When Katie Cord explained what she wanted for the cover of Maxine, I knew I'd have the pleasure of doing another custom shoot. However, this one was a little tricky since I had to find the perfect location that had lockers I could put my model in front of.

Fortunately I have a good relationship with my old school and got permission to shoot on campus. It ended up being fun catching up with the principal and advisers who all came to ask how I was doing and what I'd been up to.

So I got the lockers and the model with a plaid skirt and penny loafers. But there were some huge problems. For one, the hallway the lockers were in was narrow. The lighting was awful. And worst of all, the lockers were bright green!

I snapped a picture on my scouting trip so I could come home and play around with editing.

I snapped a picture on my scouting trip so I could come home and play around with editing.

As long as I have the fundamental elements at hand, I can photoshop anything to perfection. My favorite thing to do is look at the before and after photo for a cover like this. Below is the unedited picture I started with.

The lockers became gray and dingy, the lighting foreboding. I was able to use my tablet to hand draw "Maxine" in blood to really make it feel real, and add some splatter everywhere else of course. I cropped and rotated, added in more floor to make up for the narrow hallway and space for the author's name.

A little blood splatter and texture goes a long way in creating a sinister cover! Above are a handful of elements I used. Most of the work on Maxine was actually in layer masks and curves.

All in all, I'm extremely happy with how the cover turned out. It was a blast to go shoot at a location (we got some weird looks from students) and turn a bland picture into something spectacular.

Protocol One

I've done a few covers for Jacqueline Druga and have had an amazing time with each one. The cover for Protocol One was no exception. Jackie described the book, gave me a few key elements she might like to see in the cover, and let me loose.

I also wanted to use this as an opportunity to show how many images can go into a single cover. My covers are typically compiled of at least three stock images at minimum, but this one took the cake with over 10! Here's just a few below at a glance.

I was lucky enough to find the perfect trio of survivors from HiddenYume-Stock to complete the sense of a surreal, bleak journey to the bunker. I searched quite a while to find the right group of survivors, and was happy to have found that one. And of course, I can't have an apocalyptic design without some fabulous textures. The rain texture specifically ended up looking like ash when inverted and laid over the rest of the image; fitting since in this novel ash from a comet is polluting the atmosphere.

Jackie writes gripping, realistic post-apocalyptic horror novels that are unique and loved by her fans. With each cover I design for her, I make sure the cover represents her wicked awesome talent! Be sure to check out Jackie's amazon author page.

"Ask and you shall receive. Eloise Knapp delivers exactly what I want each and every time, from book covers to posters. She is amazing. Not only is she talented, she is efficient and fast. Her covers are gripping, professional and the best ‘first’ line of sales for any author. They are attention grabbers. I like that she has the ability to ‘grasp’ what I see as an author and I look forward to working with her on many more. It is my hope, that when I become super successful, that I can have her redo all of my covers. Which is a lot. Thanks El, for the great work." - Jacqueline Druga

He Left Her at the Altar, She Left him to the Zombies

This cover for Katie Cord was an absolute blast to work on. When she approached me for this project and told me what she wanted, the ideas started flowing. It was one of those times when my vision and the author's vision seemed to be in instant alignment. 

Whenever possible I try to do custom photo shoots for covers. Katie already had the wedding dress, I had the rest of the props (blonde wig, combat boots, sunglasses, etc.), and my cousin Brittney makes a fabulous model. Before the shoot I tore up the wedding dress and made it look as beat up as I could. The day of the shoot we poured a bunch of blood on it and dirtied it up even more.

So many shots turned out beautifully! They felt so high fashion. There were a ton to choose from. I edited a few just for fun.

I think it's funny to note Brittney had blue nails! Something borrowed, something blue? I hadn't even thought of making sure her nails were more of a bridal color, but I think it adds a nice quirky touch.

I ended up dropping in a wonderfully creepy background and adding even more cuts and bruises to make the bride look extra distressed. The goal with this cover was to make sure the bride looked powerful and badass; I think we accomplished it.