Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Wealthy Tribe Cover

Stardate 7-6-2010
It's been a while since my last post, mostly since I've been travelling in Turkey, baby!
Anyway, I want to put up some work that I did a few weeks ago for Readhill/Mousehand independent publishers. This was for a short run of a book called "The Wealthy Tribe", by  Malcolm Coombs. The book is basically a parable in which some friends stumble across an ancient book which describes how this tribe used a series of principles to create wealth for themselves. The friends apply these principles to their own lives, and prosper.
 Anyway, it went through quite a process, and here are the initial three covers I submitted:

The initial brief was pretty flexible, but kind of revolved around having an hourglass with sand transforming into coins inside. So I went ahead and created a 3d-looking version  in Coreldraw. All the elements in the images below are vectors, which was a serious mission and no mistake! After the creation of the elements in Draw, I dragged them into CorelPHOTO PAINT for final compositing. Photopaint is very much similar to photoshop, but has the advantage of being much cheaper! 
Anyway, photo-editors allow one a much greater deal of control over different filters I have found. So in the vectors went, and i added some grain to make the sand look more sandy.
The different versions are below:

The defining principle of the book was "time is money". But put that into a search engine and the first 15 000 images you get are all hourglasses with sand turning into coins inside. In my anal-retentive perfectionistic way, I really wasn't happy with the hourglass cliche' as a cover image, so i provided 2 alternate versions of what I thought would work better.

My first idea was to take the idea of the story and illustrate it in a very direct fashion, with tribespeople carrying golden objects. I kept the drawings very plain and geometric to try and convey a sense of an African tribe.

The second idea was to create a very bold cover based on a vector illustration of a tribal mask. In Coreldraw it was simple enough to reproduce a series of different versions of the cover in different cover schemes. Since the mask image was so striking, I wanted to limit the colours drastically and provide maximum impact to the linework. My favourite is the gold on black cover--I felt this conveyed the idea of wealth and mystery the best--a golden mask looming out of the night. I also opted for a more traditional-looking font, to give it more of a hand-crafted/old-school look.

As it turned out, the author decided he'd rather stick with the hourglass... The final cover is below:

Basiccally it's the same hourglass, with a whole lot of layers. I've added some serious grain to the trickle of coins, sandwiching about 4 different coin layers between "dirt" and photo-filter layers to give the idea of depth. Individual highlights and flashes were also added to give the idea of the coins being very shiny, and also add a sense of movement. There are basically a lot of other layers there on "subtract" and "overlay" mode to give the image more glow and depth. 31 layers in total, without the lettering!

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