Bad Cover Art…Redesigned: The Wizard’s Castle

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: The Wizard’s Castle by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald

According to fantasticfiction, The Wizard’s Castle is about Randal and his friends, Lys and Walter vowing to guard a shipment of gold. However, they encounter enemies that could keep them trapped forever in the castle of a warlord! Exciting stuff. I particularly enjoy how this cover says ‘Troll’ in the right bottom corner.

I now bring to you The Wizard’s Castle…Redesigned!

I kind of had so much fun making this redesigned cover that I don’t even mind if it doesn’t look like an actual cover!

Thoughts – 

There’s not much to go into detail with in terms of my thought process for this cover. I saw the original and thought that I could find an interesting castle brush and texture and make a new decent cover. So I went to my best friend Deviantart and searched for Castles in the brushes section. That was when I stumbled across a brush set that was made up of brushes to make maps with and I suppose I got a little excited! I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could make a sort of treasure map with the castle in the middle. A sort of X marks the spot type deal.

Considering the original book is a children’s book, I’m not sure how appealing this cover would be for children because it’s fairly bland, not very colourful and kind of muted. It’s the sort of cover you would expect to see for maybe a historical fiction or something. However, the treasure map feel could appeal to children. The idea of making it certainly appealed to the child within me.

Process – 

I’m unfortunately not going to make a 6-step process image this week because it was a lot more complicated than the previous two covers. For example, there are 20 separate layers in the photoshop file. By comparison there are about 5 or 6 layers in the last two covers.

The map elements, such as the trees, mountains, houses, castle are all separate brushes and so I pieced them all together to be how they appear. Then there are the bits of text on the cover that are actually from a Marauder’s Map brush set. I then downloaded a coffee stain brush set and applied those around the image and I downloaded a ink smudge brush set which I applied around the image. One of the ink smudges is most evident in the top left corner. The little footpath and X mark are also separate brushes.

So with this cover more than the other two, it’s a lot more about the separate elements being slowly pieced together to make the bigger picture. I enjoy these sorts of covers about as much as the minimalist ones. Even though I would say this is quite minimal.

Elements – 

Font – From fontspace and is called ‘treasure map deadhand’

Texture –


Map brush sets –

Coffee Stain –

Ink Smudge –

Path –

X Mark –

Phew! So there we go. I hope you enjoyed this week’s instalment. Let me know what you think

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6 Responses

  1. Blues says:

    I love it! That cover really catches my eye and I think it’d make an excellent book jacket.

    (Everyone knows wizards are cooler than pirates)

  2. Lauren says:

    This is so cool! Love your re-imaginings, and I have a thing for maps lately so this post is perfect. 😛

  3. Niteowl says:

    Great job! I suppose if you were actually replacing the cover and wanted to make it more child-friendly, you could have some elements in different colors, like green trees or the letters in random colors. Love it as is though. Definitely more inviting than the wolf/angler fish cross breed. 😛

  4. Trident says:

    Cool. I like the minimalistic approach you take. Curious…it seems these novels I see with terrible covers are of the fantasy or romance genres. Do you think there is a reason for this?

  5. beckiw says:

    I think for romance the bad covers are mainly for the books that are just cheap things women can pick up and read for a cheap thrill. You know the ones with the ridiculous muscled men in floppy shirts. In this case it’s probably to do with getting them out fast and cheap for consumers. So not much is put into designing new and interesting covers because there’s no time/money and those covers are so synonymous with those types of books.

    With Fantasy I’m not sure…maybe because it’s about the fantastical and so they get bit a bit over the top with the covers? Maybe like I said above that some are trying to appeal to children. It’s difficult to say but I think that covers for Fantasy are starting to shift a little. I see less books with the kind of artist impressions you saw a few decades ago. Things seem to be getting more minimal.

  6. Kyllorac says:

    I feel compelled to mention that Troll was the publisher, hence the bright yellow logo for instant recognition value.

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