Welcome to Jordan Castillo Price, here to share some of the secrets behind the artwork of the Channeling Morpheus series, featuring two of my personal all-time favorite characters Michael and Wild Bill.
For a limited time only, Payback, book one and the erotically charged intro to these guys, is available for just 99¢. Details and purchase links are below.
Hi Lisa, thanks for inviting me to talk cover art on TNA! In my last day job I was a graphic designer for a public library. I made LOTS of signs and bookmarks :D. Before that I worked for a silkscreen company, and I also have six years of art school under my belt. So the advent of indie publishing is a huge deal for me. One of the main reasons I went indie was that I had specific ideas for the look of my work, from the cover art to the paperback typography to the marketing graphics and swag, and I wanted to craft it myself.
When the Channeling Morpheus series went into its second electronic edition, I regained the rights and had the chance to make it more cohesive, since originally it was published (to much confusion) as two separate series, Channeling Morpheus and Sweet Oblivion. In my mind, the most iconic photo of the series’ original covers was the image of Michael from Payback, with his thick eyeliner, piercing silver eyes, pale skin and long hair. That photo was black and white, high contrast and tightly cropped, which meant that whatever other images I used, they would also need to be high contrast, tightly cropped B&W shots by the time I was done with them, too.
Each cover has a different focus. Usually it’s the character’s eyes, though in Vertigo it’s easy to get lost in Wild Bill’s lips for a day or two. Michael’s final cover, Swarm, is focused on the hypnotic whorl of his facial stubble.
The sepia-stained and smudgy atmosphere overlaying the black-and-white helps unify the ebook series and give it some texture and interest. The typeface is simple but slightly distressed and textured.
In paperback, I find covers that are mostly white read as non-fiction books. So for the paperback covers I went with more of a Pop Art style, with stark fields of solid color and visible halftone patterns.
A few years passed between the paperbacks coming out and the advent of the ebook box set gaining popularity. I wanted to make sure the box sets looked really current, so I took the opportunity to give the art another fresh look.
This time I wanted to emphasize the series’ heat level, so I took a cue from the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album cover and went straight for the crotch. I also wanted to highlight the grungy, gritty tone, so I went more distressed with the typography, and also skewed it at an angle. Angled text was something I’d been seeing a lot of in thriller books and films, and I’d been eager to try it. I brought back the monochromatic rusty sepia look so that the original ebook covers would work on the spines in the 3-D box set images.
Readers who’d like to see more of my high-resolution cover art can download a complimentary JCP cover art gallery HERE
There’s also a free quick-and-dirty short to entice you HERE: Heaven
And the first Channeling Morpheus novella is on sale for 99¢ through February 5 at the following sites: