How to make this fan-made 1984 book cover

1984 is the dystopian-set masterpiece written in 1948 by British author, George Orwell. This is a mock-up book cover made by myself and, with these basic steps, I will show you how to make this.

1. Open up Photoshop and create a new document with the dimensions 1006 pixels by 1573.


Make sure that ‘resolution’ is at 72.

The Background

2. In your new document, select the ‘paint bucket tool’ from the left-hand toolbar.

At the bottom of the page are two squares, select the one called ‘set foreground colour’ which will open a colour picker window.

In the text box next to where the ‘#’ symbol is, type e4e4e4 which should pick a greyish colour.


3. With the ‘paint bucket tool’ selected, click onto the blank page which should fill it with the chosen grey colour.

4. Open up our paper texture which can be found here;

Drag the image onto the document and resize it so that none of the black edges are visible. Then drop down the ‘image’ menu and select ‘adjustments’. Select the ‘desaturate’ option which will make the image black and white.

5. In the right hand side of the page, there is a layer style option which should currently say ‘normal’, click on it to open another drop down menu and select ‘overlay’.

Adding the Model

6. Now we will add our model, the original image can be found here;

Drag and drop the image onto the document, positioning and resizing it so the model sits safely in the middle of the page.

Don’t forget to hold down the shift key when resizing the image to maintain its dimensions.

7. From the left hand tool bar, select the ‘quick selection tool’.

We will use this tool to cut the model from the background.

Make sure it’s in ‘add to selection’ mode which can be found in the top toolbar.

Set the brush size to 8.


8. To work this tool, you must draw around the edges of where you want to cut out the image until the model is surrounded with a dotted line. As you drag the tool, Photoshop will work out the lines that you are trying to cut out.

In the image below I have successfully made it so the dotted lines surround the image but, as you can see, there is a mistake around his arm as the programme got confused. To fix this, use the ‘subtract from selection’ tool to take these parts out of the selection.


If you go totally wrong, you can right click on the selection and choose ‘deselect, which will allow you to start over.

9. You can use the ‘refine edge’ option to see what the cutting will look like and also help us refine details that the quick selection tool will not have selected (such as strands of hair). Drop down the ‘view’ button and select ‘on layers’ to see what this cut out will look like against our current background.


10. For this particular piece, we don’t need focus on the hair details as his head will be covered up later anyway. This option is mainly to get rid of the jagged edges around his arms. Drag the ‘smooth’ slider to 45 and the ‘contrast’ slider to 33 under the ‘adjust edge’ section to get rid of these. Click ‘ok’.

11. Right click on the selection and click on ‘layer via copy’ which will copy the selection of the man into a new layer. You can now delete the old layer (the layers list is on the right hand side, simply select the old layer of the man and the background and hit the ‘delete’ key).

12. As stated before, we don’t need his head (sorry Felix!), so select the ‘rectangular marque tool’ and draw a box around his head, then hit the ‘delete key’.


13. The model image is a little too vibrantly orange for such a dark book. So, once again drop down the ‘image’ menu, go into ‘adjustments’ and select ‘Hue/Saturation’. Drag the ‘saturation’ bar down to -60 and then click ‘ok’.

14. It’s time to put the television set onto his shoulders, this symbolises the running theme of 1984 of being watched by the totalitarian government known as ‘Big Brother’; in the novel every television screen watches the citizens of Oceania.

You can find the image of the vintage TV set we will be using here;

Drag and drop the image into the document and cut the TV out with similar techniques we used to cut out the model. If you run into real difficulty with those pesky edges, you can use the ‘eraser’ tool to manually cut out left over bits of the background once the selection has been copied onto a new layer.

15. Your image should now look like this;


We are now going to add the eye into the television screen. First, use the quick selection tool to highlight the screen, once it’s been selected ‘copy via layer’ it onto its own layer.

You can find the image of the eye here; Drag and drop it onto the document.

Right click on the layer of the eye image and select ‘create clipping mask’ which will make the image apply only onto the area we just cut out.


Desaturate the eye image like we did on the paper texture earlier.

Now we need to resize the eye image by press the ‘ctrl’ and‘t’ keys. This will put it open up ‘free transformation’ mode.

16. Go into ‘image’, ‘adjustments’ and select ‘curves’. With this tool we can make the darker areas of the image even darker and the lighter sections lighter. Put the ‘output’ to 21 and ‘input’ to 55, like so;


17. Right click on the eye image layer and select ‘duplicate layer’. Go into ‘image’, ‘adjustments’ and ‘threshold’. This will open the threshold window which will turn the darker areas of the image to solid black.

Next to ‘threshold level’ type 79, now click ‘ok’. Set the layer style to ‘soft light’ and the opacity to 10%.

18. Duplicate the original eye layer again and go into ‘filter’ (along the top row) and ‘filter gallery’. Drop down the ‘stylize’ tab and select ‘glowing edges’, then press ‘okay’.


Set the opacity to 83% and set the layer style to ‘lighten’.

The Television Effect

19. We will now create the television effect on the eye. First, select all the ‘eye’ layers by holding down ‘ctrl’ and clicking on them all. Right click on one of the selected layers and pick ‘merge layers’.

Right click on the newly merged layers and select ‘duplicate layer’.

Go into the ‘filter’ menu and select ‘blur’, then ‘gaussian blur’. Set the radius to 6 pixels and then press ‘ok’. Set the opacity of this layer to 46%. This should give the eye image a smudged look. Right click on the blurred layer and select ‘merge down’ to merge it with the original eye layer. Repeat this step only this time set the radius to 12 and the opacity to 20%.

20. Open up a new document and set it to 4 by 16 pixels, like so;


21. In this new document, fill around two thirds of it in black. The easiest way to do this is by using the ‘rectangle tool’. It should now look like this;


22. Go into the ‘edit’ menu and select ‘define pattern’. Name this pattern something memorable before pressing ‘ok’ and close the document.

23. Back in the original document, double click on the eye layer which should bring up the ‘layer style’ window.

Go into ‘pattern overlay’ and drop down the ‘pattern’ options, the black and white one we just created should be in there. Select it;


Set the ‘blend mode’ to ‘soft light’, ‘scale’ to 45% and opacity to 36%.


24. Without closing this window, go into ‘colour overlay’. Put the ‘blend mode’ to ‘overlay’ and opacity to 37%. Click on ‘ok’.



That’s the hard bit finally done! From here on we will be working on text and finishing touches.

25. Select the paper background layer.

Use the ‘horizontal type tool’ to draw a box at the very top of the page and type out ‘George Orwell’ in capital letters using the font ‘Bodoni MT’.

Highlight the text and set the colour to #1c1c1c and the font size to 90pt.

Now, above this, put ‘international bestseller’ in capital letters, the same colour and font style but set the size to 36pt.

The cover should now look like this;


26. In the font style ‘impact’ write the title ‘1984’ in 360pt using the colour #f20027. Position it on the left hand side of the page. Like so;


27. Using the ‘rectangle tool’ with the same colour as the title, draw two rectangles on the two ends of the ‘4’. Once drawn, press ‘ctrl’ and‘t’ to open up the ‘free transformation’ tool to resize the rectangles. like this;


If you are struggling to line it up perfectly, you can zoom in and this will make the free transformation tool work a lot more precise.

28. Draw a text box within the area created by the two rectangles and copy this exert from the book;

“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage.” –George Orwell, 1984, 242.

Set the font to Bodoni MT, the colour to black and the size to 25pt. It should now look like this;

29. The final bit of text is the wording within the television screen.

Select the eye layer and then draw a text box within the television screen just underneath the eye.

Type the words ‘big brother is watching you’ in bold capital letters with the font style ‘Agency FB’, size 48pt and the colour black.


Now, here is the tricky part.

Highlight the text and select the ‘toggle the character and paragraph panels’ option in the top toolbar. This opens up a further array of text options.

Next, type in 30pt for the ‘set the leading’ option which will close the space between the two lines. Also, set ‘vertically scale’ to 80%.

Make the opacity of this text layer 90%.


30. Right click on the ‘big brother is watching you’ text layer and select ‘rasterize layer’. This will give us the ability to edit the text as though it’s a picture.

Using the ‘rectangular marquee’ tool, draw a rectangle that cuts the words ‘big brother is’ in half. Right click on this selection and choose ‘layer via cut’ which will put the selection into its own layer.

Using the free transformation tool, tap the right arrow key on your keyboard twice to nudge the selection slightly to the right. Do the same with the bottom layer only this time nudge it to the left.

After that, merge the layers back together again.

Finishing Touches

31. Select the model and the television layers, right click on this selection and choose ‘duplicate layers’. Now merge them.

Drop down the ‘filter’ menu, which will bring up a window that can apply multiple artistic features. Under the ‘artistic’ tag, select the ‘poster edges’ option.

Set ‘edge thickness’ to 1 and ‘edge intensity’ and ‘posterization’. Press ‘ok’.


32. Click on the top layer, this should be the ‘big brother is watching you’ text. Underneath the list of layers are some icons, select the one that says ‘create new fill or adjustment layer’ and then choose ‘curves’. This will create a new ‘curves’ layer above everything we have done so far. Move the curves line so it looks like this;


33. Open up the stone texture layer which can be found here;

Drag and drop it into the document and set the layer style to overlay.

34. And finally, right click on any layer and select ‘merge visible’. This will combine all the layers so make sure you are done with any minor tweaks before this. Drop down the ‘filter’ menu and go into ‘noise’, ‘add noise’. Set the amount to 12%.

You should now have a 1984 cover that looks like this;









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