Kerry-HIM final cover painting by illustrator Duncan Long

Creating the cover for Kerry D. King’s novel HIM was one of those journeys that seemed to take those involved into several different worlds, each prettier than the last.

Based on actual events that happened in 1974, the book has a magical view of the world and, as such, needed a somewhat mystical or even surreal, dreamlike cover. Key elements were a grassy field, a mansion with glowing elements, and a woman walking toward the house.

Here’s my first stab at the idea:

HIM Kerry- ghost version of painting by illustrator Duncan Long

As can be seen, the above painting would have been ideal had the story been slanted toward a horror or ghost story. However, it was not. So… while the elements were in the ballpark, the green glow and heavy vegetation were not.

Next came:

HIM Kerry- lake version of painting by illustrator Duncan Long

This was closer, however it lacked the dream quality of the story. So I got rid of the lake and replaced it with a “sea” of grass.

The publisher had mentioned that we needed an almost neon look to the colors, so I next increased the saturation on the grass (easy to do with a digital painting), then color shifted it into several bands of grass to create a blue, purple, and pink sections. Then I added some “glow” to the sky and mansion and boosted the blues in these areas.

And the final book cover picture emerged:

Kerry-HIM final cover painting by illustrator Duncan Long

This, like Goldilocks porridge, proved to be “Just right!” So I next did the lettering, spine and back layout, producing the final wrap-around cover:

HIM final wrap around Kerry D King layout and cover painting by Duncan Long

You can learn more about the book (as well as purchase a copy of this fascinating novel) at the author’s web site: Kerry D. King’s novel HIM

Duncan Long is a digital artist who loves creating book cover pictures for presses and self-publishing authors. You can see more of his work at his online gallery.