Book Covers Behind-the-Scenes: The Making of MIDWINTER MAGIC

Art

Hi so I spent over two hours today painting a decent-looking stylized reindeer for my latest eBook Midwinter Magic (and that was just on one file, and doesn’t count all my OTHER painting and sketching and thumbnailing time) (honestly, it felt like 5 hours on just that last file, though), but I can’t reveal the cover yet so you’re going to now suffer through my thumbnail sketches and WIPs.

sufferrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

j/k I hope you enjoy!

More cover design thumbnails for MIDWINTER MAGIC in Crayola Marker (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)The ones above were done after researching what other fairy tale collections were doing. Blue was a very popular color, as was sticking huge typography in the center of a rectangle. I first did these in pencil and came back after the next batch of thumbs and colored ’em.

I did not have a title at this time.

 

Cover design thumbnails for MIDWINTER MAGIC, done in Crayola Marker (Book Cover Behind the Scenes) Still no title I liked. Playing with the idea of folk art patterns and reindeer. Attempts at folk art style reindeer and flowers (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)Trying my hand at Scandinavian folk art patterns (there’s multiple schools of Scandinavian folk art with cool fancy names but I’ve forgotten them all). Of course this was after some research, but I don’t think any of these were direct copies, just me fooling around on watercolor paper with markers.

Cute li'l folk art flower (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)

Oh, right, it’s called “Rosemaling”! I remember because I invented my first Krita brush to try and emulate the single-stroke style color changes and stuff for this fnower. You can totally YouTube it! There’s guilds and everything!Tiling folk art flower, doodads, and pine tree (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)

Messing around with Krita’s tiling function got me this fun little tiling pattern.     Penciled thumbnail designs for MIDWINTER MAGIC's cover(Book Covers Behind the Scenes)

I fell ill in the middle of this project (both the writing and the drawing). By the time I got some energy back I felt like I was running late. I got my act together and came up with a title that didn’t embarrass my ancestors, then came back to thumbnailing. My default book cover solution is “slap an animal on it” but at least this time it wouldn’t be a cat.Reindeer sihouettes in blue marker (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)Marker attempts at reindeer/caribou, done with reference, but still trying to keep a stylized feel. The top left one was used in a few mockups I won’t show here.

Armed with a title, I went into Inkscape and chose fonts I thought would work. Then, for good measure, I grabbed some reindeer product silhouettes and slapped ’em on in some sort of artistic way (thanks, Trace Bitmap tool!!)

MIDWINTER MAGIC mockup - dark blue bg, reindeer sihouettes, and typography (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)

I liked these poses, but…other than that….this was bad. Really bad. I wound up going back to my thumbnails page, picking one I liked, and just elaborating on it in Krita.

I thought the final image would be, like, folk art flower patterns on a blue background, with a reindeer shape cut out in the middle, revealing some cool winter snowflakey pattern beneath (very hand-drawn-looking, in other words), but, uh, I traced a deer in one of the thumbnails, slapped a background from Unsplash.com behind it, went, OH! and went in a totally different direction.

How’d it turn out? Stay tuned for the cover reveal tomorrow morning!

10K words reached on Girlfriend story!

Writing

…and you’re all, what Girlfriend story?

It’s a horror short I started last September, but it got put on the backburner when I started working on Gingersnap Cat. I was feeling a little fatigue on the Nosferatu Novel and thought I’d pick it up again. I can feel I’m nearing the end, so I’m really trying to put in my time on it. (It’d be great to have it out before Halloween!)

And now you know…the rest of the backstory. Good day!

PS If you’re looking for a nice uneasy read, you gotta read the original novella for THE BIRDS, it’s unnerving in a lovely way.

A little about branding book spines for DIY Indie Authors

Thoughts on Entertainment, Writing

As an indie author on a shoestring budget, you may be wondering how you can make your print books look like they belong on your readers’ shelves next to the “big boy” books published with gobs of money and professional art departments behind them.

Using my Visual Arts BA powers and some slightly blurry photos of our booka nd DVD shelves, I thought I’d try to explain some of the elements of good spine branding. Spinal branding? Ouch. Sounds painful.

Let’s get started.

Spines of the AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER DVD boxed sets

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER (Asian-influenced animated series)

Here’s the three-volume set of the marvelous fantasy cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

At the very top we have the logotype for the series itself, which any fan recognizes from the show’s intro sequence. But even if you’ve never seen the show, there’s a lotta info packed into that itty bitty logo: first, the Nickelodeon logo (in its signature orange) lets you know the station its from…and all that that implies (animation, kid-friendly, playful, positive energy).

Ah, Word! You and your quote smart unquote quotes!

Finally got smart and added in a new AutoCorrect rule in Microsoft Office 2010: replace —“ (which is what it loved to do to me, all the time) with —” (which will save me a lot of backspacing. In case you have this problem:

File>Proofing>Autocorrect Options (it’s a button near the top).

To make sure you’re getting left double quotes and right double quotes, use the Character Map to insert those marks in the appropriate fields.

Writing

I Aten’t Dead

Art, everyday, Writing

In fact, I just hit 50K words on my nosferatu novel!

And I submitted a fantasy story to the DuoLingo call for stories! That money sure would help me out in buying ISBNs! Or, you know…gas.Various characters and critters (and even a car!) done in ink and marker, made of random shapes

I’ve been using Habitica to help me take vitamins and do art and stuff more consistently. You know it’s an effective program because within a week of joining, I cleaned my desk. (My desk hadn’t been cleaned for MONNNNNTHS and was just buried in papers.) I’ll try to use it to help me update my blog more consistently sheesh!

I’m enjoying Aggretsuko on Netflix (Japanese only please, they added too many swears to the English dub!) and the Great Big Story channel on YouTube.

I’ve been feeling pretty blah this year, but things are turning around now, thank goodness!