Cover Creation: The Many Parts of JUST FRIENDS
I use a lot of stock art for my covers. Photo shoots are great, illustrators are lovely... stock photography is readily available and inexpensive. That doesn't mean my covers are generic, though! I use multiple images and manipulate them to create new, unique scenes—like I did for Just Friends.
I'm sure you remember the winning cover for Just Friends: Chance and Jenny nuzzling on a trampoline. I knew as soon as I read the book that I wanted to use that scene on the cover. I found the perfect trampoline pretty easily. It looked semi-abandoned and had beautiful out-of-focus foliage in the background. But it also had two kids jumping on it! They had to go. I took them out, but I still needed to put Chance and Jenny in. I looked through stock couples until I found the photo you see on the cover. The perspective and the pose were just right, the couple was almost perfect, the color was all wrong. I cut them out of their background and adjusted the tones to match the trampoline photo. That's what you saw for cover voting.
As you know, what you vote on isn't final! Hair is one of the most difficult things to change, so I waited until I knew this cover was the winner before I tackled it. Chance got shaggier, the background got some extra color, the silhouettes got cleaner, Tiffany's name got color, the title font changed... And at the last minute we decided there was too much green and I changed the color of Jenny's sweatshirt, too. I can't show you every single exact step (I didn't even remember Tiffany's name had once been white until I looked back at the cover voting!), but I can show you a whole lot of them. Check out my process gif below: