The anatomy of a book cover can be hard to understand when looking at the finished product. Many of you have asked me how the cover of Artistic License was developed and so here it is, each tiny detail revealed.


First of all, I knew I wanted to work with my favorite cover artist, Masloski Carmen.

She is an awesome artist and I worked with her before when she did The Wickeds cover for the Wicked Women Writers anthology. Her photo manipulation talent is the best I’ve seen and she was great to work with as a cover artist, because she made changes to her already created piece to fit our project.

1a. artist work that author liked

I browsed her current art (all fabulous), but I was looking for a piece that really conveyed the spirit of Artistic License. Something magical, but still real life based. Something dreamy and romantic, but with a dark feeling to it. I came across this little gem called Poison. I loved the way the background was sort of blurred, so that you weren’t really sure where you were. It could be any house in any city. I also liked the wispy magical feel of the perfume arching up with butterflies in it. If you’ve read Artistic License, you know what purpose the butterflies hold in the story. It is the pivotal point where Leslie begins to believe in herself again. I asked Msky if she could do something like this, but make the girl a painter.

 1. first art from cover artist2. Author concept changes

This was the first cover Msky sent me. I was in love (of course) it was such a beautiful representation of what I had asked for. I loved the fact that she used a fan brush for Leslie to hold because that is a nice detail from the text. I also liked the girl because, although she didn’t look exactly like Leslie, she had a innocent, yet interested face that seemed to convey the feelings Leslie had as the first butterfly peeled off the window sill and flew away. I liked the paint dropping on the pants and the fact that she wasn’t the neatest painter, being new to the craft again after so many years. As any perfectionist, I had a few things I wanted changed.

I asked for the bracelet to be removed, the magical mist to be increased, the butterfly to be changed, her pant color to be changed to a darker jean-like material, and the arch of the butterflies to be a tad different. I also asked her to add some paint pots on the left side and a charcoal monster on the right side. I cut and paste representations of these things in the graphic so she would know placement. In the end, I also asked for there to be some books by her side. While it was clear the butterflies were supposed to be yellow, I asked that the paint pots and books continue the theme throughout the book and be primary colors. Straying from my normal graphic likes of black and one set of complimentary colors, I thought the red, blue, yellow scheme that runs through the book would be good to contribute on the cover.

yellow coverred cover

I tried several different font combinations before choosing the final cover. I could have gone all yellow, or yellow and red, but the final cover incorporated red, yellow, and blue to bring the primary color scheme full circle. Leslie’s aunt was in love with Mondrian and his color palette, and so shall be the readers once they are immersed in his art as they read the book.

al front cover

And so…

Now you see the final cover, encompassing all those things I wanted to bring out in the story. Msky really brought my story to life in this single shot. I thank her, the photographer, and model for making my book cover better than I could have imagined.

Cover Art by Masloski Carmen

Photography by Alina Rusu

Cover Model, Diana Alexandra Blaj

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s