Thursday, February 18, 2016

Quick Checkin - and a Pulpy cover

Still drawing and building up some stock before finishing up more covers.  I decided, though, to post an unfinished one.  (It's ALMOST finished.)

This is a 1950s style cover, often used for hard-boiled and thrillers -- but also often (in those days) used for cozier, lighter mystery, such as Christie or Perry Mason.  This one is probably finished in terms of the art and layout, but I'm playing with typography and also have to figure keywords. 

I'm thinking that the image implies a crime thriller -- about a guy framed for a murder.  Or possibly someone who has had a blackout and doesn't know if he's killed this woman.

But it would also be right for a revenge story, a guy standing over someone who was murdered by his nemesis.

With the right title, it could also fit the old fashioned style of mystery suspense (precursor to romantic suspense) with a female hero -- if, perhaps, she stumbled upon a scene like this, and now has to contend with that dark, lurking figure who stood over the body. (Is he now after her to kill the only witness? Or is he an innocent, caught up in a web of intrigue, and she'll have to help him?)

Anyway, that's it for now.

For others updating their ROW80 challenge this mid-week, check out this ROW80 linky page.

UPDATE: finished version now up at Camille's Cover Art.  Gave it a more evocative title. Decided to stick with the same 1950s pulp font, but to go more clean and modern, and with a longer author name.  (I like to vary the names and lengths, because you have to be careful not to design for a particular name length.)

See you in the funny papers.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Update - The Well-Stocked Pantry and Geneaology

I think that, technically, I made my goal this half week.  No I didn't upload any new covers.  (More about that below.)  But I did upload 18 images to a stock site.  And I've got bunches more to upload - but it's a slow process at first.  (And they take forever to moderate the files.  Well, four days, but that's forever in Artiste terms.)

I was puzzled for a while about why the sudden slow down in producing new covers.  I have been producing 2-3 a day for over a month, and then, suddenly, I couldn't quite get to done.

Well, I figured it out.  I tend to work creatively in two modes.  I tend to either be producing lots of off-the-cuff parts of pictures -- backgrounds, shapes, sketches, etc. -- or I am putting together a great design based on those things.  And even though I'm going back and forth in any session, I do tend to lean toward one mode or the other. And for the past couple months I've been working off a large pool of unfinished art.

It's been like cooking with a full and varied pantry.  An art pantry, full of personal "stock art."  And now I've run out of yeast and flour.  Still have plenty of cocoa and sugar and milk, and a freezer full of pork chops, spices and lime juice, but no butter either.

So I'm restocking.

And now that I see it that way, I realize I should be selling stock art at stock sites. Because when I'm in "restocking" mode, I can paint up a storm on dingbats and backgrounds and silhouettes, etc.

In the meantime, I am slowly formatting Moon Child: Ready or Not for Wattpad, and I am digging into my family history stuff.  (I am writing a family history. Or researching the family in order to write it.)

I am deeply embroiled in researching a great great aunt who married above most of the family -- a DOCTOR and PROFESSOR! -- but who died in childbirth so nobody actually talked about her when I was young.  Her husband came from the same county in New York where her mother came from, and I am wondering if it was the family matchmakers at work, or if they happened across each other because she was a nurse.

As a result, I am currently scouring all the issues of the Benzie Banner from 1915 and finding all sorts of other interesting threads.

I am reminded of a sweet little barn cat I knew.  Her name was Gub Gub, and one day when she was half grown, and a big snow had caused a delay in the catfood delivery, I watched her set out from the barn in a determined and business-like way, as if she were dead-set on catching a squirrel. Except as she trotted along, little bits of snow flew away from her paws, and, well, she had to stop and pounce on them. And that stirred up more little ripples of snow, and she had to pounce on that too.  We ended up with little cat paw prints all over the area in front of the barn, but no rodents died that day of anything but the weather.  (We did get the catfood in an hour later...)

Anyway, that's geneaology. You are headed out to do one thing, and there are a million tantalizing things that crop up and distract you.  (Besides, you CAN'T write the history until you've tracked down that one more important thing.)

(Edited to add this picture of GubGub -- not the best one I have, but the best I could find on short notice.)

See you in the funny papers.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ROW80 update: Writing Rears Its Head

I don't have a lot to post today, because I'm going through a transition. Well, two of them.

One is simply that, because I decided to expand my art horizons, as it were, I've been working on things that aren't ready to post. Also, I've been doing behind the scenes stuff on Camille's Cover Art.  I added a preliminary banner, for one thing.

I'm also very slowly adding things.  Like this cover is a "branded match" with one of the first covers I put up (Maid of the Sea).  I hope to do things like branded templates, and full covers "premade" print covers.

But there is also something else....


As expected, I found that, now that I'm officially supposed to be doing art,  writing is giving me an itch.  This is the way of muses.  However, the muses got a boost from a fortune cookie I got last night, which told me that this is a good time to finish some old project.

Okay, but which old project.  I've got lots of them.

I've decided on one of the oldest and biggest: a YA-ish fantasy that I wrote back in the early 1990s.  It was well received by editors, except that they didn't like two things about it. One -- that they couldn't tell if it was YA or for adults.  And Two -- they thought it should be the first of a trilogy, which is not how I saw it at all.

It's kind of the story before the first book -- and in a sense outside the series altogether.  I have this love/hate relationship with fantasy.  I tend to find the quest and magic, and world building parts boring, but, mystery writer that I am, I find all the backstory stuff that gets left out to be utterly fascinating.  So this is kind of "the mystery of the back story" of a classic child-savior heroic fantasy.

Every one who has read it asks me when I'm going to self-publish it.  But since I don't plan to write a sequel, and I don't write that much fantasy any more, it has been on the back burner.

Well, I guess it's time to bring it out.

And I'm going to put it on Wattpad.

Which means I have to process through the 40 chapters and 130k words to figure out where the best serialization breaks are.  (Some chapters will be just fine as they are, others may have to be broken up or combined.)  And then I need to figure out how often to post.

And also whether I want to do some illustration.  I think I probably won't, because I think it requires the type of drawing I am not quick at.

In the meantime, I've decided to start saving up covers until Sunday, when I will decide to post them either at Self-Pub Book Covers or on my own site. The advantage of this is that I can be less hodge podge aobut what I post where. The disadvantage is that a daily deadline is much more compelling.  I may have to go back to it after a bit.

As usual, here is the ROW80 mid-week progress linky, where you can follow others who are in the challenge.

See you in the funny papers.