Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Ranger Martin Cover Design

If someone were to have told me this time two years ago I’d be in the process of releasing my second book Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion, I would have said they were nuts. And yet, here I am. Another book release. Another cover. I’m not ready to take that yacht cruise I’ve talked about just yet. But maybe one day, when all the work is complete and I’m itching to try something new, I’ll indulge in a little R&R. For now, I only have this story to keep you entertained—this Freedom Friday story about the new book cover.

Original photo I'd shot for the cover
Original photo I’d shot for the cover

As with my first book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, I left the cover design process to the very last minute. It was not because I procrastinated, not by any means, but because I didn’t know how best to represent the story through art. I knew it needed a flying saucer, that was a given. I also knew it had to have a dark sky, again, another given. What kept me from going further was how all the elements would fit with one another in a nice little package.

Like last year, I had to dig deep in my 16,000+ original photos collection in an effort to find a handful of images that would work. Not an easy task. I was looking for woods scenery, but then I didn’t know how the spaceship would fit into the design. I was lost and time was slowly creeping away.

It wasn’t until I showed my son a few mockups that the creative juices began to flow. He had some amazing ideas and I wanted to incorporate all of them. One of his thoughts involved an onlooker watching the saucer from behind a tree. The forest scene would be reminiscent of those WWII movies where an escaped POW would be observing enemy planes passing overhead in the distance. I knew of the perfect picture and had no trouble finding it.

His next idea included deep dark clouds with a storm raging in the background. For a while, I wanted that, too. I tried adding clouds from a series of photos I’d taken a few years ago, but none them really worked. I ended up tossing the images and drawing my own clouds. Yep, them there are fake clouds, all right.

The last piece of the puzzle was the saucer. In reality, though, it was the first thing I’d worked on.

So begs the question—what did I use for the saucer? Initially, I wanted to throw a Frisbee in the air, take a shot and paste it into the scene. But my lack of motivation and lack of Frisbee prevented me for doing such a thing. I also had a hubcap I could have held from a fishing pole, yet again, my lazy self said, “I don’t think so.”

I eventually decided to work with a sightseeing landmark, cropping it, playing with the lighting, distorting it to have it look like the saucer in my head. The challenge was the bottom. Because the landmark is a tower, I had to erase the foundation and replace the underside with a pattern. Wouldn’t real life be simple if by the stroke of a mouse buildings could disappear? I’d totally replace them with parks and trees. By the way, if you can guess the landmark, I’ll give you the biggest kudos ever.

After I completed the work, I showed it again to my son. He liked it, but there was still something missing. I thought so, too. It needed color. That’s when I added the green ray firing from the bottom of the ship, the same ray featured in the first book of the series. Once I had drawn that, I knew there wasn’t anything left to do with it. I had finished.

And that’s the story behind the cover to my new book, folks. I really hope you enjoyed it, but most of all, I really hope you like the cover.


Did I miss anything? Do you have a question I may have not answered?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

23 thoughts on “Ranger Martin Cover Design

  1. I just ♡ how you came about to your final cove. It surely isn’t an easy process but at least you had something to start with. Final product looks.absolutely stunning and eye-catching. cannot wait to read to read this new book. Give me a hollar if you need anything.ツ

  2. Congratulations on a job well done. You’re right about clouds; they’re very tricky to pull from another image and make them look like a natural background. I didn’t know they were ‘faked’ until you explained it.

    It’s a great process, designing your own book cover. I think I came up with about twelve versions for my first, but the second novel’s cover was done in one draft.

    And the landmark: I also thought CN Tower, but checking the images on Duckduckgo I guess there’s a lot of photo editing and ‘stretching’ the top of the pod to make it look like your spaceship, so I’m not sure now.

  3. I’m curious to know what program(s) you used for the cover design . . . latest version of PhotoShop? Something else? In any case, congratulations, Jack. The book’s looking good!

  4. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to design your own covers! I think that’s one of the liberating things about self-publishing, the picture illustrates your take on your book, not some other artist’s impression. Nice one, Jack 🙂

  5. I think it would’ve been interesting to show abandoned ruins with a spaceship hovering overhead ( Macchu Pichu, Stonehenge, a stone head from Rapa Nui, an old Hindu temple ). A kind of juxtaposition, but that’s just me. Or even an abandoned rocket launch site.

  6. We see invasions in the shape of saucers, I am now afraid of tea cups and riding in Disneyland in teacups is definitely out. But in reality that is not how they will come. It will be on particles floating in space so small as not to be detected. Finally on earth they will come together and the menace will be here. Most diseases are they’re entry points. They morph through virus stages and fungus. Ebola is one strain, and there are so many more. It is the tiny that will take us over and time is on their side. I posted the start of a science fiction story for you Visitors from Afar a few days ago. Did you see it and if you did what did you think?

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