Book cover design tutorials (best art and fonts + photoshop tips)

I started this series of videos from a quick list of 7 book cover design tips for indie authors. That’s a 40 minute video you can watch if you want. But I lost my list and tried listening, and only found six.

1. title font = genre.
2. colors = mood
3. setting = place and time
4. humanizing element = story is people
5. typography = professionalism
6. ? I missed this one, did anyone else catch it?
7. don’t repeat elements.

Next my plan was to go through each step carefully, but I’m so bad at following numbered lists, I couldn’t make it to seven. Instead, I have a decent video on the first 3: fonts, background mood and setting.

Then a video about choosing an appropriate and relevant character… then I went back to backgrounds. Then two very cool photoshop tutorials on adding lights, magic and glow effects to fantasy book covers, and a final video on fonts and typography.

I was writing a novel all month so my brain was mush, but these book cover design tutorials are pretty useful even if they aren’t organized well.

Start with this…

I played around today with some covers and made a shorter video going through everything. So if you want some quick tips without watching ALL of these videos, start here:

1. fonts/mood

2. character

3. background

4. lighting/magic

5. typography


Need more help?

While other people charge hundreds of dollars for courses on book cover design, I keep making free resources because it’s so vital for indie authors to understand how to make a great cover, even if they’re on a budget. If you decide you’re ready for a professional book cover design, here’s my cover design website.

If you want a veritable trove of cover design tutorials, formatting templates, and some extra book marketing and promotion help, this link will give you a big discount to my self-publishing and book design bundle. It’s only $37, so even if you just want to send a tip for the 6+ hours of free design tutorials above, it’s an easy way to say thanks.

Most of what I do is free, thankless, and unpaid, but I enjoy sharing. If this resource has helped you, consider passing it on to an author friend (as a subtle hint that they have ugly covers maybe) or linking to it from your own blog.

About Derek Murphy

Hey there! I'm a philosophy dropout and book cover designer with a PhD in Literature. After spending a decade as a starving artist, I vowed to create the life of freedom my restless spirit demands. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write young adult fantasy novels and do a few editorial critiques to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles. FREE GUIDE: Book Marketing is Dead.