How to create an ebook cover with Gimp

How to create an ebook cover with Gimp

If you are planning to publish your own ebook, a cover can go a long way in getting people to take notice of it. There is the possibility of hiring a graphic designer to create a cover for you, and whilst this can be a reliable way of getting good results it can also be costly.

Another alternative is to use software specifically designed to create ebook covers, but again this will involve expense.

A much cheaper option is to download the free to use Gimp graphics program and create your own ebook cover. The cost will be zero and you may be surprised at how easy and quickly a cover can be created.

Although the design to the right may not be the most eye catching you have seen, the basics of creating it will show a number of techniques that can be used to create a personalised cover that can later be used to produce a 3D cover.


Step 1

Open Gimp and Click on File > New. Choose the dimensions for the cover. The original size for the above image was 900 X 1272. A large image size is needed if its later going to be used for a 3D cover.

The first layer created will have a white background. Create another transparent layer.

Hold down the left mouse button on the top ruler and drag down a guideline to the half way point of the layer.

Using the Rectangle Select Tool from the Toolbox Pane create a rectangle in the top part of the layer. The guideline will restrict the rectangle to the top part of the layer.

Step 2

Click on the colour preview window below the tools in the Toolbox Pane to choose two colours with which to create a gradient. Two complimentary tones of blue were used for the example cover above.

Use the gradient tool to fill the rectangle with a gradient of your chosen colours. In the image window menu click on Layer > Autocrop Layer. Now make a duplicate of this layer.

Step 3

With the Move Tool in the Toolbox Pane move the duplicate layer to below the guideline.

In the image window again, click on Layer > Transform > Rotate 180. The two gradient layers can now be merged as one layer.

Step 4

From the image window menu click on File > Open as Layers and navigate to the image for the cover. If it needs resizing to fit the area of the cover you want, click on Layer > Scale Layer. Enter the new dimensions for the image in the window that opens. Click on Layer > Autocrop layer.

Step 5

Create a new layer. Use the Rectangle Select Tool to draw a rectangle that will form a border for the image. Fill the rectangle with a suitable colour. Black has been used in our example.

Step 6

Autocrop this layer. This layer should be below the image layer so may need moving. Use the green up and down arrows below the list of layers to do this.

If the border rectangle needs resizing click on Layers > Scale Layer and enter the appropriate demensions.

If the layer needs to be positioned accurately use the Move Tool in the Toolbox Panel.

Things Needed
• An installed version of Gimp.
• A basic knowledge of how to use layers.
• A basic understanding of the tools in the Toolbox Pane.
• An image for the cover. There are royalty free images available, so make sure you are not breaking any copyright laws in the image you select.
• An ebook to make the cover for.

Tips & Warnings
• Save your work often to avoid losing anything if your PC or Gimp crashes.
• Once you have completed your ebook cover make one final save before merging any layers. This will make it much easier if you want to edit the finished cover.
• Leave your design for a few hours. Returning to it later will allow you to view it with fresh eyes and see if any improvements are needed.
• Look for other tutorials on how to manipulate text in Gimp so you can add an extra dimension to the title of the cover.


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