DIY Cover Art

Cold Hard Truth: the design degree I invested all those hours, sweat, tears and money in was a waste of time. OK, so I didn’t invest any actual money, just accumulated a massive HECS debt that I’ll die with. Ahem. Anyway, I didn’t need to learn about visual communication, art history, typography and book binding in order to design book covers. Alien Onion showed me the light. Turns out it’s all rather simple, really.


How to create your debut YA cover

  1. Go to Fake Name Generator – the name that appears is your author name
  2. Go to Random Word Generator – the word listed under ‘Random Verb’ is your title
  3. Go to FlickrCC – type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover
  4. Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in
  5. Post it to your site along with this text

Here’s mine:


It’s so YA. Tense and Meaningful. Definitely a ‘coming of age’ type novel – a young man balancing on the brink of childhood and adulthood. Check out the author’s name. Who doesn’t love a pun?

Confession: I had to cheat slightly, as my first random verb was ‘prognosticate’, which (oh shock) yielded nothing on Flickr, so I had to go with the next one. The original image can be found here. And there’s a great gallery of DIY covers over on 100 Scope Notes which you have to check out.

So go fly my pretties and see what you come up with. Please post links if you do…


7 Responses to “DIY Cover Art”

  1. 1 The Alien Onions August 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    excellent! and the author name is genius. though it does make me worry for this fellow and his in-the-balance endeavours. will Hannah have the generosity of spirit to allow her protagonist to transcend her own unfortunate fate? or perhaps he too will fall, and be stronger for it? oh the possibilities…


  2. 2 Katherine Battersby August 13, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I have a feeling, being Hannah’s ‘debut’ novel, it will follow the all too well known partly-biographical-first-book, and so her protagonist is likely to suffer the same fate she did … but then who doesn’t love a tragic YA?

  3. 3 Sandy Fussell August 13, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Ha! I can’t help but think a little of that graphic design still sneaked in. You should see the cover art I produced. No on second thoughts, no-one shall see it! Nothing had any relevance to anything. But then again it was fun :)

  4. 4 Lynn Priestley August 14, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Oh _ I can’t wait to have a crack at this and then join you in the “I wasted a fortune studying graphic design” stakes. Life can be so unfair and so full of creative HECS/Hex

  5. 5 Katherine Battersby August 14, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Sandy, you should show it with pride, no matter how awful! That’s part of the fun of it. I’ll edit my post and put up a link to a gallery of them – it’s fun seeing the range of styles and laughing at all the wonderfully cliched titles and images :)

    Lynn, can’t wait to see your debut! (if you manage to avoid those wicked hexes)

  6. 6 Tomasino August 15, 2009 at 6:36 am

    I couldn’t resist. I think mine came out alright, too. You can see it here.

    I just love silly Photoshop things. Thanks for the fun.

  7. 7 Katherine Battersby August 15, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Hey, ‘Witness’ looks great! Tense and gripping – I can see the reviews now. James T Paxton is the perfect author name for a suspense / crime novel, too. Thanks for sharing (I’m with you in loving to muck around on photoshop).

    PS. I fixed the link for you – wordpress does silly things with comment links (worried about spam, I suppose)

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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