Month: November 2011

A Cover Fitting a Genie

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 approximately 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.

The 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.

Thanks.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

Today’s the Day! – My book is out!

Last time I celebrated all the great authors who are fighting with blood, sweat, and tears to produce a complete novel in a month as part of National Novel Writing Month. I also told you about what came out of my experience NaNoWriMo.

With hard work since that November of two years ago, I am now able to announce the release of my contemporary fantasy novel:

CLOCKWORK GENIE.


Cecilia Orchard lives alone.

She writes fantasy and mystery stories to escape a humdrum data entry job that barely pays for her apartment, food, and bus fare. Then a handsome police detective arrives with news that she is the prime suspect in the murder of her grandfather whom she never knew existed. If inheriting a fortune from a man she doesn’t know isn’t madness enough, Cecilia finds herself the owner of a powerful genie that could make all her dreams come true, but what are her dreams and is she willing to make the wish?

There’s a real great thrill to know that an idea I had years ago, and all the hard work it took to turn the idea into a story and then into a novel, now exists for others to read.

In the weeks to follow I’m sure to write more about this book, including on how I designed and painted the cover art.

The book currently can be found on Smashwords, and soon will be through distributors including Kindle. I’ll let you know.

Thank you all for the support.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity.

NanoWriMo – A Novel this November

Am very proud of my fiancée Shannon Muir as she begins working on her latest novel as part of NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). As she types away at her keyboard, I know several of my online friends are doing the same thing.

I was contemplating starting one as well, but have too much to do this month.

You see, just days ago, I types the two most glorious words to an author, and I typed them twice.

“The End”

I typed it first on a short story, which I submitted to a publisher for consideration as part of an anthology.

Then I typed them again on my first novel.

Two years ago I did participated in NanoWriMo, and completed the novel I worked on that November, but it was far from perfect and had so much in it that there is no way I could truly consider it finished. Even now I know it needs a page one rewrite.

However, about two weeks into that NanoWriMo, I had an idea for a new story. The concept came to me whole, and while not wanting to interrupt the book I was working on; I jotted down a full page of notes of this new tale and put it aside.

But the more I worked on the story for Nano, the more my thoughts lingered to the new one. So when December rolled around, I jumped head first into the new novel.

The first draft of the story flew from my finger over the next few weeks, though I had to admit that the climax stunk. So in the rewrite I discovered other characters that lived with in my novel’s world and had their own parts of the story to tell.

As I asked more questions about the characters and the world they lived in the story expanded and became much better.

With Shannon acting as my editor, I went through several rewrites and the story kept getting better. Much more so than what I had originally jotted down in a flash.

Now the novel is finished and I am currently painting the cover art and formatting it properly to be release as an ebook, by the end of November.

All this resulted from NanoWriMo. My original book sits in a virtual sock drawer, and one day will come back to life.

This has been a great experience for me, and I wish an equally great experience to all my friends that are writing their novels this November.

Keep Writing.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

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