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Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Making of the Cover Art for Heroic Plans.

So, "Heroic Plans" is up on Amazon for Kindle at last.  Believe it or not, it is my tenth full-length novel to be published.  Phew!

It's only the second horsey-type one I've written, since fantasy is my great love, but I have a lot of fun writing them, and the first one is very popular, so there are sure to be more Galloping Plans books written in future.  I already have plans to write the third novel from Jimmy's perspective. It's time he got centre stage, a place in which he surely likes to be! 

For now, though, it's Tam's turn to shine.    

This is the short blurb:

Shy Tam is often overshadowed by the larger than life characters around her, but something is about to happen to change that.  Her darling young Warmblood, Prince William, doesn’t want to be a dressage horse, and if she is to keep moving forward with his training, Tam is going to have to collect her courage and take up the sport that he loves and she fears:  Eventing.

While Tam makes a heroic plan to ease herself into this scary and exciting new horsey adventure, some of the people near her are plotting in other ways.  Intrigues are afoot to liven up her non-existent love life, and there are deeper, darker schemes swirling around her that might mean she needs more courage than she ever imagined.

Can Tam and Willie make it round a cross country course without Tam losing her nerve, or the strength in her knees?  Can Kat, Seamus and Jimmy help her find true love?  Who is planning darker derring-do, and will Tam and her friends be able to counter them?

Come for a wild ride with Tam and find out! 

I wouldn't say you need to be horsey to enjoy it.  I didn't go all jargony with it.  You do need to love animals, though, because the book is full of them!   It's also got some fun characters, a lively story-line, and a bit of a mystery to keep you guessing.

I wanted a cover that matched the one for Cunning Plans but this time instead of tiny Kat on her tall Thoroughbred, Lingo, I had to paint a tall blonde girl and a big bay/brown Warmblood; Tam and her Prince Willie.

I collected some photos to get ideas from, then began with drawing, but I only did some tiny thumbnail sketches to make sure my construction would fit the book cover format, then I went for it on the canvas, first with pencil, then with paint.   

Next stage, I began to block in the big areas of colour.

And more.

And more again.

At this stage, I decided I didn't like his front ear, and after much messing I just painted it out and redid it entirely.

Ah, that's a better placement!

But what the heck is going on with Tam's face?  She looks like she's had a mad make-up person attack her!  The character does have rather a pale, blushing sort of complexion, but this one looks like a hussy from the Georgian Era!

Ok, got that fixed too, add some final touch-ups and highlights, and a better photo taken by Andyroo...

Then a resizing to match the cover template, and over to GIMP to add lettering, and it's done!   What do you think?

If you like a light read and love animals, these are the books for you.  Enjoy!  :)



  1. Oh my gosh, you just astound me!! You have so much talent my friend!! Not only writing, but you're an artist and a musician as fair. I have no artistic talent at all. I'm going to have to get this book and check it out. I love the cover!

    1. I hope you do! It has less swearing than the first one. Kat from Cunning Plans is a bit of a potty mouth but Tam is very ladylike. :)


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