How to Make a Book Cover in PSP

Yesterday I showed you how to use GIMP to make a book cover, so today I am going to show you how to make the same cover in Paint Shop Pro. Why are we doing it in multiple programs? Because, that way you can get an idea of the difference between them.

Unlike our other two programs paint Shop pro is NOT free. However, there is a free trial and if you don’t have this program already, then I suggest you try before you buy to make sure it’s worth the $100.00 to you. (for the purpose of this tut I am using this free trial version)



If you want to follow along, you can get our sample photo here:

Since we’re making a full sized cover, you may also need to download the handy cover template:

Yes, it’s huge. IMPORTANT: all information should be INSIDE the red lines. Anything that bleeds into the red might get chopped off when the book is printed!

Okay, so install PSP and let’s get going!

The first thing you want to do is go to the full editor mode


Now, we need to close the learning center


And open the layer pallet:


And materials:


So now we have this:


First open the template and the picture:



Select the winter photo (so it’s on top) and hit copy:


Now go back to the template.png and then go to the layer pallet and make a new Raster layer:


Just hit okay on the pop up


Now paste the winter photo as a New Selection:



Now make this image “full screen”


Then go to selections – select none:


Choose the pick tool :


Grab the corner and drag to resize the photo (note, the dotty line will show you where it will go when you release the mouse – it won’t actually apply until then):


If you make it too small, then grab the corner and drag it back large again. Once you have it sized about right, use the node in the center to put it where you want it. Remember, everything that extends outside of the canvas – aka what you can’t see – won’t end up visible on your cover.


Now make a new layer named frame (use that new raster button) and hit okay:


Choose the selection tool in the tool bar (you may notice that if you click just to the side of a lot of tools there are more options – we need the plain old selection tool)


Use it to draw the inside of our black frame – click and drag until it makes the box the size you want, then let go


Now go to selections – invert


Then choose the flood fill tool


And make sure our color is black


Then flood fill it by clicking inside the selection


Choose the select tool again and right click once in the middle of the image to unselect the frame. Now click the alphabet tool


And go to the tool options pallet and change some settings – for one thing we want Vivaldi for the font – at size 58 (type it into the box)


Now, go to the material palette and make sure white is the background color, and shut off the foreground color:


Then click roughly where you want the words to go and type them in (NOTE: Older versions of PSP have a text box that pops up – and I like that better! However, this is what we have now, it seems…)


Hit the green apply arrow when you’re done


A selection box appears around it, use the center node to move into a precise position


If you want to zoom in, do so by using the zoom tool:


And clicking on the image until it’s the size you want.

You may notice that we have automatically created a new layer by choosing text – pretty cool, huh? This only happens if you make your text a Vector vs a Raster. Since it is default to vector, we will leave it that way.


Now for the author name and tag line. Check your colors again (white background, foreground shut off) Go to the alphabet tools pallet and change our font to Garamond, and the font size to 48 (again, type this number into the box), then click at the bottom and type in your author name and click the green Apply arrow:


You can use the center node to reposition the text


And you can also use the corner nodes to resize it – like so:


I want to take a minute to look at the layer pallet again. In order to see all your vector layers, just click the plus sign:



Now, let’s make our tag line at the bottom, “Once you feel its kiss, you’ll never be the same…” – leave it as Garamond, make it size 20 and click the Italics button, also be sure to check your colors:



Cool, huh? Repeat this for our second tag line (A tale of cold terror) above the title:


I would like to take a moment to mention something about applying text. Let’s say you want to change your color or font size before you’ve applied, but after the words are typed in? To do this you need to HIGHLIGHT the text to be changed:


There are a lot of text effects: bold, underline, strike through, and you can even make the font “fatter” by tuning that foreground color and changing the stroke width – however, to get to a lot of these options we need to make the tool options pallet bigger:


However, we don’t need any of that right now. I just thought you should be aware of it

Moving on, we’re ready for our emphasis frame. Select the eyedropper/color picker tool:


Use the eyedropper tool to select a color from the image – one that is not so dark that it disappears into the black, but not too light. We want the text to be what stands out. The color inside the “box” is the color you will pick when you click.


Now, choose the rectangle tool:


Go to your color palette and turn OFF the background color:


In the tool options palette, adjust the stroke width to 10 (you may need to drag the pallet bigger if you haven’t yet! –just grab where it joins the main window until you get a lighter colored gray line and drag down)


Then click on the image where you want the rectangle to start and drag it until it’s the size you want (releasing the mouse button will make it automatically apply):


If any of your text need moved, then select the layer that they’re on, then choose the pick tool and drag them where you want them:


There is one more thing we can do to fine tune this cover. Select one of the layers in the vector grouping (this will be wither your text or your rectangle) You can tell which one is selected because the text will be bold (yeah, they need something a little more specific, *I* think)


Than go to object – align – horizontally align in canvas and click it


This text is now perfectly centered. Continue to do this to your other vector layers

Now SAVE AS – under file, name it cover. PNG do NOT save as a JPG!! JPG’s have lossy compression, aka they LOOSE information when they save it, and that’s what makes all those hideous fuzzy things you see on a lot of web images:



(note should you need to change it to png – check the second text box – then use the drop down arrow to get a menu and select png)


Click yes


And you’re done!

cover finished - resized.


At this size, your cover is big enough to use for a print book, like at Lulu and Createspace, or you can still use it as en eBook.

One final note: your pc might not be able to handle this image size well, depending on your RAM and processor. If it won’t, resize the images by changing the dpi to 100





When your cover is completed – and saved as a merged png – then close it and reopen it and change the dpi back to 300. (you may need to type in the 6 x 9 inches or the 300% as well as the dpi)


The next installment will be those pesky back covers, and then we can get back to the whole indie publishing experience! (I should turn this cover thing into a book! Yeesh! Talk about out of hand!)

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Book Cover in PSP

  1. ruthannnordin March 11, 2010 / 11:18 pm

    Definitely turn it into a book. 😉 You might as well get paid for this great info and all this work. I’d buy a copy, btw.

    Hmm… Winter’s Child actually sounds like a cool title. It makes me think horror or fantasy. I kind of like it. Hehe

    Thanks for these posts. I love the step-by-step process and the visuals to go with it!

    • joleenenaylor March 18, 2010 / 5:57 am

      Yeah, I like Winter’s Child better myself, LOL! But then child is a good word.

      I think I’m going to! For one thing, it would make it more accessible in book format.

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