Tempting as it is to sell our cover for paid advertisements, we strive for a more artful look. Plastering “teasers” in myriad fonts and multiple sizes across the page is something we like to avoid. Yes, we would make more money if we followed trends, but like the teacher who whispers in a noisy classroom, we think our readers appreciate a more subtle approach.

Ever wonder what goes into the making of our cover? First, the prep: coming up with an idea that lends itself to the main feature or theme of the upcoming issue. Our February cover, for example, addresses the issue’s two main features—movies and chocolate.

We steer clear of clip-art in favor of scenes around Benicia: people, places and art, professionally photographed. February’s cover started with purchasing a copy of an Oscar statuette (you can’t buy a representative image as a stock photo; but also, we try to avoid stock photos on our cover). Ours came as a trophy from a party supply store. It was placed in a light box and photographed, then meticulously “clipped out,” with electronic scissors, by graphic artist Margaret Bowles, who also does the layout of the magazine. The film reel is an actual home movie from the 60’s, gathering dust on a shelf. It too was photographed and clipped, as was the chocolate, purchased from Benicia shops—Steve’s Hallmark and Studio 41.

Two yards of red velvet, purchased for the occasion, were draped and folded into a pleasing shape, then photographed. To assemble the all of the elements into a cohesive whole, Oscar, the chocolate and the film reel were electronically staged in Photoshop on top of the velvet. Finally, the teasers were added, whispering to readers to come inside.