Well, my novel CLOCKWORK GENIE has been available online as an ebook for purchase for nearly a week now (you can click on the link to the right to purchase it at Amazon.)
So far I’ve had two sales. I’m still smiling.
This week I’ve decided to blog about the cover art of the book, which I can talk about since I drew and painted it, myself.
If you’ve been reading my blogs, or following me on twitter and facebook, you know that I am a comic book artist and draw the online comic book FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY. I wanted to be in comics from an early age and started off as an artist, but soon realized I was a storyteller first. The art has kept up with the writing, and here’s an example.
The hardest part of art that I’ve found, even back in my illustration course in college, was the thumbnail stage. I usually draw something once and like that I have trouble trying to draw it in other designs. It was no different for this cover.
My original idea was to show an image of a golden pocket watch in the center of the art. Perhaps even superimposing a woman’s face with in it. But that didn’t quite work. The two panels of my thumbnails here represent that. Have the watch laying on a cobblestone path, or hanging from the title. Discussion this with Shannon, who has been a great help as my editor on this book, she suggested that the watch should hang from the text to one side as the woman walks off into the distance, yet looking back over her shoulder. I liked that idea; especially having the woman proximately placed helped it fit in with the Paranormal Romance of the book’s genre and market.
I liked that but thought that there might be a better way of tying the woman to the watch all the more. Read the book, the watch is very important to her.
So I brought her closer into the foreground holding the watch on her shoulder.
Either of these were still good ideas, so I decided to take them both to the next stage.
Using the 3D program POSER I set up a female figure into the poses I though best fit the images I had in mind.
I don’t usually use Poser in my artwork, but do use it to set up poses to find the right angle and position of the body for the shot. By the time this was done, I knew I’d be using the close up image.
Using the Poser images as a starting point I sketched up and then penciled the pose. I would then add the hair and the pocket watch into the image on separate layers.
Using these detailed pencils, the painting began. Both the pencils and painting were done in Corel Painter.
They way I paint is not what I would suggest for others, do what works best for you. Coming out of my comic book coloring experience, I laid in flat colors first, her flesh tones on one layer, her hair on another, then the watch, and her dress.
Putting the flats against a grey background, I began to paint in the shadows and shades on each of the layers. I like to use a Gouach, Broad Cover Brush for putting in the colors. Then I blend it all in using a Blender tool, different ones create different effects in the paint, and currently I’m using the Grainy Water Blender. Change the size of the point for different areas and purposes.
The same is done with light side of the figure, blending in a lighter color and finish with highlights. Sometimes the brush doesn’t create a thin enough line so I use my Variable Tip Pen, or even the pencil; again adjust the size for what’s needed.
As you’ll see I did the watch on a different layer, but dropped in the shadows on her flesh tones here.
The next part of the job, done in a separate file, was to create a background. Coming up with the right colors for the background had to be just right for the foreground figure to stand right out and not just be flat. I adjusted this several times as my original colors blended too much into her dress.
I then had to design the house for the background. This house is extremely important to the story, so it had to stand out yet not distract from the figure. I did researching and looked at a dozen or more big houses in Bel Air owned by Hollywood stars back in the 1920s and 1930s. Not wanting to copy any one of them, I found something I like and in several and blended into something new. I drew it and painted it at a large size but on a separate layer that I would be able to shrink down and adjust the shade and tone as need be.
Once pleased with the background, I dropped in my figure in front of it. Here you can see how the watch finally was incorporated.
The background would be adjusted a few more times until I was really happy.
The next assignment was to figure out what font would work best for the title on the cover. I liked several fonts, both in what came with the computer, and some that I purchased. Here is a selection of them that I was considering.
I decided to go with Baskerville SemiBold, but without the Italics.
In Photoshop I started off with the title in the same color as her hair, but it didn’t stand out well enough, so changed it to a brighter yellow. Which I then used the Layer Styles to create an appropriate bevel effect on the letters.
The only problem I had now was my ‘four names of profession creativity’… my name was almost too small to visible. I had to adjust the size slightly, and then dropped a black bar underneath the text so it didn’t vanish into the flesh tones of her arm.
So the Clockwork Genie finally had a face and a cover. I hope you like my art, and I hope you really like the novel.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity