I’ve never been one for following rote advice or rules. Like Laith, one of the narrators of Mage and Source, “Emily does what Emily wants,” and in the case of my Tales of Blood & Light covers, Emily wanted to make them herself, so she did, against the advice of just about everybody, everywhere.
That said, I’ve learned a lot by going the independent route (as usual), and I certainly beefed up my Photoshop skills, which were a bit rusty after a stint many years ago as a photo doctor in a psych lab in college. (Side note: back then I was editing images of Breyer horses and yearbook pictures for a study on prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces, in case you were curious.)
I always enjoy learning by doing, and working on my own covers has allowed me to do that.
While my favorite cover thus far is Sterling’s–all the pieces just fit together so well to get a striking image–there is a big “darling” in the Mage and Source cover that I wanted to share because I love it so much.
Here’s the Mage and Source cover:
Take special note of the interesting background colors and textures, the iridescent greens, blues, and violets. Those colors came from an image of a very specific thing. Can you guess what?
In the series thus far, each cover’s dominant color has represented the aetherlight color of the narrator. In Mage and Source, I have two narrators, and thus I needed to represent two colors on the cover, neither completely overpowering the other.
I am a relentless hunter of interesting public domain images, and I finally found one that I thought would serve as a good background image for Laith and Elena’s colors. It was this one:
from the USGA Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab’s Flickr stream. Government science images make my nerdy heart happy.
This is an image of a bee’s wing. Specifically, it is the wing of a female Xylocopa carpenter bee from Thailand. It was so cool I had to use it on my cover!
The rest of the images were sourced from more mundane stock photograph sites. The bird of paradise flower image in the center represents a fictional night queen bloom.
You’ll have to read the book to see how the night queen bloom and the bee’s wings relate to the story!