Creating the Cover Part 3- final colours

Over the last two weeks I’ve talked about the initial designs and how Cate and I refined those designs. Now- here’s how I coloured it in.

I started off doing all the shading in light brown, just as I did for all the internal pages. This helps me see from the start where the light sources will be. (For those digitally minded, the light brown layers are actually a dark brown colour, but set to 40% opacity. As I’m using Corel Painter, I’ve set the layer mode to Gel rather than the standard Photoshop choice of Multiply- Gel seems to let the colours interact the way they would do if they were watercolour paint. I’ve found it produces richer colours).

Here’s the brown tones (what I’ve called the ‘sepia layer’) half done.


And the sepia layer completed. If I can see a sense of depth in the picture at this stage, then I know that it’s all going to look okay once the colours are completed.


Next up was the background colours. The sky and cloud tones are very important as they contribute greatly to the effect of light.


Next I added in the waves, with layers of sea green and blue, blended together to make a smudgy watery effect. I also added in the basic colours for Josh and Wolverine.


I added the borders back in- all seems to be looking good at this stage. The colours were balancing well.


Just out of interest, here’s the same image but with the sepia layer taken out. You’ll see that the colours lose their richness.


Next up was the Viking ship and the Norse Gods…


…and some extra shading for Josh and Wolverine, to make them pop from the page. I’ve also added lightbeams behind the Norse Gods.


I then took the file into Photoshop and added shading and highlights to the border- subtle things to add to the illusion of depth.


So here’s the final cover, front and back. All done!


Author: James Foley

James Foley makes children’s books for children who read books. If you’re a child and you’re eating his books, you’re doing it wrong. His books include Brobot, Dungzilla, Gastronauts, Chickensaurus, Toffle Towers, My Dead Bunny and There's Something Weird About Lena. James lives in Perth with his wife, 2 kids, and a labrador. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd and comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at .

5 thoughts on “Creating the Cover Part 3- final colours”

  1. Looks fantastic James, I bet you are proud of your artwork!!!I think the waves in the lower corner really set it all off nicely. I would love to get Corel Painter. Do you know if there are courses available to teach how to use it? Regards, Philippa

    1. Thanks Philippa 🙂 I’m not sure about training courses in Australia, a google search should bring up what’s available (though I suspect there’d be more training opportunities on the east coast than in Perth). I learnt it through trial and error and by checking out other people’s blogs. Joan A Hamilton’s blog was especially useful-

      1. Thanks James, I’ll check out the blog from Joan Hamilton.
        Being a primary school librarian, I’ll definitely keep my eye out for this one when it’s released, I’ll enjoy it as much as the kids, having seen the processes behind it all. 🙂

      2. Thank *you*, Joan 🙂 your tutorials really helped, especially the one where you put up the settings for your blender brush. It was a life-saver.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: