Friday, 9 November 2012

The Cover Image

So I promised an insight into how the cover looks. It has been long in the making, and I was so furious to find that I've actually deleted some of the earlier jpegs of the covers! However, life goes on, and I still have a bunch of photos to show you!

The story starts with a collage which I printed, cut out and glued onto a piece of blue card. I was procrastinating actually writing by using the excuse of making the cover, though I knew full well that they would never make it to print! The images in the picture are supposed to incorporate both the spy world with the identity badge and the knife, and the normal girly teenage world in the phone, lipstick and I <3 DC (David Callas). 

A little while later, I forgot about hard copies and gluing as everything just fell apart, but kept most of the design, recreating everything on the computer using Microsoft Word! The white blackberry in the corner is actually my own which I took a photo of at a weird angle... I wrote on the lock page "Serena Penelpoe Young - Don't touch my phone." Originally Serena had a blackberry towards the end of the novel but I changed this recently. 
Giving up on the unprofessional and squished look of the collage style, I asked my brother Giles, an amazing artist, to design the covers for the three books. This was his first basic design on his iPad which he took from a floor-level silhouette photo and added the knife, blood and blonde hair in. We decided together to forget about girly stylistic features and leave the background colors to be girly while the content remained more striking.
Next, Giles directed me on what to do for the next stage. I asked one of my friends, Isy Currey to take a few black and white photos of my lovely friend Beatrice Ghose. She is an amazing singer and you can check her out Here

From the photo I drew it out onto paper and added Union Jack lines, arm, knife and gun as in the design. I also colored the hair honey blonde as I know that it isn't possible to easily get the right texture and shades in hair on photoshop or paint. I scanned this image onto the computer, and although the body is a little too small, I didn't really want to redraw it again. For some reason there is a little curvy t sign on the t-shirt... It doesn't mean anything and it doesn't need to be there, I just took my rubber and drew it out of the shaded area.
On the computer I cleaned up the smudge lines roughly and added in the text in stencil typography. The series is called the S.P.Y Files, as though they are the files of Serena, her personal diary, while my brother made up the text beneath all by himself which is great because I love it! It is now also the text at the top of my blurb. 
I filled in the color in blue for the first book, orange for the second, and purple for the last. The white was however still visible in a scratchy sort of way which I didn't like. I had to neaten it up properly. 

I kept filling in the white spots and the grey areas, having to rewrite the text if I accidentally drew over it to often. I added in the title and my pen name, trying to choose a font size that fit across the page for all three books, which have different length names. Finally I conceded that they would never be symmetrical and so across the three images each has a different size which looks interesting... I felt the color was also a little too dark and the black lettering wasn't visible once I'd removed the white outline. Therefore I made it a little lighter and tidied the lines up. As well as this, I added blood to the knife and made the gun darker so that it stood out more against the grey body. Finally I attached a copy of my old BIA emblem to complete it. 

At last I finished the image with the new, improved version of the BIA emblem and perfected the grey lines between the Union Jack colors as much as possible. You have to look hard to find the flaws but they're there! Most recently I changed the color of the background, believing the colors above to not be quite girly enough! 

This is the image you must look out for on Amazon next Friday, and later on Smashwords if you would like to read the entire novel. However I should warn you that the novel will only be available on Kindle and Kindle applications such as the iPad for the foreseeable  future. 

Personally I'm pretty proud of the finished image, but I would love to hear your views as well. Please check out Beatrice's youtube video, link above, and keep watching the site for more information about the book launch. Questions? Comment below, tweet me at J M Hart or email me at . 


  1. Yeah it looks pretty cool. If I saw it online I might check it out... depends what mood I'm in.

    1. What sort of mood would you have to be in? Adventurous or depressed? When you see it what do you think the book's about?

  2. England and war but like futuristic

  3. i think this Giles guy i sooooooo cool< omg refer him to others and omg like babes, must check this out. i bet he is really good at driving, and will still get his license over you.

    jokes, its me Giles

    GREAT book guys, have had it read to me on many a car journey, check it out before it gets big!!!!!

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