When I started making book covers - has it been ten years already? - it was as a way of dealing with some emotional ... I hesitate to call it "trauma", because it's not like I'm the only one to ever go through something like it.
In any case, I started trying to "stretch" my artistic side - if you can call it that - by using a free website. I'm not sure it still exists, actually; I also don't remember exactly what it was called. Something like pixlr.com or something similar.
I soon grew tired of the limitations to the allowances the free website provided. There were several of them, really, and I wanted to expand on what little I was doing. It took some time and effort, but I finally was able to obtain information from some new friends in a group on Facebook. Mary Findley, Ruthie Madison, Samantha Fury & Sharon A Lavy have all been tremendously helpful. They are professional cover artists whose website links will be on my blog and my website.
Making book covers is no simple, easy task. It takes time and effort. It can also take money if you want to do it right. You need to have the right images for each book cover. You also need to have the correct program - one that will do what's necessary to accomplish your goals.
The cheaper (I mean, less expensive) - even free - sites and programs work when you're in a pinch. But I've found that Photoshop has worked best when I'm making serious covers.
Now, all of the covers I've created are made up of several layers. There's the background image, which is usually a landscape or seascape. I like adding at least one character image, though I've also left the background alone and only added the title (optional) and author name (usually my own or something generic).
Here are just a few of the covers I've made in the past, some earlier and some later ones.