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Seraphympire [resubmit]

The author says:

KILLING IS HER SPECIALTY. LEGEND HER REALITY. BLOOD HER DRUG OF CHOICE. Makayla Uriel is a Vampire Seraphim with a split personality. Her first impulse upon meeting her new partner is to bleed him dry. Her second is unthinkable. Humans no longer need to be bitten to become Vampires. London is burning. The Trinian Globe, an ancient artefact, has been stolen. Makayla is the one being who can prevent the inevitable apocalypse and the one least likely to. Is trust possible when you must sacrifice everything? Will the Shadow Seekers save Earth and its Gateways? Can the global distribution of V5 be stopped? Who will triumph? SERAPHYMPIRE.



Nathan says:

Incrementally better, but most of the complaints I had about the previous cover are still present: The text is too small, the tag line covers an active area in the artwork instead of that open space on the right, and the neologistic title is still ungainly.

Other opinions?


  1. Most of the major complaints haven’t been addressed, I’m afraid. The figure does look a little less cut-and-pasted, though the shadow under the figure is little more than a black blob.

    The illumination and coloring (and style) of the figure still works against its full integration into the art, so that it still looks out of place. Cropping the figure so that the torso is entirely replaced by a mass of red hair looks odd and is a little confusing visually

    Every visual element of interest is buried under type, leaving only the gloved hand unobscured in the center of the cover…and it is just not that interesting. In fact, there is no real place for the eye to rest. It is drawn to the bright reds in the upper right and left corners and to the glove in the center—there is no single dominant element, with the result being that the picture is all over the place.

    The moon is only a marginal improvement to what you had before. Unfortunately, it makes no sense visually. There is no sense of it being luminous, so instead of being seen through the fog, it is in front of the fog, so it looks like a balloon suspended no further from the viewer than the figure. A moon glowing through the fog would be more effective. Moreover, it looks as though you included it just in order to have something fill that space. A better solution would be to rearrange the entire composition of the art so that random space-fillers aren’t necessary.

    Finally, the catch phrase still sounds as though it is referring to you.

    1. I agree with Ron Miller. The only good change I can see are that the drippy blood is gone, and the title is a little more readable because of this. In addition to this, the figure’s skin colour has been changed so that it now ironically looks more human and less like a supernatural being, and it still doesn’t integrate with the background, and a flat black shape has been added to the corner to disguise the heel on the shoe.

      What I would suggest starting with: move the ‘guardians of the gateways’ up into that wasted space ABOVE the title. Move the crazy quote down BELOW the author’s name. I am adamant it will look a whole lot less cluttered. Then, increase the scale of the character with the sword, just slightly, so the heel is out of view of the image and the sword is just the other side of the bird and frames it. Get rid of the black puddle in the corner. Then use the photoshop transparency slider to adjust the transparency of the moon so it blends into the background and looks like something behind the mist and not something pasted on in front of it. Use filters, colour balance adjustments, whatever you need to do, to make the colour palette of the figure closer to the background, and consider adding a mist texture over the whole lot to help it blend better.

  2. A big problem I see, if I’m a customer browsing thumbnails, is my eye can’t find one thing to focus on. Too many things are evenly seeking my attention. You want the eye to comfortably rest on a focal point.

      1. Indeed. I admire the designer’s tenacity and willingness to change, but one of several, persistent big problems here — already listed at length so I won’t repeat them all — is that the shapes, and especially the line formed by the sword and arm, draw the eye right off the page. Whereas ideally the eye should be drawn to the title. And although this is an improvement on the last iteration, all of the elements (including the colors and textures and lettering) are still fighting for attention instead of working together to form a harmonious whole. All I can suggest is that the cover designer first constructs a coherent balance of shapes and lines — a layout that works, in other words — and then ‘fills it in’ with the appropriate visual elements.

        And yes, I’m sorry but that title is just not ever going to fly. Seraphympire isn’t only an awkward neologism, it’s a word that can’t possibly really exist in English; the stress pattern alone makes it borderline unsayable. If it has to be a portmanteau of angels and vampires, I’d suggest something that at least fits in the mouth, like eg Vampowyrs.

  3. I agree with the comments about not having a single starting focal point. I don’t know how to fix the image but suggest using a ‘rule of thirds’ grid as your starting point and then choose one key element to focus on, and then build the other elements so that they aren’t competing for the same space.

    On the image ‘as is’, maybe if you right aligned the Title and Subtitle, and applied some design to the text. For instance, the size of the words ‘of the’ could be reduced, and either the word ‘Guardian’ or ‘Gateways’ (not both!) could be enlarged so that it can sit over the grey background.

    I would reposition the author name, expand the spacing so that it stretches across the page more, and change the colour to orange (but use a colour picker tool so you pull an existing colour from the images used rather than manually trying to recreate one) so that the author name sits closer to the bottom edge of the cover (in keeping with the layout of professional book covers).

    Next, I would reduce the ‘Sometimes crazy…’ tagline to a single line of text, and change the colour to something suitable (along with removing the black outline framing each letter so the letters aren’t so boxed in) and relocate the tagline element to sit at the top of the page, above the title with a centre aligned.

  4. The girl still looks cut-and-pasted. You need a shadow that looks like a shadow rather than just a black fuzzy corner (look at the shadow of the raven on the rock and the shadow of the rock on the ground). Try using a low-opacity gray or blue-gray brush set to multiply.

    But all the shadows in the world won’t save you if you don’t also desaturate and sepia-tone the girl and soften her edges very slightly, and it will never really work because she has different lighting.

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