The Front Cover

The Front Cover uses the same sort of technique as the inside cover. I took the tree picture this last winter. We had one day when it snowed and it was cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground. It's some ten years since that happened in London. Do not tell me that global warming is not happening; it's happening here.

I took my camera to the local park, determined to get some pictures of snow on branches, and the patterns blown snow make on tree bark. The park was full of people with cameras and the same idea. One thing I did not realise was just how little light there is on an overcast winter day. My camera was really struggling. I could have done with a tripod. Still, I got a few vaguely usable pictures, depending on how you want to use them.

This particular picture is interesting because the bush in the foreground has wispy amber-coloured twigs (is it a willow?). This is useful for the cover treatment, because the amber turns dark blue in the final image. The snow also helps by darkening the upper edges of the branches, giving the impression that light is coming from the floor of the 'forest'.

The pink paint goes in the bottom layer.

Next comes the bronze paint with a 51% Difference filter applied.

The top layer contains the tree picture with a 100% Difference filter applied

Which all adds up to this: the cover picture for Linden Wood.

The pink paint effects are the same ones used for the inside front cover, I've just turned the scan round 90 degrees. The bronze layer is another paint daubing. It is done with bronze stamp-pad paint and some acrylics straight out of the tube, swirled around a bit with a brush onto textured water-colour paper.

If you have Paint-Shop Pro (Windows users can download a trial version), I have included a reduced version of the original [660 KB]. Open the file in Paint-Shop Pro, then open the layer pallet. This is accessed through a toolbar button that shows two overlapping red and cyan rectangles. Then experiment with the palette: click the glasses symbols, and operate the sliders. Click on the triangle to the right of the word Difference to try different effects.



The last steps are to add type and cut marks. I usually make the CD image the same as the cover, I just try to make sure that it is lined up so you see the same thing as you open the CD.

By now I have a template made up in Xara X that helps me do this. The cover template includes cut marks, because, yes, I cut the covers myself using a ruler and a scalpel (we never produce very many CDs).

I usually put the type on in Xara X , it's so much easier in a package like Xara to move it around and resize it until it looks right. At this stage, I had to bully Keith to come up with a title. He hates putting labels on his music, but you can't choose the type for a title until you know what the words are. He looked at the cover, and Linden Wood it became. The cover had ended up with a late sixties or early seventies feel, and I wanted an appropriate type face. I selected Piranesi BT, which came with Xara X. It's not quite perfect, but definitely the best I had without having to pay extra. I liked the clean pen-made lettering, with the slight irregularities in the baseline.