Friday, May 31, 2013

Making Cover Art

Self publishing is akin to dropping someone who half finished a CPR lesson at the Y into the middle of a quadruple bypass on their grandfather and telling them get to it.

Half of the advice on self publishing is from people trying to make money off self publishing by selling books about self publishing on a frog on a log in a hole at the bottom of the sea. The other half is from people so mentally scared and physically wrung you can no longer be certain if they ever were once human.

So when one of my twitter friends spoke of dipping into that lawless, land shark infested dystopia I offered up my limited cover art services.

I've already jumped through three book covers (5 if you include my wacky plans to possibly chop my last book up), argued violently with printing bleeds and hid in terror from the multitude of font choices looming before me. And I'll do it on the cheap.

The Book:

A Superhero novel about a protagonist that fights the evil with grammar. Created by Tony Noland.

The Plan:

I had a few ideas. The first I wanted to throw out something campier/pulpier just to get it out of the way. So I went the classic flying superhero in dangerously constrictive spandex (how do they not pass out fighting crime in the summer months?) patrolling above a cityscape. 

I wanted the cityscape to be red because when you think grammar you think red pen. Could also be blood because superheroing is bloody work. Or a pen that uses blood instead of ink. Someone get the vampire scientists on that.
That was the first to get tossed onto the weed pile. Not too much surprised, but you have to mess up five vein transplants before you get the sixth to stick, right?

For the second I started with a simpler silhouette idea. I was going to go all dark and broody but then playing around creativity struck like a bolt of blue lightning. So I stuck that in there instead.
It's very stark, and oddly reminds me of the cover I have for 1984 with the beady eye, I assume of Big Brother who must use sclera whitening. It puts me in mind of a very sterile futuristic world that runs on words and grammar and is about to crumble at the hands of anarchy. 

Cool looking, but not quite the story. So onto the final choice.

For the last, and by far most complicated cover, I went simple and old school; the Superman pose. He was the first after all, and god knows he won't ever let us forget it.

The red ink cityscape gets to show up again, as do the random word texture and a few other ones I favor.
Word around the street is this book will launch on July 4th, so check around for that. I'm sure I'll share a link or 12.

And if you liked any of the randomness I whipped together and need a book cover on the cheep, feel free to contact me. My brain loves a challenge that doesn't involve how to take over the world.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What I'm up to/Been Up to

I've been keeping myself busy as I hide from editing, despite getting encouraging data back from two Beta readers and one Omega Red (though that was mostly "Let's kill Captain America!")

One project that is up and coming is I'm going to teach a few other members of our Halloween club how I made my zombie teeth. My original project tutorial is off here in a forgotten and neglected corner of my blog.

I had to remake a set to remind myself just what the hell I did and so I could have a new set to show off and glue to my face. But this time I decided to film myself painting it, and through the magic of fast forward turn 20 minutes into 2.

I haven't broken out the spirit gum yet because I hate that shit. Sticky, stinky, and that's when it works properly.

Moving from teeth to trees, I've been working with a fellow self publisher to whip up some cover ideas for his novel. It's a great excuse to break out all the textures I never get to use. It's still in the, "here are some samples, pick with you like" stage, but hopefully I can show off all my ideas once it's finished. Some came out really cool.

Ah but the plot is escaping me. In a piquant moment I had an idea to smash together two of my old tree paintings into one free for anyone to use picture.

Write a mystery/horror novel, slap a title on it, and you got a book. The hambone and soup are optional.

Just to close, here's a video of my dog getting her head stuck in a Milkbone box:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Halloween's in the heart

I'm a member of a Halloween club.

I haven't mentioned it in the past few months so I assumed everyone forgot.

Anywho, the point is that every January or so they have a contest for T-shirt design. Normally I have just come out gagging and bewildered from the NaNoWriMo meat grinder and can barely form coherent pixels much less craft an entire design from my still smoking brain.

This year I decided to be proactive and antisloth and other buzz words that should be on the side of over caffeinated colas. Before the coming Halloween rush that is summer, I brainstormed and then brain-swept-up-the-broken-branches an idea that I liked an awful lot.

The idea is that instead of a heart, all of us crazy Halloween fans have an evil Jack'O Lantern pumping our blood. I assume a ghost replaced our liver but that didn't come up.

I wound up liking it so much, I decided to yank off the club name and put it up on my t-shirt page for anyone who wants a decaying, carved pumpkin to regulate their blood.

Halloween Ribcage T-shirt
If anyone would like the shirt it's for sale here, and you can change the background color, but I wouldn't deviate too far from black. Grey's not bad. White is right out!

Now on to plotting how to make our own giant tree man. This shall end in tears and multiple hot glue gun scars.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Painting & Things

Been forever and a day since I said "new painting." I blame the manuscript squatting on my harddrive like an exceptionally satiated toad for taking up all my usual painting time of the year.

But're here for a painting.

She's a bit bigger than usual at 16X20, the rest is rather typical me.
And she's up for sale at the usual Bat Channel, the usual Bat Time.

Now about that manuscript squatting issue. It has come to my realization that if I intend to go ahead with a YA novel it might be in my best interest to slice my 200K word (that's around 900 pages in word) into thirds. It's a story told in three rather discreet acts so it might work.

The downside, I have to come up with, not one, but three titles and book covers. So I come baring a favor, do these look like book covers? At least slightly interesting book covers?

EDIT: Wait, I thought of a second. Note the clearly watermarked image because it's just an idea. No buying til I'm certain.

And this would be actually the third in the series. I'm still scratching my head on the second, the marking time of a trilogy.
When in doubt, put a skull on it.

Or is this all an incredibly stupid idea?