Recently I came across a post on the Twirling Pages blog about making book aesthetics. I’ve been thinking about doing this for my books, because I love seeing them on Tumblr. I made them a little differently, using the programs I’m more comfortable with.
What are book aesthetics? It’s usually a grid of images (or sometimes, gifs) that create the mood of a book or book character (or movie). They’re really pretty and I’ve definitely found myself checking out a book I’m unfamiliar with based on a book aesthetic. They’re a bit like a mood board.
First, you want to collect a bunch of images that represent a book to you. How many will depend on how many images you want in your grid. For mine, I selected 5 images and a quote. The quote doesn’t have to be from the book, but could represent a character’s mindset. I had a whole bunch of images I had found when I was redesigning the Wolf Point covers that worked well.
My book aesthetic for Hitchhikers includes a couple of images of roads, because so much of the story takes place along the highway. I wanted lonely-looking images that were dark and quiet, because that’s the feel of this book to me. The quote, “Things would be better if I just disappeared” is from Hitchhikers, and it really encapsulates Dan’s mindset both before the novel starts and at a critical point in the story.
I found most of my images on Pixabay. Then I decided to use Pixlr to edit the images into a grid. I love Canva, but their photo collage templates couldn’t be customized the way I wanted. The Pixlr web app has a collage component, and I selected a 2×3 grid.
Choosing a filter that will even out the photos and make them have the same tone is a big part of making a book aesthetic. For the Hitchhikers aesthetic, I muted the colors in the images. For the Dreamwalkers aesthetic, below, I used brighter filters.
The quote is not from Dreamwalkers, but a lot of the story revolves around Kayla’s ability to dreamwalk, so it worked. The bright colors work with the quote’s tones, and give the images an ethereal, dream-like feel. Kayla is a lot more sarcastic and while the story can be dark, Kayla has a sense of humor, so the colors fit with how the story makes me feel.
Scavengers has a bit of a similar feel to Hitchhikers, but Zeke is more optimistic and comfortable in nature, so I gave all the images a muted green tone.
Here’s the book aesthetic for Warriors:
I really enjoyed making these! I’ve always loved making book covers for my works-in-progress, but this offers a few more options. I especially love the idea of making mood boards for each character.