I need a book cover for an unconventional western novel. Although the book has a mixed bag of colorful characters, and humor, I want the cover to have a kind of elegance, while at the same time capturing the offbeat nature of the book.
The title of the book is called Bull, who is the nutty, circus raised horse in the book and who is featured as one of the main characters throughout the novel. He is a beautiful spotted grey horse with a black mane and stands 20 hands tall when most horses are between 14 to 15 hands. (see his attached image, and note that his right ear has been partially shot off)
Basically, I suppose I'm thinking that the imagery should be a combination of those things associated with a western novel (horse, gun, cowboy, Indian), but combined with images that reveal the unconventional, offbeat aspects of the story, and which arouses curiosity and an alluring intrigue about what's inside the book. I'm trying to avoid the cliched looking western novel cover
What I'm NOT trying to capture with the cover is something that is a humorous menagerie of images, because this book actually has an overarching serious tone since lives are at stake, but it also has some light and dark humor and visual humor. In other words, when someone sees this book on the shelf, I don't want him or her to look at it and think there is silliness inside, but I want them to be intrigued by the cover. I want the cover to have some mystery to it. At the same time, I don't just want the horse on the cover because then someone may think it's just a story about a horse. It’s basically a rescue story, with humor, to see if the Laredo marshal, with his unusual horse and his odd assortment of posse volunteers, can get past the bandits and Indians in order to keep the four kidnapped women from being sold to the Mexican brothel.
Here are some other descriptions for imagery inspiration: During the chase, one of the women, who is a 15 year-old girl, is wreaking havoc with the bandits with her clever use of "biological" weapons in the forms of lethal creepy crawlers and also a bat with rabies. A Mexican redleg tarantula is also in her bag of tricks. The dwarfs in the book are twins and both have bright, died blue hair. They have taken a couple of outhouses that they have installed side-by-side on a flatbed wagon, painted one red and one yellow, installed large clock dials, 4 digit number tumblers, and a cow bell on the front doors, and with deception, use them convince their audience that one dwarf can travel through time. The vicious Comanche chief has killed their other 2 dwarf brothers who had bright red hair and yellow hair and wears their scalps on the front of his vest. He also has long braided black hair with the small skulls of two rats tied to the end of the braids. He wears crows’ feet as earrings.
I saw a cover for the book “Night Circus” that was completely black that had white silhouettes of elements or characters. (see attached image). Maybe the black with white silhouettes works, and maybe it doesn't. I really don't know. It's one of those "I'll know it when I see it" kind of things. But if black and white mostly, then maybe it also includes other single color elements like you see with the red cloth across the black & white tent in the background of the Night Circus, which, in my story's case could also include a circus tent because of Bull's time with the circus, plus red and black striped legs of a Mexican redleg tarantula, red outhouse time machine, black ace of spades card, a 3-layered cake with gallows & rope noose on the top layer, women silhouettes, and a cowboy etc., Perhaps the horse, Bull, is a grey silhouette with black mane. He sometimes snatches the hats off of people and tosses them, so maybe the horse image can also include a cowboy hat in his mouth. Also, one of the main bandits has a malformed arm that was broken badly in the elbow as a child, so it's locked into place like the arm of a praying mantis, (which is what the marshal told him it looks like) but it's his gun arm that allows him to quick draw when pulling his weapon from a custom-made holster he wears across his chest. So, would we have a silhouette of a praying mantis arm holding a six shooter?
If going with the black & white concept, then there are other colors to achieve a similar look, which may even be better than black. For example, what about a red background with white and black silhouettes, or a white background with black and red silhouettes. Or a tea-stained, sandy brown background with gossamer, creamy silhouettes with red and turquoise accents. Think about WHAT COLOR COMBINATIONS could create A BEAUTIFUL COVER that has intriguing imagery that makes the potential customer quite curious as to what this book is about.
I really don’t know if the book cover is better served if having many colors, or if it’s like the 3 or 4 color toned, silhouetted style I described. Maybe some gossamer, ghostly silhouette of Bull with other imagery inside his silhouette? I really don’t know. I'll leave it up to you. I have attached some images of book covers that may capture some of the tone or mood” of what I’m thinking.
With regard to the book dimensions, I would be using the most popular 6" x 9" size for paperback book. You can choose whatever font style you think works best with the cover art.
Thank you for your efforts !!!!