A New Cover: The Night I Walked Off Of Boot Hill

1) First digital draft

Recently I read and reviewed: The Night I Walked Off Of Boot Hill by Briana Vedsted. In that review post, I described how I would imagine a better cover and I committed myself to try to create it.

That set a few things off. Besides delaying other projects, I bought tech, YEAH! my favorite hobby. I always wanted a Wacom drawing tablet, and this incident made me finally by one. I decided to go with the very basic thing: Wacom Bamboo Splash Tablet. A budget-driven decision, mostly. Additionally I couldn’t imagine what an integrated touch control could be useful for.

2) Coloring the main areas

I was determined to learn how to use the tablet and what is better than learning by doing. I already had Corel Painter Lite (from the last MacHeist bundle).

Everythings worked quite natural. The correct use of layers was a problem at first, but I discovered soon how they work. This was a fun project and after three evenings experimenting with different brushes and getting used to absolute positioning on the tablet I finally have something presentable. I distinguished different steps and will present them in chronological order.

3) First details

The Vision

I changed a few things from the first vision I presented in the review-post mentioned above.

4) Details Finished

In the center of the cover is a picture of a cemetery located on top of a hill, Boot Hill. No trees of course. It’s the desert, after all. A dark scheme, because it is night time. A tombstone and wooden crosses. You see the back of a cowboy, ghostly white and blurred. Quite big on the left side of the cover. A trail leads across the hill. The cowboy looks down the trail. His back sticks in the blood red lower part of the cover. The author’s name, in white letters sits in this red area at the bottom.

The cowboy views down the hill, his gaze follows the trail, as it gets lighter and slimmer in the distance. It leads into a white light. You see the shade of a little girl, another slender cowboy. Above, the central picture flows into a black area at the top of the cover. There is the books title, again in white letters.

1) The First Digital Draft

I made two or three paper drafts, those first experiments are the source for the changed vision. I was still waiting for my new MacBook to arrive, so paper was the last resort. Here is the first digital draft, which is quite close to the last paper draft.

2) The Coloring

The second step was to roughly color the different areas. I used the drawing from the first step as a blueprint.

3) The First Details

I decided to detail the cowboy first. As this was supposed to be the hardest part. I changed him later, and I’m still not fully happy with the outcome. Who would think that drawing cowboy hats is difficult.

4) The Details Finished

Next you see the final version of the cover art, minus the book’s title and the author’s name. I struggled a little bit with the correct angle of the tombstone shadows.

5) The Finished Cover Art

I didn’t find a way to add text to a picture in Corel Painter Lite (e.g. a text tool). I was to lazy to use something else, so I experimented a little bit with the brushes that might be useful to ‘draw’ text. I discovered the calligraphy pen and drew the text with it. It took me some time to get the font look somewhat coherent. I’m unsure if it is quite good or just awful.

I know there are a lot of things missing for a real book’s cover, the back, being the obvious. But I guess this could be used as a starting point.

What do you say? Is this cover any good? Do you have any suggestions how to make it better? What beginner mistakes did I make?

5) Final


I’m donating this work to Briana Vedsted, just because the other cover is so ugly and I had so much fun creating this one. She may decide about any licenses and stuff.

8 thoughts on “A New Cover: The Night I Walked Off Of Boot Hill

    1. Dirk Porsche says:

      I’m certainly no genius. At least not in painting/drawing ;-).

      This was really fun and gave me the chance to dust of my painting skills and at the same time try something new: digital painting.

      The digital way is actually much better suited for me than oil on canvas. Which I was doing some years back.

  1. Jade Reyner says:

    Hey! Found you via Briana’s blog and I have to say what a brilliant job you have done with the cover. As a fellow author/friend of Briana I can so relate to it being hard to get the perfect cover and as I have read this book as well, I think that you have achieved something really cool here. I love that this project prompted you to buy some technology – I am a real techno fan and if I can find the excuse get some gadgets then I will.! 🙂

    1. Dirk Porsche says:

      Thank you very much. With all the positive feedback I’m thinking about making book covers regularly. In case you are interested, just let me know.

      Gadgets are great as long as you have the time to actually get acquainted using them.

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