Bad Cover Art…Redesigned: Star Soldiers

Welcome to Bad Cover Art…Redesigned! Where I bring you the most horrible of all cover art I can find on the world wide web and try to come up with an alternative (that I hope is better).

This week I bring you: Star Soldiers by Andre Norton

According to Amazon, Star Soldiers is about the first starships from Earth bursting out into the universe and being unexpectedly met with controlling aliens who already have a tight grip on the galaxy! Dun dun duuuun. It actually sounds pretty good…


I now bring to you Star Soldiers…Redesigned!

Thoughts – 

This week I wanted to do a different genre because I’ve done a lot of Fantasy covers so far and I thought I’d maybe delve into Romance or Sci-fi. I had a look at the romance section on Amazon but a lot of the really bad covers involved topless men in very suggestive poses and, after me and Stella had a good old giggle at a couple of them, I decided that it probably wasn’t best to showcase them here.

So off I hopped to the Sci-fi section and found the above cover and was just like…think I have a winner! Even though I feel the cover is bad I don’t actually mind the drawing on it, I kind of like it in a sort of nostalgic way but I just hate hate hate the font. It just looks like someone put the cover in Word and slapped on some word art. I also kind of dislike how it’s all squished together and the layout is a bit off. How the font goes over the head of the guy in the picture and the quote is just smooshed in there. To my eyes it’s not very well proportioned.

After I found the cover at work, I was on the train home and began to think about how I might change the cover. I knew straight away that I wanted a strong silhouette of a soldier in front of a night sky and stood on some rocks. Although I was a bit worried that this wouldn’t immediately scream Sci-fi. It might just scream ‘Historical war fiction!’ Thus, I thought it might be a good idea to have like binary code instead of stars or something similar to indicate the sci-fi element other than the title. I knew I had a few technology brushes already because I’d been making desktop backgrounds with them. So I found me some soldier brushes and a nice texture that had stars but not…overwhelming stars and put everything together but when I tried to add more to that initial image it was just off and too cluttered. Then I stumbled across the font and thought that even though the soldier image isn’t in your face Sci-fi, the nice touch of the font would help along with that notion.

I then had the problem of having too much dead space to the left. I thought that maybe I could put some planets or moons here. Maybe a space ship or a star or two! But again it just became complicated and I just started to like the simplicity of the soldier and the starry sky. So after talking to Stella a bit I decided to see if the quote would work well there and I think it somewhat does because there’s not as much dead space but the impacting image is still intact.

Again I think this is more of an updating the older cover to be more modern. The image of the soldier may not particularly fit with the notion of space suits and space ships and aliens and things but it certainly inspired me to want to write something! You all know I like simplicity and simple signifiers and I think the new cover is quite literal but mysterious at the same time. I wanna know who that guy is!

Process – 

Step 1 – Proportion background to canvas

Step 2 – Add rocks!

Step 3 – Add soldier! (I actually when through the ENTIRE set of soldier brushes, placing each one on the cover separately until I decided I liked this one best)

Step 4 – Fontage! (decide on colour, size, messing with blending mode, etc. I did the same as the previous cover. I set it to Overlay and duplicated the layer).

Step 5 – In blending options I gave the soldier a very slight outer glow to pick him out a bit more.

Step 6 – Play with Moon and Planet brushes

Step 7 – Settle on quote and place it in.

Step 8 – Add author name. (Originally I was going to put this bottom left but I thought, given the quote, the author name should be more prominent).

Elements – 

Main Font – Zian

Author Font – OCR A Std

Quote Font – Tamil MN





Let me know what you think! And if you see any awful covers about.

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4 Responses

  1. Cole says:

    This is brilliant! Absolutely striking. I am awestruck at the transformation.

  2. Unconsoled says:


  3. Heather says:

    It’s cool, but I really think you should have kept the soldier’s sword instead of the gun! As much as you’re re-designing the cover, you can’t re-design the times D:

    I love the text, back-drop, silhouette etc. though! Great job!

  4. Nathan says:

    If I saw your design as the cover art in a bookstore, I’d buy it without even reading the description.

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