Behold, the thrilling cover of PARTY HARD! Okay, now that that is out of my system, let us see how this thing got made.
Party Hard is a very different sort of book. So from the start, I knew it wasn’t going to be enough just to slap some fantasy art on the front and call it a day. That wouldn’t properly give the reader an idea of what they’ve signed on for. And to be honest, the book is ridiculous in ways that I am particularly proud of. So, my challenge was, to find a way to convey the right feel to the reader and stand out while doing it.
Like all design projects, there was really only one place to start. Research. That’s right, the most exciting part. I started off by asking myself what Party Hard was about? Now obviously the book has a story, but I can’t really get into that with just one picture. So I asked myself another question, what is Party Hard about at its core? That answer is simple. It’s about gaming, and gaming is exciting, fun and sometimes, truly epic. That’s why we play them. And since one of the main characters, MaxDamage24, is an epic badass (when he’s not falling down or dropping his guns) I wanted to push that feeling with the cover. I started by looking through dozens of vintage action movie posters.
From there, I got to work on the layout. The title had to be bold, the character poses had to be dynamic, and there had to be an element of motion to convey the action. Fortunately, I knew a good concept artist named, Kevin Eaton (who happened to also be a beta reader who loved the book.) We put together sketches and I finalized the layout concept.
With the hard part done, it was time to find an artist for the final work. I scoured Deviant Art and Patreon for someone that could make things come alive. But in the end, everyone good was not taking commisions at the time. I almost gave up and just bought a premade and moved on. Fortunately, some networking paid off and I got the name of someone up to the task. From there, magic happened.
The beauty of supplying an artist with concept art is that you get to skip over a lot of the back and forth. Of course, not everything works on the first try. Sometimes you have to remove some side boob or adjust how a dude is gripping the D. (No one likes it when the D is gripped wrong.)
But in the end, everything worked out and the result was fantastic.