Mountain of Whispers final book cover!

Posted on June 26, 2010 (Subscribe to Blog)

Thanks to all the comments received about the Mountain of Whispers cover, I realized how silly it looked with the original dragon. The smaller dragon looked slightly better but a few people suggested I'd swatted a bug and ruined a perfectly good scene. Sadly, they were right.

So I set about finding a better dragon. There were two problems with this. The first problem was finding a decent dragon that resembled the one used on the cover of Labyrinth of Fire. The second problem was finding a picture in a useful flying pose that I could use on this new cover, and finding one that was a suitably high resolution for printing.

I failed.

But then I came across some free software called Daz 3D Studio. It's available for both Mac and Windows that allows you to manipulate and tweak pre-made models (people, animals, creatures, etc) and create artwork that you can call your own. I bought the Millennium Dragon pack, which is basically a 3D computer model of a dragon – and not just any dragon, but THE dragon used on Labyrinth of Fire. Now I understand where that image came from!

Daz 3D Studio

When loaded into the studio software, you can move the dragon around, reposition his tail, feet, head, wings, as well as fine details like giving him longer or shorter claws, adding spikes, making him thin or fat, and so on. It's amazing! You can even open and close his mouth. THEN, you can turn the model around and view the pose from any angle. Once you get it exactly where you want it, you export the view as a high quality image. Brilliant!

Mountain of WhispersClick for larger view

So I was finally able to create the dragon I wanted, and in a high resolution for printing. The new cover is done! (And if you don't like it, well...)

I still had to do a little jiggery-pokery to soften the edges and so on, and I know it's not photo-real. But I kind of like the effect, so there. And I think younger readers will love it.

In the future, this software will enable me to create other book covers as well as "scenes" from the books. For instance, I plan to add webisodes to this website in the near future, such as a chapter written from Abigail's point of view detailing how she first transformed into... well, you know. It would be great to create a graphic for that. Basically, I'd be illustrating my own novels and stories.

Maybe later I can create a cover for Island of Fog that has a sea serpent or manticore on it, something interesting like that. I've been unable to do this before, because I haven't been able to find good graphics.

Hmm, I may have to give up writing. This 3D studio is way too much fun. I may have to give up working, too. Maybe my wife can support us for the next few months while I play...

Comment by LAURA CANNING on Saturday, June 26, 2010...

That's *much* better. I wasn't fussed on the earlier version as I thought it looked too much like the Island of Fog cover. Looks great now!

Comment by MICHELLE MAGILL on Sunday, June 27, 2010...

Looks great... I'll be checking out that software!

I can't wait to read the third book... you thought it would be ready early July... my heart hopes you are still on track. *wink*

Comment by NIGEL ROWE on Sunday, June 27, 2010...

Much, much better, Keith! The software sounds amazing. Maybe you could do a whole set
of illustrations to some Enid Blyton books.....

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Sunday, June 27, 2010...

Glad y'all like! Michelle, I'm still kind of on track, yes... I had originally planned for June, but you know how it is. I'm aiming to publish in the next two weeks though (still early July ish?).

Comment by NEPOLEAN on Monday, June 28, 2010...

This cover looks good. The green colour dragon blends well with the background.

Comment by ROGER ESCHBACHER on Wednesday, June 30, 2010...

A very impressive cover, Keith! Well done!

Comment by ANONYMOUS on Monday, July 5, 2010...

This is not cunneted to the new cover but i don't know where shord post it anyway 1 time not shore when i saw page about the books Keith Robinson had writen and possball cintuashn of island of fog by some 1 else pornt of vew

ps sorry about my bad spelling

Comment by ROGOZ on Tuesday, July 6, 2010...

I was just musing on the impact Soper's drawings had on me at age 9 - they were all fairly basic really & it would add story impact to do likewise if you felt they were 'just right'. Maybe on your next project PDF version. I read Ransome was so upset with graphic artists that he did his own [unfortunately he couldn't draw for nuts].

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