I need a book cover design (suitable for both digital and paperback printing) for a crime thriller entitled STEALING STURGIS. The cover will require photographic manipulation, some illustration, and typography work (specs below).
Title: Stealing Sturgis
Author: Matthew Iden
Optional add-in (as a tattoo, etc.): By the author of the Marty Singer mysteries
This project is a gritty standalone crime thriller in the style of Elmore Leonard or Quentin Tarantino. Two friends—one an ex-con, the other a straight-shooter—hatch a plan to steal a priceless Harley Davidson motorcycle at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota in order to pay off a crushing debt that Lee, the straight shooter, is saddled with back home in rural Virginia.
Along the way, a hillbilly mobster, a washed-up Hollywood star, and a beautiful rising movie actress get thrown into the mix. Money, sex, and violence come crashing together in a final showdown at the rally.
In my mind’s eye, I see a photographic close-up of a biker’s (man) torso—cropped at the head or mid-face and waist so there’s no identification. The man is wearing a leather vest or a sleeveless black shirt. The arms are muscular, scarred, and tattooed in a biker style. No full “sleeves” or hipster tattoos (think Hells Angel, not the Illustrated Man).
Either the largest tattoo OR a patch/faded silk-screen on the shirt/vest (your choice) has the title and the author’s name as a kind of logo in Gothic script around a centerpiece like a flaming skull, screaming eagle, burning wheels, etc. (something biker and violent). Feel free to be creative here.
The idea is to make the title/author combo look like a natural part of the arm tattoo or the vest artwork, i.e., I don’t want the title/author slapped across a picture…I can do that myself. I want it to look like the design was either tattooed on the skin of the biker or printed/patched onto the shirt. I understand that, in the case of the tattoo idea, the pic would have to be zoomed in quite close—that’s fine.
IMPORTANT: the title's font still has to be legible despite the natural setting I'm demanding (not too many folds or angles) and it has to be legible at a thumbnail size, as well (see specs, below).
Nice additions: mild blood spatter on the arm or shirt, rings or arm bands (skull, gun, motorcycle motif), slight humor in the background tattoos is okay (like a “MOM” tattoo). Adding a gun in the design would be okay and communicate the crime novel aspect, but might be hard to squeeze in there with the other requirements.
THEME, STYLE, AND TONE
I want a look that readers understand is dangerous, thrilling, and violent. The biker/motorcycle/Harley component should be obvious without actually spelling it out.
WHAT I DON'T WANT
Despite the direction of the novel’s plot, I don't want motorcycles or roads in the design unless they're stylized tattoos or patches.
STOCK PHOTOS AND FONTS
I’m happy to pay for any stock photography and/or fonts for the winning proposal within reason ($100 for photography, $25 for fonts). Please do not use photography or fonts you do not own or have not paid for. Please don't use images, names, or symbols of well-known biker organizations (Hells Angels, Mongols, etc.) or companies (Harley Davidson).
(only included for the style/attitude of the portrait—I don’t want simple text over a picture, as mentioned above)
The Road to Hell
(included for the cut-off aspect of the body only. I don’t want the motorcycle in there and it doesn’t have the type of integration of the title I’ve requested.)
Nasty, Brutish, and Short
(included for the use of the tattoo, but I’d very much prefer something more sophisticated and technically apt)
This is for the Mara Salvatrucha
(same as "Nasty," above: the script and title-as-tattoo are what I'm looking for, but this is not a very sophisticated example)
Full color, 2820 x 4500 pixels (portrait orientation), 300 dpi for use as both a print and digital cover. Delivered as a .psd file.
Ideally, the artwork should include the title (“Stealing Sturgis”) and my name (“Matthew Iden”), all in Gothic, but legible, typography. The title (at least) must be legible at a thumbnail size of 114 x 160px--the standard display size on Amazon.