Monday 29 September 2014

Crafting appealing cover art - guest post by Julia Stilchen #ChaBooChaLite

Cover Design for "SuperHERo Tales" created by Julia Stilchen
Crafting Appealing Cover Art for your Chapter Book

The book cover designing process can be exciting and an easy process if you understand what to look for and plan out the concept.

Before you get started, it is best that you have done your research and have defined your target audience and age range. There are generally two types of chapter books: early readers (6-8 years) and older chapter books (7-9 years).

Chapter book covers are often depicted with a main character especially if it is a character driven series. 

Things you should consider for a concept:

  • Think about what message you want to portray with the main character. The message needs to stay consistent with the main theme of the story.
  • Does the typography of the title match with the theme? Is it legible? Script fonts are to be avoided in most situations because they can get lost or they just don’t have much readability as a clean and bold type would.
  • Are you using elements that are also consistent with the theme?
  • Choice of color palette - colorful, dark and mysterious, etc.
  • The layout and composition. Do not depict characters standing idle in a stick position. Have them in the middle of an action. This is far more engaging and appears more natural. Keep in mind things like spacing and contrast, so that both the title and the cover art stand-out but do not conflict with the other.
  • Genre/tone. If your book has a lot of humor, then showing the main character in a humorous moment is ideal and consistent to the tone of the book. Same goes with other genres.
  • Visual metaphors that evoke an emotion or intrigue in the viewer.
  • Think about the type of art style you want to use. If your book has comic book elements, the cover art style should have that also.

A book cover should be attention grabbing. Its goal is to generate interest. It is a marketing tool. You want kids to stop and beg their parents to buy your book, and the cover is the first thing the viewer will see. First impressions are important to gain interest and help increase sales.

With the amount of books published today, you want to put forth the best design possible. So a cut and paste design really doesn't stand up against its competitors especially if they are professionally designed.

Research and study other chapter book covers. What appeals to you most likely has appeal to kids too. Observe products that are sold in stores, packaged for children. Having a graphic design background, it helped me to understand the emotion behind a design. Does it evoke intrigue? Excitement? Humor? Adventure?

Design several concepts as rough drafts. Compare and choose one that contains the best potential while keeping the above elements in mind. But keep things simple. Do not overload the cover with unnecessary clutter, or else the typography and visual message you are portraying will get lost. The saying “Less is More” holds a lot of truth. Kids these days have shorter attention spans, so narrow the art down to focus the theme/message of the story without it being overwhelming to view it.

Have fun with it, and the more you practice, the more familiar the entire process becomes in designing appealing book covers!


Julia Stilchen loves writing stories for all ages. She works from her bat cave, mischievously plotting mishaps for her characters as they embark on fantastical adventures in otherworldly places to confront dangerous and daunting villains! Muhahahah! When she is not plotting or daydreaming, she spends time with her husband and two children where they create adventures of their own. She created the book cover for "SupeHero Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories" and also puts together wonderful book trailers. To learn more and see current developments, visit online at


Alas, there are no more prizes to offer this month, but I hope you will leave a comment anyway. 

1 comment:

  1. thank you Julia. You give some excellent tips here. I am not quite up to cover design yet so any new thing I can learn is a step in the right direction.