Making of – Last Night on Earth book cover

I recently came across an article that heralded the importance of cover art, to which I absolutely agree. I think  the “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover…” saying is more applicable to people in Rachael Leigh Cook movies than books now.

At the moment, I’m co-editing a collection called “Last Night on Earth” – a novel approach to the anthology that travels through multiple authors’ final 24-hours – what they would do, how they would live, etc. Kind of like a crowd-sourced book. The stories range from bleak, funny, heartbreaking, despairing and hopeful.

I wanted to design a cover that encompassed all of those. This is what I came up with:

I knew I wanted it to be black and white. I wanted it to be stark. I had the idea of the world blown away like sand. You can kind of do this effect in Photoshop (with the smear finger), but I’ve never had much luck getting things to look organic with that. So I searched “earth stencil” in google which came up with:

I threw that into photoshop, inverted the image and made it black and white — so black continents on a white ocean. I printed that image out.

Using a Uni Ball Vision Elite BOLD pen, I scribbled on the edges of the continents. The ink in these pens is very susceptible to smearing, so after scribbling I ran my finger over it… creating that smeared/blown-sand look. I had to do it a couple times to get the wind-direction somewhat consistent.

Finally (original scan):

I liked how it looked slightly Stephen Gammell-ish, but ultimately didn’t like the garish, coal look. I threw it back into photoshop, re-inverted the image, and upped the levels. It looked good. It looked like sand/snow-blown. But it also looked glowing – as if everyone’s last night is going to be lit-up, celebratory. It seems bleak and uplifting at the same time. Singular and iconic.

Hopefully, you enjoy it.


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