First things first: I have often wanted to make book covers for WIPs-- just as inspiration or to take a break from writing. At first, they were awful, because all I had was Picasa.
And then I got into Polyvore. Polyvore is actually a fashion site. But hey-- rules were made to be broken.
Step 1: Go to Polyvore.
Step 2: Click "CREATE."
I'm going to make a sample book cover just as an example and it's not very good, but it'll do for this post. I decided to work on a cover for a contemporary YA book.
When you click on create you'll come across a blank screen (if it's not blank just click the "new" button on the upper left) and something that looks like this on the right of it:
As you could probably tell from the very messy yellow circle, we will be mainly using the embellishments tab.
First things first: pick a color for your cover. There are hundreds.
I like lime green so that's what I'm going with.
Next pick symbols you want. (Ex: clouds, arrows, etc.)
I chose these babies:
Okay. So, now you pick whatever else you want on the cover. People? Cats? Unicorns? Polyvore has a search engine and a TON of pics. Be warned that a lot of it is fashion centered so you'll have to be specific.
I added a messily cropped girl. (You can crop images by clicking on them and selecting the "Custom..." button on the upper right of the blank space.)
I put the girl behind the green and, since she was no longer visible, decided to mute down the green and make it semi-see through. You do that using the little thingy next to "certain frogs." (See this is why I shouldn't do tutorials. My descriptions are terrible.)
BUT WAIT, I thought, SOMETHING IS MISSING.
Since this is a contemporary, I wanted to add something that would make that more obvious.
What could be better than lined paper?
Remember to put the pattern/overlay behind the color unless you want it to be black and white. You do that by clicking the "backwards" button.
And then I added my name and finished.
This site has a bunch of cool stuff like paper hearts, tape, pencil smudges, etc. to add to covers. It's definitely not limited to what I chose to use.
Hope this helps!