Illustration: Richard Falken - La Espada Vengadora

I was recently contacted by Spanish author Richard Falken about creating a pair of covers for his upcoming adventure series. The writer had a limited budget for his covers and was wondering if I’d consider creating a single illustration and then letting him use it for the first two books in the series, perhaps with a change in the background for each book (fire for the first and “green fire” for the second).

With digital illustrations, such a modification is pretty easy to create. Modifying the color tones of the other elements in the picture to match the background makes everything hold together.

So this was the course of action we elected for the covers.


I soon realized that with just a little planning and a few changes, I could actually make his second cover even more different from the first. The trick was to keep the cape, hand, and weapon of the character on separate layers.

Once this was done, it became fairly easy to change the character’s expression, hair, and cape to create subtle differences between cover one and two. It still was obvious that the books were in the same series, yet there were enough differences to make it function as a new second illustration for the book.

Knowing that the character armed himself with both a sword as well as knives in the stories, I then did something that digital artwork lends itself to: I lengthened the knife’s blade to make it a sword, then adjusted the hand guard and grip ever so slightly to transform them into a sword. After repositioning his hand slightly and painting two relaxed fingers (from the knife-holding pose) into closed position (to hold a heavier sword), I had a new illustration for Rubén’s second book cover.

So here’s how the second cover illustration turned out:

 Richard Falken Book 2 artwork cover illustration

Cover Artwork: Richard Falken - El Libro Negro

And so… two book covers for just a little more than the price of one.

You can learn more about these books and author at Richard Falken’s site.

Duncan Long creates book illustrations and graphic designs for self publishing authors around the planet as well as larger presses including HarperCollins, the Asimov’s Science Fiction tabloid, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Enslow Publishers, etc. Explore Long’s illustrations and book cover designs at Duncan Long’s Book Cover Portfolio