Make room for the title
It’s crucial to account for the title of the book during the early stages of cover design. The title is the most important component of a cover and so it’s wise to either leave enough space for it or design the cover around it. In this case, I left the bottom of the composition free for the title, credits and other text elements that come from the publisher.
In the story Stilian is an archer and so the bow and arrow is a repeating visual throughout the comic. I thought it would be fitting to see the two main characters riddled with arrows. Here, they have the additional function of guiding the viewer’s eye.
Directing the viewer
I used a split-complementary colour scheme here where the tertiary greens and browns make up 90 per cent of the image, while the saturated reds have the sole purpose of directing the viewer’s eye. In this case, they’re taken from Veina’s hair, follow a circular path along the arrows and the falling rubies, and finally towards the title at the bottom.
Pushing the story
Small things can help to tell the story better and add layers to the cover illustration. Here, if we look at Stilian’s right hand, he seems to be grasping a handful of rubies and gold coins; if he lets go of them then he’d be able to free himself. That is a representation of Stilian’s character as a thief in the comic.
The power of flat darks
Flat blacks or darks help to ground an image. Areas that are seemingly inactive, like a heavy chunk of black in a painting, often function as negative space or breathing space for a painting. These can be used with great effect to make the rest of the image look more active in comparison.