The 1980s are renowned for their comedy horror genre and one of the most well-known of these was the 1988 movie, Elvira Mistress of the Dark. Directed by James Signorelli (Saturday Night Live Producer) the movie tells the tale of Elvira, a horror movie hostess who loses her job after refusing to sleep with her boss. With her figure hugging dress, drag queen make-up and a cleavage that is actually real (unlike many in the celebrity world of today), Elvira has built a massive cult following that has spanned across four decades. Robert and I still would have made sure that the Fearless Vampire Killers look would have been pretty sexy though, trust me, so it may not have affected a thing. FTN: Elvira Mistress of the Dark has become an extremely successful franchise – you have had everything from perfumes to beers and guitars to books!
FTN: It must feel amazing that after all these years Elvira still pulls major crowds at conventions and other public appearances, do you ever get any strange gifts from fans at these PAs? CP: I have gotten a few strange gifts like pasties and tassels someone knitted especially for me, the world’s tiniest Elvira sculpture made out of chewing gum and even a baby python, but the best thing about going to the conventions besides just meeting my fans, is the Elvira tattoos I get to see!
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Unsupported browserThis site was designed for modern browsers and tested with Internet Explorer version 10 and later. I'm a fan of horror, thriller and crime investigation novels, which are quite often linked with dirty and grungy covers. A book cover, in most cases (unless it's an eBook) is going to go to press, which means we have to set it up correctly. If you're setting up your document for a real book cover, whatever you do, do not guess the width of the spine! Head over to Photoshop and set up a new document; make sure your width is set to 243mm and your height is set to 180mm. This means the printers can assure you that there will be no white gaps on any of your documents so long as you set up the file correctly.
Crime, Horror and Thriller books are often associated with grungy covers, which means this tutorial is going to use a huge handful of textures, blending modes and brushes. I'm going to go with a blood red color scheme mixed with some warm browns, dark oranges and a pure white which will be used for the majority of the typography in our design - what color scheme you choose is entirely up to you, I suggest you play around with your design for as long as you have and see what you can come up with; after all that is the best way to learn and pick up new techniques.
With the new layer still selected, drag it down to the New Layer symbol at the bottom of the palette - this will duplicate the layer.
Already our cover is looking quite grungy, and so far we've only used one built in Photoshop Filter! Change the textures layer to Overlay, and change the layer name to "Texture 1." Drag the layer down to the New Layer icon at the bottom of the palette to duplicate the layer. The joy of using textures in your work is that you can create a stunning piece of work with a very minimal amount of time, effort and resources. I've just realized our whole design is turning a little bit orange - not so much that blood red I was hoping for!
Select a large, soft Eraser, and erase out some of the inner areas of your "Texture Blobs" layer. Make a New Layer and name it "Front Border." We'll be making some more darker areas where, later on, we will be presenting some text with a Spot UV overlay.
You should have more subtle grunge area at the top and bottom of your front cover now, which is suitable to present some nice typography later on in the tutorial. With the front cover and spine virtually complete (we will probably add a little more background texture later on!), it's time to move on to the back cover. Lower the opacity of the layer to 85% and then make another New Layer called "Back Cover Background 2." Lower the size of your brush a little (I lowered mine to 1000px) and choose pure black as your color.
With your marquee selection still active, fill it with pure black on a new layer named "Back Cover Black Overlay." Lower the opacity to 15%. Lower the Opacity of the new layer to 70% - you're spine should now merge in a little more between the back and front covers. I often take a few minutes throughout a project to tidy up my mess - it doesn't take long when we've been renaming our layers throughout the length of the tutorial, but now we have a total of 16 layers it's time to put them into some folders. Make a total of four new folders by clicking on the New Group icon at the bottom of the layers palette.
Change the size of the authors first name to 45pt and the size of the authors surname to 60pt - this is the time to make sure your text box is lined up with the bleed on the right-hand side of the document and the right side of your spine. Create a new layer beneath our authors name and call it "Author Shadow." Grab the Brush Tool, and with a medium-sized soft brush, paint a black shadowed beneath the authors name. Change the layers Blending Mode to Saturation, this will turn everything below it to greyscale.
Make a new layer beneath your book title layer, and using the same technique we used earlier, brush in a black shadowed area with a small, soft brush. Make sure the top of your blurb is lined up with the top of the authors name on the front page.
Reselect the Rectangular Marquee Tool and highlight a area at the bottom of our white ISBN background. Grab the Magic Wand Tool and click on the white areas of both images - hit the delete key to remove the background. Change the Blending Mode of the layer to Overlay, and using the Eraser remove some of the outer areas of the image - for example the part that is overlapping the spine. Go to Edit > Free Transform or press Command + T on the "Ammo Box 2" layer and scale it up a little - don't worry if it's a little pixelated - we're going for a grunge look and pixelation all adds to it! With the authors name layer selected, go to Edit > Free Transform or press Command + T and scale the selection down whilst holding the Shift Key to keep it in proportion. Callum ChapmanCallum Chapman is a self-employed blogger, author, graphic designer and illustrator. As a member of the Little Tiger Press review panel, we were recently sent two new books to review, Dr Duck & Dirty Bertie.
The book we were sent is a lovely large hardback version RRP ?10.99 which is probably more than I would spend on a book for my own children, however, it would make a really nice present. The story is about a bunch of poorly animals at the zoo and the keeper calls Dr Duck to come and make them all better. I think this book would appeal to children of all ages, particularly boys, as what child doesn’t find trumping funny?!


This book is aimed at children aged 3+ and RRP is ?5.99 which I think is good value for a book of this quality and is definitely in line with similar books. This book is all about a little boy called Bertie who has lots of dirty habits such as picking his nose and weeing in the flowerbeds much to the dismay of all of his family members! I think this book will appeal to most children’s senses of humor given all the naughty topics it covers! Yesterday we went to visit family and attend the Victorian Christmas market in their village.
Pretty Beauty & Books is petite little Mirvish Village shop offering a unique hybrid of beauty and books. Andrea, who went to school for cosmetics, tells me she has long wanted to open a mixed beauty and books store. She picks up a book called No More Dirty Looks, which details all the dirty little secrets (pun intended) about mainstream health and beauty products. Andrea, who has the natural beauty look pat, introduces me to some of the boutique's products. Next we move on to 100% Pure, a cosmetics line made using pigments from fruits and vegetables. Customers will soon be able to buy all of the boutique's products online through its soon-to-be online store. She finds out that an aunt has died leaving her an inheritance, so Elvira goes to her aunt’s small hometown to collect it, not realising the life-changing adventure in store for her. The character of Elvira was first created in 1981, both you and your friend Robert Redding came up with the image for the character, but you originally wanted to base the character’s image on Sharon Tate in the Fearless Vampire Killers. I think there is one crowd that just appreciates Elvira’s wacky sense of humour and another segment of her fan base that appreciates the horror aspect but I could have possibly lost the dirty old man contingent, which makes up a good 30 per cent of my fans! Was this always the plan for the character or was it a surprise how much people embraced her? A new comic book called Mistress of the Dark was announced for publication in 2013, could you tell us a little bit about that project?
Here you can stay up to date on all the latest news, reviews, articles & information across all mediums from games to action figures.
There are hundreds of different book sizes, but a few that are commonly used for fiction books.
There's a simple formula which can determine that width for you: you have to take the number of pages and divide that number by your text papers PPI (Pages Per Inch), which all depends on the weight (GSM) of your paper. A lot of people don't use rulers very much, but they can come in very handy for dragging out guides later on in the project. Also, with any print project, not just this one, always keep your text at least a few millimeters away from the bleed guide, this is just to be on the safe side incase a few of your prints aren't aligned correctly when being cut down to size.
The overlays on the Noise layers seem to have lightened our red up so much that it's turned to orange. Change the Blending Mode to Multiply, and lower the opacity to something you think is suitable for your piece; I used 20%.
In your marquee selection, paint a dark area at the top and bottom of your front cover - you could even paint a very small streak of black up the sides of your cover. Repeat the last two instructions again, this time making the border even thinner - remember to make a new layer!
The spine should be very subtle and easy to read, especially as we don't have too much space to work with.
The back cover will have a lot of text and important information on it, so it's important we don't show too much texture and keep it pretty plain.
Select the Brush Tool and choose a large, soft brush - again using the same color we used in the previous step.
Repeat the same step as before, this time not going as far into the center of the back cover as we did previously. This just takes a little color out of our back cover which will make it easier to present readable text. If you're not to sure what you're doing when it comes to pre-press and you send in a Photoshop document, having a well-named layered and grouped document really helps out and ultimately means the turnaround time for your print job will probably be quicker - we all win! Alternatively you could Alt-Click on the Text Layer and select Blending Options from the menu. We'll be using the following styles: Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Bevel and Emboss and Stroke. Select your mini description and book title together and change the Leading in the Character Palette to 30pt. Change the Amount to 25, the Distribution to Gaussian and make sure Monochromatic is unchecked.
I'm going to use "'A top-notch book!' - PSD Times" and "'Fantastically gripping!' - Vector Mag." I'm going to use Bold Condensed Myriad Pro for the review, and Condensed Myriad Pro for the reviewers name.
To do this, drag a new guide down from the ruler and line it up with the top of the authors name.
The easiest and quickest way to do this is to duplicate the two reviews from earlier and rearrange the new layers on the back cover beneath our blurb.
It's time to add some information the shops are going to require, such as a barcode, a ISBN number, a price and some other information. We're going to leave the spine until the last minute - we'll simply be duplicating, resizing and rearranging some items from the front cover to produce our spines content. If you find the Magic Wand Tool is selecting areas of the stock photo that you don't want to remove, try lowering the Tolerance in the Magic Wand Tools options at the top of the screen.
If you're following this tutorial for a real project, you will need to replace your barcode placeholder with a real barcode, as well as setting the file up ready for print - all printers require different settings, so it's always best to speak to them first!
Its mantra is clean living, and both Pretty's books and makeup reflect a certain lifestyle that's healthy for us, as well as the environment. Rather, they adhere to the principle of "less is more," promoting a more natural look with a crisp, clean finish.
First, she tells me about the line of Crawford Street skincare products, which are made locally by hand without artificial fragrances or dyes. In the meantime, though, if you're wondering about why There's Lead In Your Lipstick, head over to the Markham and Bloor.


Do you think Elvira’s popularity would have still spanned over four decades if you had gone with that image instead?
But as time passed, and the fan mail poured in, we saw the possibility of Elvira merchandise become a reality. You might find it easier to create another set of guides for this, or you can do what I do and use your eyes as a guide.
Set all three layers to Overlay and using a large, soft Eraser, get rid of some of the areas on each layer. Grab the same soft Eraser we had a minute ago and erase a few areas of our duplicated layer.
This should give us a dark, grungy front cover that fades into the background as it reaches the center of the page, which is where we will be featuring an object. Make a New Layer and name it "Spine Background." Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and select the spine - this should be relatively easy because, with Snap to Guides selected, it should automatically connect with our spine guides.
We will need to display: a blurb, a couple of one-line reviews, a price, a barcode, an ISBN number and maybe an authors web address and a designers web address. I'm going to use my name, "Callum Chapman" as the author, "BOOK COVER TUTS+" as the book title, "A Tuts+ Print Tutorial" as a mini description of the book, and a section of text from Tuts+ about page as the blurb. When designing for print, try to stay clear from Faux Bold and Italic as in the end they don't always come out as great as they could. From here we can change the leading and tracking, which is always important when it comes to typography - never bypass it!
The point of this step is to just make it that little bit easier to read, and makes the text pop out even more!
To preview the different Distances before applying the blur, make sure the preview box is checked. Select the Text Tool in your Book Cover document and make a new text box on the back cover; make sure it's center! To do this, I'm going to use the same color we used for the mini description above the book title we used on the front cover (#ffdada). The only problem we now have is some words are being separated and split in to two using a '-' symbol.
If they aren't lined up, use the cursor keys on your keyboard to nudge your blurb up or down until they are aligned correctly. With the Text Tool selected, click on the text and change the words to something different. Unfortunately, barcodes can't be read by scanners on busy backgrounds, so we're going to have to use a white block.
Duplicate the layer twice: Lower the first ones Opacity to 30%, and the second ones Opacity to 20%.
Locate your authors name layer and your book titles layer - select them both and drag them down to the 'Create New Layer' icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette to duplicate them. Delete the mini description, and spread "Book Cover Tuts+" across two lines by pressing the enter key to send any words after it onto a new line.
Once that has been done, duplicate the group, go to Edit > Free Transform or hit Command + T, resize to a suitable size and rotate the selection round.
And speaking of shades, Pretty offers the entire selection of nail polishes by Scotch Naturals ($17.50), which are all non-toxic and eco-friendly. This was after we were able to acquire the rights to license the image (which we were given in lieu of pay raises). If a book doesn't have a nice cover, it probably wouldn't catch our attention in the first place. Spines change width obviously depending on the length of the book, but in this case we're going to use 26mm, giving us a total dimension of 243x180mm including a 3mm bleed. You can use this awesome spine width calculator if you can't be bothered to work it out yourself! Rotate it so the grungier side of the texture is on your front cover, and upscale it to the same size as your document. Grab a soft brush and using the same color we used in the last instruction, paint the bottom and top of your spine, leaving a small area in the middle. Make a New Layer and name it "Spine Dark Background." With the same brush as we used in the previous instruction, brush over the left half of the spine using a color from the back cover (use the Eyedropper Tool to select a color). Change the Leading to 55pt - this will bring your authors surname closer to the bottom of your authors first name, but not too close! To fix this, hit enter to send the word to the next line - repeat this step until there are no more unwanted hyphens. Instead of finding an actual barcode, just use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to produce a rectangle to use as a placeholder. With the second duplicated ammo box still selected, hit the Shift + Cursor Down key to move the selection down - move it a little to the right and rotate it by going to Edit > Free Transform or by pressing Command + T and dragging the corners round. In this tutorial, I'll be teaching you how to create a dirty grunge book cover design complete with bleeds!
In the new window, insert 100% into the Amount field, and make sure Gaussian and Monochromatic are both selected. The easiest way to do this is by going to Edit > Free Transform or by pressing Command + T and then dragging the corners of the texture out whilst holding the Shift Key to keep everything in proportion. If you've used a different typeface or size to me, you might need to play round with these settings as they differ depending on the font and size used. Back over at Envato, copy and paste the information under the 'About Envato' heading, head back to your document and paste this in, too.
While I decide not to test that allegation, I do open a bottle and give it a whiff, and am pleasantly surprised by the lack of chemical smell. Repeat the process using measurements 3mm and 240mm, this time with the Vertical checkbox ticked. That's our 3mm bleed added to the document - our design will go right up to the edge of the document, but for those that don't know, when the document goes to print, 3mm from each side of the document will be chopped off.



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