I've been playing with Blending Modes in Photoshop. The colors on one layer blend with those below it, to create something altogether different. While it's nice for creating effects for photos or artwork, I find that it can really be fun to use abstract shapes and pile on a bunch of them. The colors you get can be unpredictable, depending on what blending "mode" you chose for each layer.
And they also come out with a retro feel -- back when mysteries and thrillers, pulp and cozies were all part of the same genre, all with surprisingly similar covers. I'm thinking that if I ever get any of these "Game Stories" done, this may be the branding style I'll use for the series.
The one in the upper right was a design I did for a potential client (via 99 Designs -- where artists compete in contests for jobs), but she decided to go in another direction, so I revamped it for a random title and name, and honestly I may write a story for it myself.
The upper left one I just did. I saw an image of a 50's movie star -- not the same pose, but something about her shape, and the very different shape of the floofy skirt, made me sketch for a while.
The lower two were just done off the top of my head. I "drew" the shapes with the magnetic selection too. (Not recommended, unless really want something quirky to come of it.) If I were to use either of those, I'd spend more time on the figures and shapes. I have to admit, though, I think I'd like to write a Christmas Mystery of Dead Ringer, but at the moment I don't have an idea.
I must remember to put some of these up at Deviant Art as a portfolio.
See you in the funny papers.