Stock vector characters are easy to spot…

Much of the available stock isn’t on-genre making a stock vector covers stand out (and generally not in a good way).
The same characters are used over and over again without much actual design work going into making them unique.
I have to admit, I’ve used stock characters in the past, generally I changed them up.
Creating or using different clothing, using a different face or facial expression, changing the coloring a ton.
But even with major changes, it’s still rather easy to spot.
Mainly because good stock vector characters are few and far between so they tend to be over-used in the industry.

So, what can you do about it?

How can you make Your cover stand out from the crowd?

Exclusive Custom Vector Characters

I have spent the last 3 years learning how to digitally illustrate vector characters.
And I’ve gotten pretty dang good at it.
Especially after illustrating a 24 page children’s book with full page illustrations.
The book was specifically illustrated in the Romantic Comedy vector cover style.
That’s a ton of hours illustrating.
But I’m ever-learning.
I’ve already taken several Adobe Illustrator courses to master vector design.
And I’ve scheduled some illustration-based courses for 2023.

That’s great and all… but how much is it?

Great Value

Character Illustration Only

$200 per character

  • Fully Illustrated Character Only
  • Vector and PNG file formats
  • Cover Design
  • Custom Accessories
  • Background Illustration
Most Popular

Custom Character Add-On

Starts at $600

  • Fully Illustrated Character (1)
  • Vector, PNG and JPG formats
  • Custom Cover Design ($500)
  • Custom Posing, Coloring, etc.
  • Custom Background
Best Choice

Fully Illustrated Cover


  • Fully Illustrated Characters (up to 4)
  • Vector, PNG, and JPG formats
  • Custom Cover Design
  • Custom Posing, Coloring, etc
  • Custom 20×9 illustrated background

is it really worth that?

Custom Illustration

  • Exclusive to you and your story
  • Unlimited Revisions
  • Merchandising Rights
  • No Print Limits

Stock Illustration

  • No exclusivity
  • Changes limited to stock options
  • No Merchandising Rights
  • 250,000-500,000 print limit

Wait… I have questions

If your question isn’t answered below, feel free to contact me at kris@krishack.design

Generally, Flat Characters are used in Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Women’s Fiction, and Cozy Mystery. My strengths lie in the first three as I haven’t had any demand for Cozy Mystery covers.

I start with a posing tool (specifically Magic Poser for iPad) to get a 3D naked image of the characters. I then loosely sketch the characters in Adobe Illustrator using shapes over the posed image. After the base body/bodies are created, I then design the clothing, face, and hair either from scratch or with a graphic reference. References are used so the character’s proportions, arrangement, and shading is more realistic. I will not be tracing the clothing, hair, etc. I will have the reference to the side; therefore, the characters will not be an exact representation of the reference. Once the characters are completed, I will clean up the design and move them over to photoshop. At this point I will license stock graphics (vector or otherwise) to create the remainder of the design (i.e. background). If there are particularly challenging aspects to the character design, I may request a bit more time to work out the imperfections.

It can take me two to three full work days to create a flat character couple depending upon complexity. This does not include the cover design itself which takes less time. Prompt response to pose and coloring proof emails will help to keep the process going.

No, characters used in high-fantasy covers are generally 3D or DAZ renders. Flat characters are 2D and more cartoon-like in nature. I do not “paint” characters as I am working with hand-drawn vector shapes. If you are looking for more of a fantasy cover, the Cover Designer Directory has a great database of designers in all genres.

Still not sure if custom vector illustration is right for you?