Creating Mock Ups

Exercise: Making a Mock Up

When starting this exercise I was reading ‘The Colour Purple’ by Alice Walker. It has quite a boring cover so I thought it would work well as a basis for making a mock up.

The story is centred very strongly around three women and how they find solidarity through each other so I wanted to create an illustration of these women for the front cover. I googled the film of the same name so I could get some reference images for the appearances of these women. I found images of Oprah Winfrey as Sofia and Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and drew them from observation as a starting point on which to base my illustration.

It was when I was looking for a photo of the character Shug Avery that I found an image that was perfect for my illustration. It includes the two main characters and clearly shows the tender relationship between them. It was also perfect because of the light on their faces. To challenge myself, and also to stay in keeping with the original book jacket design, I had decided to try and create a more graphic style illustration and thought the light in this image could really transfer well.

I drew the image from observation, then made copies and used these to map out the lines I wanted to keep in my final illustration. I kept in mind the learning from the previous exercise in terms of editing out line. I just wanted to keep the lines that formed the main structure and those needed to show where the light falls. Not only is it the title of the book, but the colour purple is a hugely important theme in the book, representing Celie’s spiritual discovery. Therefore the final illustration needed to be in purple so I tried out different shades to work out how many I would need.

From there I scaled up the image to create line art to be scanned into photoshop for colouring. I made the head of Shug Avery slightly larger than than of Celie and placed it slightly higher. This is because Celie looks up to Shug and sees her an as idol. She is the one who guides Celie onto a new spiritual path.

Pencil wasn’t clear enough to be able to select the outline in photoshop so I went over it in pen.

I chose to use flat colour because that was the graphic look I was going for and tried out different shades of purple, finally settling on those in the illustration below. I think the shapes created by the light in the photo have transferred really well, especially in Shug. The lines used depict light and shadow and also highlight her bone structure. The white outline provides the negative space needed when looking at a lot of purple. In future work like this, I could experiment with thickness of line and explore adding highlights and shadow into the colouring.

Pleased with my illustration for the book cover, I then started to make mock ups in photoshop. I looked through various different fonts, but chose one similar to the one used on the original cover. I also decided to use the same colours, purple, white and silver. The publisher’s logo is sourced from

These first three designs have the title, illustration and author’s name in the same position in the design. The only difference is the placing of the words in the text. Within this design, I think the text looks most effective in the centred position (shown in the third image).

In my next two mock ups, I removed the white section completely. I don’t think the first of these is as successful as the previous ones because the illustration and author’s name are not clear enough. In the second, I changed the font colour to white to make the authors name stand out more which worked better but I think the illustration doesn’t pop enough on the silver background.

The next three mock ups all have purple as the dominant colour with the illustration blending in to the background which I think looks effective. The author’s name can be read clearly in the silver. I tried text in different positions including vertical text which really didn’t work and was difficult to read. Having the text and illustration both placed centrally didn’t look right either.

The design below is my chosen mock up. I think it conveys the themes in the book effectively and clearly shows the author and publisher information. Placing the text to the right with the illustration centrally means the design is balanced and the eye is led from left to centre finally resting on the author’s name.