Saturday, January 30, 2016

ROW80 update - started my own cover site, sort of.

I guess I just got tired of designing without typography. (Or actually, designing with the idea that someone will do bad typography over the image.)

So this week I decided to stop posting to Self-Pub Book Covers as soon as I was done with the image design, and wait to pick and choose what I could upload there, and what would benefit from me doing the typography.

And I ended up starting a new blog: this one will act as a catalog for my premade covers.

It's at:  Camille's Cover Art

The template is just barebones at the moment (and will never likely be fancy, but I do at least want to design a title banner, and build up some hotlinks, etc.)  And so far, just the two covers that I decided I HAD to set type on today.

So anyway, back to having fun. (Wait... oh yeah. Taxes. And insurance paperwork.  Bleh.)

Oh, and here is the linky with all the ROW80 participants.

See you in the funny papers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Charles Lane - Character Actor Extraorinaire

Just found out that today was the birthday of Charles Lane, and  I thought I ought to give him a shout out.  (I didn't have time to draw a picture so here's a photo - it might replace it with a drawing later....)

If you've watched any television or movies that were made between 1930 and 1990, you've likely seen him.  He's the skinny, cranky, sharp-faced bureaucrat or functionary -- sometimes a reporter or even gangster sidekick, sometimes a judge, doctor or lawyer, but most often an inspector or efficiency expert or tax-man, angrily using his power to control his little corner of the world.

I love Charles Lane.  I put him in The Man Who Did Too Much -- cast him as an International Man Of Action.  (A cranky, schoolmarmish man of action, but a man of action nonetheless.)  He plays "Zero" or Bob Giroux, George's co-worker, and also his perfect foil. (George being, if anything, the opposite of cranky.)

Lane was born in 1905 -- he lived to 102.  He was acting all the way up to 90 years old.  If you take a gander at the listings at IMDb, you can see his first fifty or sixty roles were uncredite:  Process server, Doctor, Society Reporter, Shoe Salesman, Bothersome Agent (sort of like what he played in my book!), Shyster Lawyer, lots of hotel clerks.

In 42nd Street, he even played an author.

And after the uncredited roles? He played over three hundred (THREE HUNDRED) credited ones.

So here's to Charles Lane, the sort of actor who kept Hollywood ticking for nearly a century.

See you in the funny papers.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday Update

Life went and took away my entire evening.  I am stressed to the hilt, and need an episode of Mannix.

So without much ado, here are the five covers I did since the previous post.  I am inordinately fond of the ruby ring.  The texture for the jewel came of a certain amount of kismet and experimentation, and now I want to do more jewel-themed covers. Maybe a jewel heist cover?

And here are three more.  I realized that they are three quite different pictures of intrigue.  The first fanciful and high adventure (which doesn't do well as a thumbnail, alas), the second could be YA or romantic suspense, the third clearly much more hard-boiled.  I think all of them, though, would benefit from a real title, and not the meaningless "Title Here." 

Now off to watch some of Season 4 of Mannix -- a season with Peggy -- a show created by the famous Levinson and Link (who created Columbo and Murder, She Wrote).  A little heart-pounding theme music by Lalo Shifrin, and hip mid-century modern credit sequence.

Oh, and as usual, here is the Linky with all the other ROW80 participants who updated today.

See you in the funny papers.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

ROW80 - Four Colorful Covers

Sigh. In three days, only four covers.  (The goal is two a day, uploaded to Self-Pub Book Covers for sale.)  There are additional unfinished covers, but that's all for the finished and uploaded.  (Turns out the same forces that interfere with my writing also interfere with my art.)

Here are today's works:

Now in my defense, I must say that I did spend an inordinate amount of time on a hand drawn background for a cover that likely will not end up on SPBC, AND I had one of my romantic suspense stories up and hand me a solution to a problem that had been bugging me.

This is one of the reasons for announcing that I'll do artwork for this dare: suddenly novels will come out of the woodwork and demand attention. Work every time.

And no, I didn't do anything on writing a regular blog post. Well, okay, I did do some drafting on a post talking about various of these covers, but I blathered, and I felt that getting back to the art was more important than whipping that into shape.

But, I may make an adjustment in my goals, to be one cover a day, and one post about that cover.  Maybe.  We'll see.

See you in the funny papers.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

ROW 80 - A Book Cover Dare!


I have decided that I can't be "The Daring Novelist" if I don't do some kind of dare once in while. Even if it's an Art Dare rather than a Writing Dare.

As a result, I'm rejoining A Round Of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), even though it's been going for two weeks already, but I'll be doing artwork and blogging, instead of working on a novel.

(For those of you from ROW80, who are just joining us... life issues have made writing difficult just now.  I am retreating for a while into art. Which is just as much fun.)


*Two covers finished and uploaded to Self-Pub Book Covers every night.  (And I'm not even starting late on that! I've been doing about that many since the first of the month!  However I do want to keep this pace up.)

Once I have 100 covers up at SPBC, though, I will slow down the covers specifically for them.  Some of the covers will be for my own portfolio of premade covers for direct sale. (Or for my own books. Or for my own fun.)

*Write interesting ROW80 update posts, about the art and the stories the covers tell.  Since Self-Pub Book Covers insists on very limited typography options (authors often set their own type with limited online tools on the site -- so our designs have to reflect/account for that), I may do some more flashy typography on some of the covers I post here, just to spread my wings.

*1-2 additional posts a week.  I would like to start writing my "Friday Favorites" again -- commentary on favorite (and often lesser-known) movies, directors, actors, writers, books, whatever.  And I'd like to do posts on art and publishing -- and maybe commentary on other covers -- classic or current covers I stumble across.  Or on design issues that authors and do-it-yourself cover folks need to know.

So for this first update, here are the covers I've done in the last few days (I will post the "comments on the covers" in a separate post which I'll link here and on my next update tomorrow, just because I decided to do this at the last moment, and I'm in a rush):

These are available for purchase at my DaringNovelist portfolio at Self-Pub Book Covers .

OOPS! - edit to add: you can find other folks involved in the ROW80 Dare at the Jan 17 Update Page.

See you in the funny papers!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Every Cover Tells a Story (but not the story you think)

I remember when I took my first design class.  It was the intro class for all art study, and it was all about design principles.  You know, balance, repetition, pattern, etc.  And often our assignments involved cutting out black squares and arranging them in ways that illustrated a design principle.

We weren't supposed to try to make a picture out of them or anything.  Just keep it pure abstract.  But I had already had some design, in film and photography school, and I couldn't help but see even pure abstract in terms of motion.  I always did my designs with an idea to where they were going.  So the squares scattered across a page weren't just showing balance or repetition or whatever the assignment was.  They were falling, or rushing, or tumbling or stopping.

Whenever the teacher looked over my shoulder, she would shake her head and say, accusingly, "You like to tell stories, don't you?"


Yes.  I do.

I also like coming up with ideas for stories more than just about any other thing.  And I like the way conceptual art -- particularly book covers -- "tells a story." 

All book covers tell a story.  All of them. Even plain, boring dissertation covers.  The story they tell is NOT the story inside the book.  Even when the cover has an illustration of a scene from inside the book, they are not telling the story of the book. Only the book itself tells that story.

A book cover tells the story of how you will feel reading the book.

This is why I really enjoy doing pre-made covers.  It's like writing lots of stories. 

Right now, I am not quite ready to open my own independent cover business.  Too much set up involved, lots of skills to polish and a portfolio to fill.

However, I am putting most of the covers up at Self-Pub Book Covers.  You can see my current portfolio there at Daring Novelist Covers.  (I'm also, slowly, setting up a portfolio at Deviant Art.)

I've done several dozen covers in the past few weeks.  Here is a look at this week's covers.

As you can see, it's a widely mixed bunch.  Nonfiction, hard-boiled, cozy/light-hearted.  This is a problem for sales, as I don't as yet have very many of any certain kind for someone to choose from -- but that's the advantage of putting them up on a site like SPBC. There are lots of all kinds of covers there.  Eventually, I'll have more of every type of cover.

In the meantime, here is another dozen, from last week.

My one regret is that SPBC doesn't let the artists do the typography.  Customers have a choice: they can set the type with SPBC's rather limited online interface, or they can download the cover without type and set it at home with their own fonts and software. 

As a result, I have to design around the limited (and often unskilled) typography choices most customers seem to opt for.  Eventually I'll set up my own site, and then I'll have fun with type. (And I'll likely take any covers that don't sell at SPBC, and "refresh" them with better typography.)

In the meantime, I have lots more covers than the ones you see here.  Check out the my full portfolio at SPBC.

See you in the funny papers.