1.) Cover illustration was on my mind partly because of my report on my slow progress with the eBook Experiment. A part of what I said there was that I wasn't sure a slick cover would help some of my books, because the books are kind of my own quirky thing.
2.) I've been thinking about "branding" for the oddball indie writer a lot lately too. In some ways it's like making a genre out of yourself. And, of course, cover art is a major part of genre and identity.
|Thurber's illo from The Male Animal|
So with these on my mind, and my own desire to do more doodling, I had the final bit of kismet:
4.) I went to write at Taco Bell -- where I often go to get out of the house -- and found the place full of students. I mean full. The line wound back into the parking lot and all around. Like fifty people outside and who knows how many inside. I don't know what was going on at MSU, but clearly I wasn't going to get any writing done at Taco Bell, so I turned around and headed for MacDonald's... which took me past Staples.
And that was when it all kind of came together. I wanted to sketch. No, I had this urgent need to sketch. I HAD to sketch NOW. It was like a part of my brain was signaling to me: this is a part of what you do. I had nothing to sketch on, so I stopped in and bought some packs of 5 x 8 unlined cards.
I will never be the kind of illustrator who can paint such brilliant work as Samuel Nelson Abbott, or N. C. Wyeth. But I think it might be worth my while to see about putting my stamp on things visually.
A few weeks ago I blogged out the beat-by-beat process of writing the opening for a novelette, The Misplaced Hero. I will probably continue that series as I work through that story (though I may hold back on posting it until I can have spoilers under control).
Now, it happens that the art I worked on that day was a cover for... The Misplaced Hero. Another bit of Kismet? It seems like a good example to continue the "process" posts.
So for the next few weeks I will be blogging every Tuesday about creating that cover -- starting next week with with Part 2 - finding a concept and style to emulate.