This is a tutorial on how to create an eBook cover (graphic boxshot) using gimp software. These steps are easy to follow, and if you plan on creating your own ebook, then a nice cover design can definitely help you sell it. This is an extensive step-by-step tutorial, and I’d greatly appreciate it if you could consider linking to this on your blog or website if you’ve found it helpful.
If you want to add a visual component to your e-Book, then you can create a simple 3D cover image. Creating a cover (or e-Book image) is completely optional, but recommended for best conversions and success. I have seen many online e-Book sellers who market their e-Books without a cover image, but most professionals these days use 3d image (even if it’s a free eBook that they give away).
Other sellers will use very professional looking cover images to market their e-Book. Whether you decide to create a cover or not, just keep this in mind: It would be better to have no cover, than to have an ugly, unprofessional looking cover. If your cover design looks bad, it will probably say to the customer, “This e-Book cover is bad, and so is the content-don’t buy it. We’re newbies.”
Also, if you are going to sell your eBook with companies such as Clickbank, Amazon (Kindle), Createspace.com, Lulu.com, or any other company, I would indeed recommend creating a cover.
To create a cover, you will need to use a graphic design or image editing software program. There are various programs you can use to do this. Here are some programs you can use: Adobe Photoshop, Corel Pain Shop, Microsoft Paint, and Gimp. Adobe Photoshop is probably the best software you can use, however, it is also the most expensive & complicated to learn.
You can download a free trial of Photoshop at adobe.com. Corel Paint Shop Pro is another great software package you can use to create a cover image. It is less expensive, and you can also download a free trial by going to corel.com. Microsoft Paint and Gimp are both free programs, however, Gimp is a much better program.
You can also create a cover image with this software. You can download and use Gimp. This program is great & I have used it frequently. In fact, this entire tutorial will be using Gimp, and to get your own copy or to find out more, then download the great free photo editing software.
Now, I will go into a detailed tutorial on how you can create a simple, attractive e-Book cover design. I will use Gimp for this tutorial since it is available as a free download, however, if you use another software program the process will be very similar. If you are going to use Gimp, go ahead & install it on your machine when you are ready to create your cover.
Before you start to create your image, you should think about the title, the colors you want to use, and any other design aspects you need to consider.
It is a good idea to browse online for a few minutes & study e-Book designs that you like. Try to see what they have done, how they have placed shadows & reflections.
This is a great way to gather ideas for your own design. Also, you may want to sketch a rough design on paper before you use the software. When you are ready, you can begin to create your cover.
Also, let me briefly mention that I have a great online guide that covers the following information: How to write and sell an eBook, how to get an ISBN for an eBook, how to copyright an eBook, as well as the best way to sell eBooks. You may be interested in those subjects as well.
The process of designing an eBook cover usually needs to be completed in this order: Insert the background color or image (preferably with a slight gradient), add any borders, insert any images, and then write the text.
Next, you will create the side of the e-Book, distort the image to make it look 3-D, draw the remaining portion of the e-Book, create a shadow, and finally create a reflection or shadow to give the appearance of a true 3-D image (optional).
- How to Create eBook Covers Using Gimp
- Adding Logos or Paintbrush effects to eBooks Using Gimp
- How to Add Titles and Text to eBook Cover with Gimp
- Changing Perspective and Skewing in Gimp
- Making eBook Covers 3-D with Gimp
- Adding Reflections or Shadows to eBook Designs with Gimp
First, open up the Gimp software. Go to File–> New. You will then see a small box display that asks you the image size. For the cover, select about 800 width X 600 height. This should be enough room to create your image.
Next, select the rectangle select tool in the upper right hand corner & draw a rectangle in the picture. This will be the front cover. Now, at this point you should think about the basic background color that you want to use for your e-Book.
For this example, I am going to use a simple maroon background. Also, to create a shadow effect, I am going to use a gradient to fill the background.
To do this, I first select a gradient color. I will use maroon as my foreground, and white as my background. Then, I select the gradient fill button and click inside of the rectangle that I have already drawn & drag the line & release.
Then it will show the color inside. You may want to drag the cursor a few times at a diagonal angle until you get a nice white glare in the upper left hand corner as you see below.
Now that I have the basic background color drawn, I will insert a small white line down the far left-hand side of the background from top to bottom. This makes for a nice glare effect for the edge. To do this, I select the paint brush.
Then, I select a small line, and select the color white as the foreground color.
Then, I click the left mouse button in the lower left-hand corner where I want to start my line & I release the mouse button. Then, I hit shift to see the line function.
To draw the line, stretch it all the way to the top & then click the mouse to draw the line. Now I have a faint white line down the entire left side of the background.
Next, I want to make a basic yellow border around the top of the e-Book to give the appearance of a trim border. Again, I will select the paint brush as before, change my color to yellow, use the shift key to draw a straight line, and then click the mouse to draw it from the top left to the top right as pictured below.
I will then draw another yellow stripe on the bottom of the book using the exact same method as described above. At this point, the e-Book is starting to take shape, but it could use an image or two. Since I am making this e-Book up just to show you how to create one, I will pretend this is going to be an e-Book about vines.
Since it is going to be about vines, I will try to incorporate an image that relates to vines. Remember, you do not necessarily need an image. I am just doing this to show you a few things with the software. It is very possible to create a dazzling looking cover graphic using only Gimp & no images at all.
For the image, I am going to use Gimp’s built-in paint brush with the special vine tip. To use this, I simply select the paint brush tool from the menu, and then I click the brush button at the bottom. Then I size the vine brush using the scale. After that, I simply click the mouse button on the e-Book cover where I would like for the vine to be shown. This is super simple & only takes a couple of seconds as pictured below.
You can also use this same technique with any picture you want. If you want to use another picture, you simply open up a new picture by clicking New–> Open as layer –> and then open the picture you want to insert on your graphic. You can delete any portion you want, and add neat effects to your images.
At this point, I have created a simple background, added a nice trim look with yellow, and inserted the vine image with the paint brush. Now, I am finished with the graphics & I would like to add my title.
To do this, I will simply click on the A symbol to write text. Then I will choose the color, font size, and style. For the main title, I will use white text, 39 font, and Sans Serif type. For the subtitle at the bottom, I will use yellow font (size 24) with staccato222 BT font style. I simple click on the part where I would like the words to appear, and then type them in the box as pictured below.
Now I am going to flatten the image. This simply compresses all of the different layers that have been used (text, vine, & background) into one simple image. To do this, you go to the top menu & select Image–> Flatten Image.
Let me just stop right here & tell you that this could be used as an e-Book graphic. Most online bookstores (such as Amazon.com) use simple one dimensional images to represent books. You could use this image in a similar way. If you want to stop here & use this image, just go to File–>Save As and save the image in a location where you can easily find it (and in a format such as .bmp, .jpeg., or .png. For this tutorial, however, I will keep going to show you how you can create the nice 3-D look.
Now the front cover is completely finished. So what I need to do is create the 3-D look. First, I will use the perspective tool to change the shape of the front cover. I will do this by selecting the perspective tool, and then clicking on the e-Book image.
This will select the image, and I can then click on the four corners & drag the image with my mouse. Try to drag it so that it is slightly bent upwards toward the upper right as shown below. When you are finished hit “transform.”
When you have finished changing the structure of the picture, you can create the side image. To do this, I will use the rectangle select tool that I used at the beginning to draw the background. This time, however, I will draw a much smaller size.
I will then use the gradient fill tool just like I did earlier when I created the maroon background. Make sure to have the lighter side facing the front cover. Next, I will add the yellow lines on the top & bottom as pictured below.
Now I will add some text to the side bar. This is also optional, and the e-Book will look fine without the extra text. To do this, simply select the text button just like earlier. Then select the font size, color, and style. When you are ready, type out the text you want to appear. The text will be in a horizontal position, but it needs to be vertical so it can fit inside the long rectangle.
To fix this, select the side bar first & use the rotate & move button to move it away & rotate it on its side. Then use the text button to write your message as shown below.
When you have finished writing your text in the sidebar, go to the menu & select Image–>Flatten Image. This will then compress your work thus far. Then, use the rectangle selector tool to draw an outline around the side bar.
Then click the rotate button on the side menu, and rotate the bar to its normal vertical position.
Next, we will want to skew the side bar using the perspective tool. Do this by selecting the perspective tool, and then dragging the side bar until it is in a position where the upper left corner is up higher than the right corner and the lower left corner is higher than the lower right corner as pictured below. When you have got it in a good position, click the transform button.
Okay, after that you can move on.
Okay, at this point we have created a nice eBook cover thus far, however, there is still work to be done.
Again, this is great to do if you plan on selling your eBook on eBay.com, Createspace.com, Lulu.com, Amazon.com (Kindle), Clickbank.net, or your own website. Also, if you haven’t yet downloaded the free graphics software I am using to do this, make sure to check that out.
Okay, back to the tutorial. The next thing you need to do at this point is select the “move” tool from the sidebar & carefully move the sidebar until it is right up against the front cover. It should really start to look like a 3-D e-Book now as pictured below.
If you need to adjust your image, just reselect it & use the perspective tool until it looks the way you want it to look. You may have to work with it for a couple of minutes to get it to match up & look correct. This is what it should look like after you move the sidebar up to the front cover:
Now it is really starting to look like an e-Book. It is now time to put the finishing touches on your cover. Let’s start by drawing the top portion of the e-Book. First, select the yellow paint brush again & draw a line from the end of the yellow on the sidebar towards the front cover as shown below. Don’t forget about using the shift key to draw a line.
Then, simply draw another line (slightly smaller) using either a light black or gray color from the end of the yellow line to the other yellow line. This will create the look of pages. You can then go back and draw a few very light lines going across the top to give the appearance of pages. You can finish the image by adding a small triangle of gray to give the illusion of a shadow. The picture below shows the small shadow I drew in & the finished e-Book. Of course, this is a very simple shadow, and you could use a gradient to make it a little more realistic.
How to Make a Reflection Under Your eBook or Boxshot Cover
If you would rather make a reflection under the e-Book instead of the gray shadow, you can do that as well. It will probably take you a few more minutes to do this. Here is how you make a reflection. First go to the top menu & select Layer–> Duplicate layer.
This will add a new layer over the old layer of the exact same image. Next, select the perspective tool & then click on the image. Then select the corners of the perspective tool & move them towards the center of the picture to make the image smaller. You should begin to see the other layer behind it as shown below.
Keep working with the image until it is upside down, and just below the original image as shown below. Also, it helps to first outline the cover image with the select rectangle tool first, then use the perspective. That way, you can reduce the amount of white space around the image. When you have positioned the image, click the transform button.
Now, I don’t want the entire reflection to show up. Therefore I will use the eraser tool, and erase about half of the lower image. So now, the image is cut off around the vine image on the lower e-Book cover. Then I will make the image more transparent, so that it looks more like an actual reflection. To do this I will use the layer box as pictured below.
If the layer box is not already open, you can open it by going to the top menu & selecting Dialogs–> Layers. This will then open the layer box. After it is opened, I select the layer that says “background copy.” This represents the small image we manipulated under the real cover. Now, I will simply click on the “Opacity” bar and move it left until the image is barely visible. This makes it look just like a reflection as seen below:
Make eBook Reflection Translucent with Gimp
After you have created your e-Book image, you are ready to save it. I would make a few backup copies as well. Also, save it in a few different formats so you can see which format has the lowest file size without compromising the quality of the image. Simply go to File–> Save As.
Finished eBook Cover Design Using Gimp
Remember, if you have a lot of white space behind the e-Book, it will also save this space in the image. Therefore, you may want to open a new layer & copy only the image with no white space behind it. Or, you can simply open up Microsoft Paint & use the selector tool to drag it & remove the excess space behind it & re-save the image.
You’re finished! That wasn’t so bad was it? It only took about 30 minutes to complete the cover. If you are unfamiliar with the software, or you want to use more sophisticated features, it may take longer. This is really a great software package & you can create very professional looking e-Book covers with it.
There is no need to spend hundreds on other software packages or design services when this is available on the internet as a free download. Also, just remember that you do not necessarily need a cover image. I just feel it does add quality to your e-Book & sales page. You don’t have to make it as sophisticated as the one I made, and if you want to spend even more time you can make it even better than the one I made by adding your own images! Either way, now you know how to easily create you own e-Book cover images for free! Also, if you appreciate this tutorial, please let others know about it.