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Comic Book Covers

 
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 8:27 pm    Post subject: Comic Book Covers Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this a bunch, and I think... Well, why don't I post a topic here? I might get some advice, and I'll be able to think a little better putting everything into words. Although, most of what I'm going over isn't about words, it's just visual.

I've been preparing the first chapter of my comic for printing. With print-on-demand services I don't have to be bothered by the fact that I won't sell many copies; I can do it just because I want to. I'm also starting work on my comic's second chapter.
I decided from the onset of my comic that I wanted to do chapter covers that I post like a regular page. I think it's a fun addition and a great way to play around with themes and ideas, especially for a comic with a significant humor focus.
I made a rather poor cover for my first chapter, and one of the things I'm doing with the print version is revising its design.

Well let me cut to the chase. Right now I'm basically working on the covers for my first two chapters.
And something I really want for my series is to have a unifying theme or motif to use for all my covers.
And I'm having trouble figuring out how to handle that.

What I first came up with was to have a black bar at the bottom of the cover which states the chapter number and title. Add my comic's logo at the top, and I have a simple non-intrusive design that gives me room to play around with whatever I want for each chapter, and also adds a layer of consistent motif for my covers.
But as I've been working on my second chapter, I've been strongly considering to have this cover styled with a parody of old pulp/schlock movie posters, the type of thing you'd see for a movie done by Mystery Science Theater 3000, the kind of movies that have titles like "It Came from the Black Lagoon" or such nonsense.
After all, the reason I decided to have chapter covers was to have fun with doing things like that.

But soon I came to realize how this idea clashed with the cover motif I was planning. A schlock poster really needs its dramatic lettering of the title, and I was going to have the title written in a consistent font in a black bar at the bottom of the page.
If I change my design to have the chapter title written out in a different way for each chapter, then what do I have left to use for a motif?
But if I keep with that consistent motif, then I can't play with the cover as much.
And most perplexing to me of all, if I use a motif that requires me to draw a chapter title unique for each chapter, how do I handle chapters that don't lend themselves to a particular theme or style?

So I'm trying to figure out what I can do to have the best of both worlds. I want to have some consistent unifying theme/motif for all my chapters, but still have the freedom to play with different designs for each cover.
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iaviv



Joined: 03 Sep 2011
Posts: 279

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, a compromise would be to not have crazy titles with crazy fonts and such, but still keep everything else in that b-movie vein. In fact, some of those posters had very humble calligraphy. Google "b-movie poster" and you'll see for yourself.
I'm not saying it's a good idea, but I think it could work...?
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been looking at books on IndiePlanet to draw some inspiration.
Most comics just have their comic logo at the top and maybe a box in the corner, perhaps a consistent font for a an issue title at the bottom floating above the artwork. It's nice, simple, and effective, but I want something more than that. Especially if I'm going to be having fun with my different covers, I need something more to keep everything unified as part of a series.

Here's a few things I've found.
I hope you'll forgive me, I'm just stringing my thoughts but without coming to a concise point.

I've seen a few that do something like this. It looks fantastic and beautiful, but it is also something better reserved for more serious titles; stories that are selling a continuing arc over an individual tale. There's no room for play in the cover like this.


I like this idea. A large image framed within a border. It has a consistent and bold motif with space reserved for a unique piece of cover art.


Lots of freedom for a cover; a simple bar does a surprisingly lot to add a motif. A single number for the chapter/issue; I suppose I could take a similar design and add a chapter title somewhere.


Sluggy has a simple yet deceptively layered look. Each book has a different color to the border, feels diverse, yet has a bold and consistent theme. It genius, but also prevents a lot of play with different designs.
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iaviv wrote:
Well, a compromise would be to not have crazy titles with crazy fonts and such, but still keep everything else in that b-movie vein. In fact, some of those posters had very humble calligraphy. Google "b-movie poster" and you'll see for yourself.
I'm not saying it's a good idea, but I think it could work...?


It's a fair suggestion, but if I go with a B-movie cover, it would be because I'm selecting a B-movie title for that chapter. (Which is currently my strongest runner as for what to title this chapter.) And it really doesn't work to emphasize one without the other.

Alternatively, I could go for a chapter title that doesn't hearken to a B-movie and use the same motif that doesn't need to draw attention to the title. But where's the fun in that? In the future I am going to have chapters that are going to have really fun covers, but I suspect I'm going to have my share of bland covers, or serious or dramatic covers. If I constrain myself now to a motif that favors fun covers, or favors dramatic covers, I'm going to find myself stifled when I try to make those later covers.
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Metruis
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Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Posts: 1019
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly, the only one of those covers I like is the Inverloch one. The one beside it I like all right, but the gap between the text irks me a bit. I like the simple and stylized idea of those ones.

I think you're beating yourself up too much over it. Stick with the black bar with the logo idea, and then do what you want with the art, do what suits the chapter best, not a motif best.

Not that I don't like motifs.

But I like art that conveys what the story's about best.
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Metruis wrote:
But I like art that conveys what the story's about best.


So, this then:


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OnlyTheGhosts



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks almost perfect. Not quite right, but you shouldn't beat yourself over it too much. I agree that the Inverloch cover was the best of the previous examples, but I think it's because the large expanse of black showed up the rest more. I'm not much of a fan of having lots of brown or maybe it's the particular shade. Could also be it needs to be less plain lettered for saying "Chapter 2". The title is great, love that font and style.
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um, that Cwen's Quest image is not my comic.
I just grabbed it because I love the humor it gives and also seemed relevant to the advice that was given.
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OnlyTheGhosts



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I like the title on your actual comic page then. Sorry for misunderstanding; you posted such a huge image.
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a while, which has given me time to think, clear my head, and think again.

This is the motif I'm thinking of using for my chapter covers. I would appreciate some feedback.

Note that the generic title is only used when I don't have something specific to use instead, as shown with chapter 2.






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egypturnash



Joined: 12 May 2012
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel like you have a LOT of different fonts going on in both of those. Three in the logo, then another couple in the stuff that's different on each chapter. Plus the curvy bars.

If you want to do a HORROR!!! look then hell, go all the way, make it look like one, break your format. Although that works a lot better if it doesn't happen until after you've created a pattern with at least 2 or 3 "normal" chapters.

More and more, I'm feeling like I want to look towards book covers, rather than comic covers, for my own inspiration. I ended up with a pretty sober one for the first collection of my current project, and something inspired by books of the Art Noveau era for the first collection of my previous project. Wander through a bookstore, away from the graphic novel section, and see if anything inspires you, instead of just looking at other comic books.
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