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Friday, 27 February 2015

Birth of the Cover Art for my soon to be published book, Chicken Soup for Satan

Well, this has been a bit of a production!  I've drawn an awful lot of German Shepherds getting ready for the final piece.  Not that that was a hardship, as I think they have beautiful heads, and every subject you draw and paint teaches you new things, especially if you tackle it more than once.

It began with pages like this of thumbnails.  I've posted this one before but, eh, it is the beginning of the journey, so it needs to go here too.
Next I drew bigger images, sorting out how to fit the dog and bowl on the page, keeping in mind that the book format is skinnier than my paper.  I needed room for the title and author text, and I also practiced drawing the doggy character from the book, Ghost, in more detail. Once I settled on a composition, I did my final drawing.

 That image had to be darkened a lot in iphoto.  I drew very lightly.

After that I put in my first washes on the background.  The paper I was using didn't hold up very well to washing.  It's only a pad of water colour paper.  Not the best quality.  Still, it was a start I could work with.

More washes followed.
I kind of like this stage.  Spooky! Fits the theme of the book, but Ghost is not one of the spooky things in it, so on I went.

At this stage I began to work in more detail.
Aww, the character of of Ghost was coming out very nicely by now!  Pupils and some other little detailed touches still needed to be done, and I was worried about the paper being over-worked, so I got out the Aquarelles for the last few bits.

After that Andyroo kindly helped me photograph the image, and then I resized it to fit the book cover ready to add text in Gimp.

What do you think?

I got a splash of hot magenta on his forehead right back at the start and it didn't quite wash out properly, but luckily I can fix that in Gimp.  Bless you Gimp!

For the back cover, I just couldn't think of any image to use that wouldn't give too much away, or give the wrong impression about the book, so I have just washed a full page to match the texture of the background in the front cover.  I'm trying to do a different spine colour for each book, just for fun, and this one is obviously going to be purple!  :) 

There are many, many artists in the world who would do a much better job of this sort of art than me.  I would consider myself a novelist first and foremost, but I do enjoy the challenge of doing my own cover art, and I hope you enjoy seeing them in progress!

Final editing is part way done, and soon the book will be available.  Exciting! This is the first book I have finished in many years, since before I got sick with Lyme disease more than a decade ago. To be returning to my creative life means more than this bard can express in words.



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