11/09/07: “The Last Patriarch” is now on sale at -If you want to read more about the project you can check out my production blog here:

Here is the finished cover and corresponding back-cover. Comments are always welcome, although obviously the book is already in print. The second image on the back of the book is also going to be a shot in the movie however so I’ll be glad to receive as much feedback as possible (And admittedly I kind of rushed it but I think it serves its purposes for a decent back for the book.)

First Post:
Hi, I’m working on the cover for my nearly finished book, THE LAST PATRIARCH which I’ll be self-publishing within the next couple weeks (You may have heard of it before. If not feel free to visit my production blog: , and wanted to get some feedback on my idea.

These are some initial mock-ups I’ve put together just to get started, but you can see the general concept I’m aiming for.
The lighting on the title is going to be difficult and I’m not sure how to properly light the staff yet without compromising the lighting on the wall, also I want to try to get some sort of haloish effect from the staff and obviously the heiroglyphs on the wall are just a stand-in for now. I’ll replace them with symbols thematic to the book probably using sculpt mode instead of an image texture to improve the quality. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the top and bottom of the image, maybe just my name at the top and the publisher at the bottom? I think I’ll also add some fog to give it some depth and darkness to help with the lighting.
For the staff itself I’ll be adding some cloth bindings to it and I considered having a skeleton’s hand holding it, but I might just leave it without anything holding it. Does anyone have a preference?

Let me know what you think. All comments are welcome and greatly appreciated.

I can definitely see that on a cover of a book. You could try to put some light source between the staff and the wall so it only really illuminates the wall, and then put a really weak light source near the base of the staff so the staff is just slightly illuminated. That might create a good contrast between the wall and the staff and keep the wall in more focus, while still keeping the staff in the scene.

I think the title itself would look really cool as a kind of orange glow (in the third version).

And a skeleton hand would be very cool - if it fits with the book’s content, of course. :wink: I would suggest, though, to make it very dark and subdued (using the approximate lighting of the third version) so that the person looking at the cover needs about 5 seconds or so to realize that that’s no living hand!

For the haloish effect on the staff, consider using composite nodes. (Not because I’m an expert on the subject, but because I finally understand (?) nodes and I think they’re really cool!)

Bottom layer: wall + staff (+ hand + other ?)
-Composite on top of it: a picture that is just a bright point fading radially outward, that determines the amount of bright pink to add to the render, centered on the glowing part of the staff

Top layer: text (with cool glow effect?)

Overall, very cool work! (I just visited your website - the comment goes for that, too!)

Hmm looks pretty nice for a book cover.

Some suggestions…move the title up, and/or the staff down, so they don’t overlap each other. It’s a bit harder to read the title with the staff there (in the last image), and well normally I don’t see a title in the middle of a book. It’s usually located near the top.

I also suggest not having a author and publisher on the front cover (move to the inside cover if you can), as I think it would take away from the image.

If I saw that at a library or book store, I would definitely take a quick look through it, as it does look interesting. A skeleton hand might help it, and may reduce the mystery look it has.
Without a skeleton hand, it could be some creature, person, thing, anything, holding the staff. Or it could mean that it is some kind of strong source of energy from ancient times (hence the symbols).
With a skeleton hand, it shows that someone had once held the object, and that they were destroyed from its power, or some other reason (probably wouldn’t have been killed, as the killer wouldn’t leave it behind).

It really is all up to you, good luck with your book!

Thanks for the replies.

jErikoATo: I decided to use compositing nodes so I separated the scene into 3 layers: 1. The background 2. The staff and 3. The Title and that helped considerably in lighting the staff because now that lighting won’t effect the wall behind it.

Caius: Thank you for all the helpful advice. And I’m glad you liked the work on my blog -I’ve been working on this project for some time now so I’m glad it’s getting some praise.
Anyways, I took your suggestion with the layers (as you can see from my reply to jErikoATo) Right now I’m having some trouble getting the halo itself to work properly -I must say I’m not really experienced using Halo materials, but I’m trying to find something that will work.

facemania: I’m glad you like it. I realize the title is hard to read in my first posts -Hopefully these newer images it’s easier to make out -I really want the staff to be positioned right there in the center of the title and as I’ve stated above I’m attempting to get it to appear to be emitting a halo which should create a nice light backdrop for the title. I’m beginning to like the looks of the cover without any names on it either, but I think I will still add my name to the bottom -probably not very prominent though -small and non-obstructive (or the top -haven’t decided yet)
I haven’t really done any more thinking on the hand -I’ll probably save that for last because I can’t decide really if I want anything holding the staff at all.

Okay, so here are 4 new images -I tried changing the text color -Obviously I didn’t like it and went back to black with the expectation of this halo effect I’m planning which will be a bright light color to backdrop against the black title -I’m playing around trying to control the darkness of the image while still having a bright light source at the center which has proved somewhat of a challenge but let me know what you think of these new renders.

Oh, also, just a reminder and a note to new readers, the hieroglyphs are just stand-in right now. I’ll be designing the real hieroglyphs soon -that’s next on my agenda after the halo effect as it will effect the lighting on the wall and the background. I think I’ll keep the picture-like hieroglyphs to a minimum and have mostly just random ancient symbols but I will plan to put some sort of mural near the center (perhaps what the light is focused on) thematic to the novel.

Okay, here’s the latest:

Comments are always welcome. Thanks!

Hey I like pix three best . . . although a human figure or eyes or something like (again assuming it goes with the book) could be applied to give it personality. Oh I’ve also gone to your website . . . a teaser hint please.

You could move the title up into the dark area at the top so it’s more readable. That would make the bone is clearer too

I like the look of the bottom one with the yellow in the halo.

Try making the word “Patriarch” white.

I think it looks cool. The one I like best is the darkest one, but you might want to try throwing the staff off center and up or down, and move the title up or down the opposite direction, I dunno though, I’m not a publisher.

Thanks for all the helpful replies.

I’ve played around with the halo a bit (I created a 4th layer for it). Here are a couple renders with varying halo settings:

Let me know if it’s too bright or not bright enough -I’ve also set up a separate Alpha Over node for the staff itself so I can control how much the halo effects the wall vs. how much it effects the staff separately. -I think I may also need to adjust the coloring a bit too because I like the yellowish color mixed with the purple.
I think what I might try and do is tone down the brightness on the halo itself and give the title a backlit glow of the same color as the halo. Let me know what you think.

Okay, now I’ve sketched up a rough concept of the hieroglyph/mural on the wall. I scanned it in and replaced the stand-in image with the design to do a quick test. Now don’t freak out, they’ll look better than this. This is just a quick sketch (and sorry for the messiness -I’m not that good at drawing). I’ll use it as reference to create the real hieroglyphs in sculpt mode -and it looks like I’ll probably also want to apply some sort of bumpy rock texture as well -but let me know if you like the design of the wall or if you think its too muralish and should be more just ancient symbols or the other way around:

Okay, and also, I figured since a lot of you have been reading my blog and know that this book is adapted from a script I wrote for a film I’m currently directing, that I would give you a brief synopsis of the story so that you know a little bit more about it and can better judge the direction I should take with the cover.
This is not EXACTLY what will appear on the back of the book, but it will probably be very similar to this:
Thousands of years ago, the most powerful wizards in the world waged an epic war for control of the universe. Their powers were locked away by the two kingdoms of Magica and Palindome, but now the last patriarch of the ancient world has returned to reclaim the Spellbook of Orekkon and seek revenge against the two nations that campaigned to defeat him by pitting them hopelessly into a devastating war. After the death of his father, it’s up to Mika Berrings to uncover the mystery behind the ancient magic with the help of a mysterious warrior from the past, the Guardian of the Moon, a deceptive street girl who prides herself on her thieving nature, Nemusidian Jones, and the unlikely military general, Master Bassu to avenge his father’s death and stop the dark lord Opedorox and his army of Orethian Hunters at all costs, but when he begins to uncover dark secrets of his father’s life, he’ll begin to question everything he knew and do everything in his power to clear his father’s tarnished name as the fate of the modern world and hope itself hangs in the balance…

I hope it sounds good. Thanks again for the comments, and let me know what you think of the newest renders.

Rofl, I’ve gotta say im a little jealous, I’ve been trying to put my mind to use by cranking out a story, but I can’t seem to name my world, even if i did it would be a boring old fantasy. This is pretty damn good man, I’d give it a reading.Good luck man.

Thanks Zues, but it wasn’t easy I’ll tell you that -I’ve been working on this off and on for the past couple years so it’s taken a lot to get to this point -I just finally finished the 5th draft this past Spring and it was quite the accomplishment.

Try lowering the contrast of lighting. (more ambiant, less powerful staff light)

I’ve added a 5th layer with a secondary yellow colored halo effect to blend with the first. The center of the light source is becoming too bright to see the hieroglyphs directly behind it (but maybe that’s good?) I may still try playing with it a bit, but I like the yellowish blend and also it backlights the title much better. Let me know what you think. Oh and I’ve also included a snapshot of my nodes setup in case anyone is interested.

Hi there. Something people tend to do (unintentionally, of course) is obscure their text in the image. You have made some progress towards fixing that but here is an idea to help…

The image I snagged is actually the second one in your first post :o, and it is only a poorly-photoshopped mock-up, but it illustrates several concepts:

Firstly, I moved the name of the book away from the middle of that big, bright spot in the middle of the image. (The problem with your bright spot is that it includes some 80 to 90 percent of the value spectrum, so that no matter what color text you place above it it will not be easily separable from the image. Especially with really thin lettering like you are using.)
(Also, I appologize for the quick hack job on moving the text, but you can suppose I boor easily if it helps…:))

The next thing I did was place a nice, color matched, glowing border around the text to separate it from the medium-value background that now frames it. This both draws the eye and cleanly delineates the thin text. My choice in color was something that wouldn’t compete with the main graphic but rather compliment it.

Finally, I added your name (I think…) to the bottom using a technique I am partial to: a black-darkened banner line framing the name. The font need not be anything too fancy here (I think I just used Arial bold…). The color choice this time is designed to compliment the existing colors to add interest but not draw primary focus.

BTW. I think your latest effort is a vast improvement. You might want to spend some time working on the texture of the staff. Right now it seems too flat and plastic to me. IMHO, anyway.

Hope this helps.

I think the whole image looks good, except for that staff. The staff just seems to lack detail. And the background is symmetrical, but I don’t know if that was intended or not.

The staff really needs a good texture work.Maybe u should use the title on a band to make it discernable particularly from the glow.Actually u can make 3d book and put the cover on it to give us an opinion

Did you use an editor for your book?

Maybe something like this:

P.S. : As far as i found from internet the writer is Jerome Weidman

The artist in me leans towards Duoas’ suggestion. Separate the title from the graphic not only for readability but also because having everything connect in the centre is visually awkward. Duoas’ image was obviously a rough mock-up so, if you do move the title up there, you’ll want to get rid of the big space in “The Last”

Bringing the glow in front of the staff, as in your latest image, works well - and is more realistic.

One thing to remember is that the really nice bright, vibrant colours you have in that glow will largely be lost when they’re put through a printing press. CMYK inks simply don’t reproduce vibrant colours too well. There’s not much you can do about it except be prepared for it.