K Hanson

Diana did excellent work for my book cover. She was very responsive when making adjustments. I never waited more than a day for any changes. I would absolutely hire her again.

$474 paid

26 custom designs

11pre-qualified designers

Learn more about Book Cover Design Contest

Winning design #14 by dienel96, Book Cover Design for K Hanson Contest
Gold Medal

designed by dienel96

Project description

Hello designers,

I have included a short synopsis of my book (this is NOT the back cover blurb), as well as notes on the two primary characters, Kayla and Olivia, whom I would like featured on the cover. The cover should mostly focus on those two characters, with Kayla being the main character and Olivia as a close second. I have included examples of covers that I like from other books. They are from a fantasy series, but I like the focus on the main character.

Also, this is the first in a series and I have another series in the works. If I pick your work, there is a very good chance there will be additional work for you as I complete future projects.

Title: Azrael Initiative

Author: K Hanson

Genre: Thriller

Setting: Our world, present day


Best friends Kayla Falk, an engineering student, and Olivia Bellamy, who is studying nursing, are nearing the end of their college career when terrorists attack their university. Through a combination of cleverness, bravery, and luck, the two manage to foil the deadly plot. A mysterious man from the United States government, Mr. Hightower, sees their potential and attempts to recruit Kayla and Olivia for a program to take on ISIS. They initially refuse, but another terrorist attack that strikes close to home pushes them to change their minds and join the Azrael Initiative.

After several months of hard training, the two women are dropped into Al-Raqqah, the capital of ISIS, in Syria. Once there, they must blend in with the locals as they strike from the shadows to kill ISIS leaders, destroy their facilities, and free captives. As Americans deep within enemy territory, they know that they will be killed if discovered. As women, they also know that they would suffer before death. Walking the line between vengeance and justice strains their relationship. As they work to resolve their differences, the symphony of brutality around them ultimately pushes them closer together and forges them into the warriors that they were meant to become.

When a British pilot, Captain Townsend, is shot down over the city and captured, Kayla and Olivia ask Hightower if they can intervene. However, he orders them to stand down to maintain their cover. Faced with a choice of either disobeying orders to save a man’s life or allowing ISIS to publicly execute him as they continue their mission, they consider a bold plan that puts everything they have worked for at risk.

Character Notes:

  • Main Female Lead:

    • Kayla Falk

    • Knot: Unsure/bored with career path

    • Selfless, Heroic

    • Personality: INTJ

    • Attributes:

      • Gender: Female

      • Age: 22

      • Ethnicity: Caucasian

      • Currently Studying: Mechanical Engineering

      • Height: 5’9

      • Weight: Athletic/Slender

      • Hair color: auburn

      • Eye color: green

      • Teeth: straight

      • Eyesight: no correction needed

      • Physical attractiveness: Quite attractive, girl next door variety of cute

      • Hairstyle: Neat, often in a ponytail

      • Clothing style: Casual

      • Jewelry: Necklace her younger brother made

      • Hygiene: Well kept

      • Birth order: Oldest of 2

      • # siblings: One younger brother, in elementary school

      • Wealth: Father is a mechanic, Mother is a teacher

      • City/Country: Medium Sized Town

      • Marital Status of parents: Married

      • culture: Midwestern

      • emotional climate of home: Stable

      • education: pursuing Engineering degree

      • era: modern

      • country and region: South Dakota, US

      • politics: Moderately Liberal

      • intelligence: Very intelligent

      • natural gifts/talents/deficiencies: good at tinkering, athletic, can come across as cold or arrogant to those that don’t know her

      • self-esteem: high

      • zeal and/or religiosity: has zeal for figuring things out discovers zeal for helping people

    • Voice

  • Kayla's best friend

    • Olivia Bellamy

    • Compassionate, charming

    • Personality: ESFP

    • Physical Attributes:

      • Gender: female

      • Age: 22

      • Ethnicity: caucasian

      • Currently Studying: Nursing

      • Height: 5’5

      • Weight: Athletic/Slender

      • Hair color: blonde

      • Eye color: blue

      • teeth: straight

      • attractiveness: Also quite attractive

      • Hairstyle: Loose, wavy

      • Clothing style: stylish

      • Hygiene: clean

      • Posture: energetic

      • Birth order: oldest

      • # siblings: younger sister, in high school

      • Wealth: middle class, father is engineer

      • City/Country: City

      • Marital Status of parents: Mother deceased

      • culture: midwestern

      • emotional climate of home: Dad raising two daughters

      • education: pursuing nursing degree

      • relationship with parent of same gender: Mother deceased

      • country and region: Minnesota, US

      • politics: liberal

      • intelligence: above average

      • natural gifts/talents/deficiencies: great at reading emotions, doesn’t always see big picture

Update: I also just added a file showing Lara Croft, as a possible inspiration for the character design for Kayla Falk. Kayla's hair is auburn, so redder than Lara's, but hopefully, the general idea will be helpful.

Update 2: Here are some more details on the look of the characters and specifications for formatting, size, etc. I will add the sample images to the brief, also.

For Kayla's look, her auburn hair is an important feature and should be in a ponytail down to the upper middle of her back. It should have a shade similar to this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/f9/11/ce/f911ced3786c1c2eefb1ce925368c450.jpg
Kayla has alert, intelligent bright green eyes and sharper features. I don't envision anything that stands out in terms of freckles, moles, or tattoos for her. The necklace can look something like this: http://www.ourthriftyideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2014-06-25-15.26.46.jpg

Olivia has wavy, loose blonde hair. Olivia has softer features and cheerful blue eyes. She has some light freckling on her cheeks.

For clothing, they should be dressed like American college students. Both will be wearing blue jeans. Kayla should have a look like this: https://sirendreamers.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/in-front-women-high-low-button-front-cardigan-sweater-rich-black.jpg
Olivia should have a look like this: http://comps.canstockphoto.com/can-stock-photo_csp7429322.jpg
The example for Olivia is also a good idea for her hair.

Their expressions should be serious and they should both have pistols in their right hand, at their side.

I'm not looking for a specific scene from the book to be illustrated. I want it to feature the two main characters, with Kayla being the most prominent. The background can be something abstract. A smoky, fiery look would work.

As for specifications for the cover, I am intending on publishing through Amazon. Here are the requirements that they set out:

File Types

Kindle Direct Publishing currently accepts two types of files for cover images:

We apply additional compression to images when displaying them on the website. For best results, please upload your images with minimal compression. 

The ideal size of your cover art must have a height/width ratio of at least 8:5 (1.6). In pixels, this means the shortest side should be at least 625 pixels, and the longest side should be at least 1000 pixels. To ensure the best quality for your image, particularly on high definition devices, the longest side of the image should be 2500 pixels.

Ideal dimensions for TIFF files are 650 x 1000 pixels. Ideal dimensions for JPEG files are 625 x 2500 pixels.

Important: We cannot accept any images larger than 10,000 pixels on the longest side.


Your cover image must be less than 50MB. Try to avoid compressing your files, as this can affect the quality of your cover when displayed on reading devices. Be sure to save your file with 72 dots per inch (DPI).


Product images display on the Amazon website using the RGB (red, green, blue) color mode or profile. RGB is the color mode native to the web and many color screen displays, as these three colors displayed at varying levels of intensity create over 16 million colors. When saving and uploading your cover image file, save your file ONLY as RGB - not CMYK or sRGB- for the color profile. You can usually find this option in the File saving dialog of image manipulation programs such as Photoshop.

Some programs may also refer to RGB color as 'True Color' in some programs. If in doubt, try opening a JPG inside Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. If a JPG opens fine inside a web browser, it's most likely okay to use as a cover image.

Make sure to save your image without color separation. This is usually a pre-press or color palette option. Use your image manipulation program or image analysis tool (some are available free online) to verify that your image file doesn't have color separation.

Use color images whenever possible and relevant. In addition to the Kindle black and white E Ink reading devices, customers can read your books on full color Fire devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, PC or Mac.

I hope that helps. I will add all of those images into the brief, as well. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Read full brief


  • Hi, I tried a dark dangerous impact, to accentuate the heat and flames of the attacks and added an effect to the drawing board. #26
  • Hi, I tried a more dangerous impact, to accentuate the heat and flames of the attacks. #25
  • Thank you for the submission. I'm not sure that this is the style I prefer. However, you did capture the elements I described in the brief. Thank you for your work and your time. #22
  • Thank you for the submission. I'm not sure that this is the style I prefer. However, you did capture the elements I described in the brief. Thank you for your work and your time. #21
  • Thank you for the submission. I'm not sure that this is the style I'm looking for, however, you did capture the elements I described in the brief. Thank you for your work and your time. #20
  • This is my first proposal for this project.
    I hope that I approached the brief and to have imagined Kayla and Olivia correctly. #21
  • i like this contest but This is a waste of time. it's clear that the winner is selected
    • @xiilll I'm not sure what the point of this comment is. There is still time in the contest and people are welcome to make a submission if they think they can top the leading design. Also, I am currently on vacation and looking at them on a tiny screen on my phone. I'd rather view them on a larger screen before I make a decision.

  • Some minor cleanup on their faces, and cut the border down to the title alone(easily removable). 100% all original, no clip art, no stock photos... #19
    • @weiesnbach Thank you for the submission. It looks great. At this point, I don't have any more suggestions. A couple of other people have asked questions in the comments, so I want to give them a chance to make a submission. I expect to make a final decision in the next couple days. Whatever I decide, your work has been excellent and you've been very professional. Thank you for your work and your time.

  • Hi, Hope you like my design. Thanks #12
    • About #12, @alishweb Is this intended to be your submission, or is this just supposed to be a concept? If this is your submission, is this original work? Some of the art in this looks familiar. If you've used other assets, do you have the rights to use those images?

    • @alishweb I was polite earlier, but from your other submissions, it is clear that you are not using original work. This entry has been reported for plagiarism.

  • Hi,

    Here girls are bigger than previous submissions.

    Hope you like the design.

    Thanks and Regards #17
    • @alishweb I don't want to be insulting, but you've clearly just taken images from other sources and pasted them together. Your first submission included a copyrighted image from a video game and I will be reporting it for plagiarism. By submitting such work, you are wasting both your time and mine.

  • Hello again, thank you for your feedback. Here is the preview of the cover with lighter title. I hope you like it. Regards! Diana #14
    • About #14, @dienel96 This is exactly what I want. I love everything about it. The contest runs for a few more days, so I won't make a final decision yet. However, this is the cover to beat. I don't have any more suggestions or adjustments for you to make. Truly amazing work. Thank you so much!

    • @KHanson Im glad you like it. Ill be here for anyother updates. Regards!

  • Hi,

    I have remove a mistake here so I have submitted again.

    Thanks #16
  • Hi,

    I have edited more as per your messages from comments section.

    I have used images of both girls from google but I have given my own effects on every things regarding face, body, background, hair, posture.

    I have also added more background images e.g plane, tank, fire with my own effects.

    Please compare my both submission then you can understand what I did.

    Thanks and Best Regards

  • ALL picture taken from Google. #13
    • @omairdzyner Do you have the rights to use these images? One of them is clearly from the Tomb Raider video games. Please submit original work.

  • Gun hand relaxed, breasts reduced, text simplified and moved to foreground. #10
    • About #10, @weiesnbach Thanks for the updated submission. You hit the tweaks that I was looking for. I think I like it better without the border, but I appreciate seeing both options. If you have any other places you want to clean up, I'd like to see that. I don't think I have any specific suggestions from my end. Thanks again!

  • Hi,

    If you are interested with my design of work then I can make some changes as per your instructions.

    I am really very much interested for this project and I can give you more updates as per your requirements.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    Thanks and Best Regards
  • ...and with a border. #11
  • Hello again, this is the revised cover with your latest requests. I hope you like it. With high resolution images will be much better. Regards! Diana #9
    • About #9, @dienel96 Hi Diana, thanks for the adjustments! The one final suggestion I have is to make the title text a little brighter. Some parts of the title, in particular the right side, are a little on the dark side. Making the font a little brighter will help it stand out. Aside from that, I love it. Excellent work!

  • There's still some rough parts here and there, but I figured I'd better get some feedback before I get too much further along. All original, no stock photos or clip art.

    Feedback is greatly appreciated. #8
    • About #8, @weiesnbach Thank you for the entry. Overall, it definitely captures the sort of thing I'm looking for. All of the elements are there.

      Just a few suggestions for things to tweak. First, could you straighten Olivia's arms just a bit so they look a little more relaxed? Also with Olivia, perhaps it's the angle she's standing, but she looks a little bustier than I imagined.

      The other items are with the title text. Could you take out the curve so it's just straight text? Also, could you adjust the size and/or position so that it is not partially obscured by Kayla's head?

      Aside from those details, I like the direction you're going and am eager to see where it goes from here. Thanks again for the submission!

  • Hello, this is the revised preview cover with some new improvments for background. I hope you like it. Regards! Diana #7
    • About #7, @dienel96 Awesome, thanks for making those adjustments. I think you're just about there. The only suggestion I have for this version is to try making the background a bit darker and dimming the bright lights and fire a bit, while still having the characters stand out, if that makes sense. Otherwise, the characters themselves are excellent.