Creating a Lulu Book Cover with Pixel
To review, in the last article we uploaded our sample text document in .pdf format to the Lulu Web site. Now, we need to create our custom cover. With Lulu, you can upload two different images, one for the front and one for the back. Or, you can design your own wrap-around cover, including the spine.
I chose to upload two different images for this tutorial. Wrap-around images look nice, but making one for an 8.5 x 11 book requires 1242 x 810 PostScript points. At 300 dpi, a file in Pixel can be large and difficult to manipulate.
Lulu's standards for an 8.5 x 11 book cover are 2663 x 3525 pixels and no less than 300 dpi. In Pixel, go to File→New, and a creation box opens (Figure 4). Enter the dimensions as shown in the example. In the lower-right corner, you will see the memory requirements for this file are 35.8MB. Press OK, and Pixel creates a blank document template (Figure 5). Now you have a blank page to create your cover art.
To keep artwork simple for the tutorial, use your mouse to change the foreground color as shown in Figure 6. Pixel opens a color chooser for you to select nearly any shade you want (Figure 7). Choose your colors wisely. Not all will transfer into the shade you expect during printing. You should consider using a color management system if you have specific needs.
Next, I decided to use Gradient G to spice up the background of the cover. Use your mouse to select the gradient button on the left of your screen (Figure 8). Drag your mouse by pressing the left-mouse button from the top of your cover to the bottom. This tells Pixel which direction to draw the gradient (Figure 9). I mentioned earlier that Pixel's operation is intuitive. When you select the gradient button, look to the bottom right of the screen; the program gives you hints on how to use the feature or effect (Figure 10).
After the screen updates, you should have a sample cover that looks similar to the one shown in Figure 11.
Because a blank cover won't do much good on the bookshelf, we need to add text. Adding text is similar to adding color and gradients.
Use your mouse to select the text button (Figure 12). Position your cursor over any area on the working cover and use it to expand the text box. When complete, type and format the text for the cover (Figure 13). After typing the text, use the character controls in the bottom right-hand side of the screen to adjust any preferences with the text.
At this point, you can add other colors, images or just about anything else you like for the cover art.