I wanted to do a post that had nothing to do with book covers. Remember, this blog was created WAY before I started making book covers and was used for shameless self promotion. Not that I’m posting this to shamelessly self promote, ok, maybe a little, but not much. It’s actually another photography post.
I recently finished my second Critique Your Photography Class with Will Fields Photography Workshops, (who happens to be running a Living Social Deal) and thought I’d share some of the works that came from that time frame. Some were taken for the assignments, some just taken because I was in the groove. Warning! There’s a lot of pics again! The class was 4wks, but spaced over every other week. So I have 8 weeks worth
The first assignment was to take a picture of the same spot/thing using the same camera settings at least two different times of the day trying to hit the magic hours to compare the lighting. Like Morning/Noon, Noon/Evening or throw a cloudy day in there. One thing that was really brought to my attention during this assignment, was the direction you were facing vs time of day. Such a silly thing, but I don’t think I ever gave it thought before.
These are all unedited, with the exception that I took the time to place them side by side and label the time of day. They were also all taken at Maplewood Lake in Jenison, Mi I think I had more fun trying to find the exact spot again than anything else. LOL
And of course I had to take a couple and edit them just a tiny bit, if not just an auto contrast!!!
This next set wasn’t taken for an assignment. We had a Gale Wind Warning in Grand Haven, so a couple of us ran out to the pier one night.
Some of these I was playing with long exposure.
I’ve decided I really like taking night shots!
The next assignment was colors. How color makes the picture. Good thing we were at peak fall colors!
These were taken at Hagar Park, Jenison, Mi.
I like this one (above) because there’s naturally a rainbow. See how it goes from the red leaves to orange, yellow, green, and then finally the shadows on the bench are blue.
This one (above) I shot in HDR.
These next few were also shot for the color assignment, plus it was just before Halloween, and I just wanted to shoot pumpkins! They’re also in HDR.
Do YOU see the skull in the pumpkin? That was just how the smashed in part looked, not added!
And the last assignment was Backgrounds and Pos/Neg Space.
This one really didn’t have to do with the assignment, I just liked it!
And of course I had to do some of my kids.
Whew! That’s a lot of pics! I’m done now!
And, head over to his facebook page for a chance to win a free photography class or photo walk of your choice!
I have been cooped up the past couple days with the flu. I try to lay down, but I’ll either start a coughing fit, or all the pressure will build up in my head, pounding and throbbing till I swear it’s going to blow. Or I start the cold chills and for some reason find myself restless. The rare few times I think I can settle in and rest, the kids get to me. So needless to say, I’ve spent a LOT of time curled up on the couch with the laptop, and haven’t gotten much sleep.
I have gotten a lot of cover work done while I neglected my day to day household duties in fear of the water balloon I call a head finally bursting. (There are a few I’m waiting on the back blurbs before sharing, not to mention the ones mid-progress. They’ll be on here…eventually) But over the past couple weeks I’ve been wanting to create something for me. Create my visions instead of someone else’s. Whether it be photography, photomanipulation, or any kind of digital art. Needless to say I’ve been too busy to take the extra time at the computer to do so. Not to mention ideas flit in one side of my head, and back out the other like an illusive butterfly. So when I do have a chance, I can’t remember what they were!
Part of my job (can you really call this a job? man am I lucky!) requires me to constantly learn new things and/or techniques in Photoshop. So I watch a LOT of tutorials. Some things I retain and use, some I don’t. I have had a particular interest in digitally painted hair lately and have watched/read numerous tutorials, trying several techniques over the past month or so.
Yesterday evening I was sitting here, bored, yet didn’t want to “work”. Husband still at work, kids watching a movie, and the dog sitting there staring at me. Creeps me out sometimes when she does that. Just sits there, a foot or so away, staring. I was looking at her, noting the shadows and highlights of her fur. Yes, I look at everything in terms of shadows first, highlights second, gets annoying at times. Sometimes I even imagine painting or “etchy penning” (don’t ask!) over things I’m looking at. Other times it’s camera angles. How would I move to get a better angle? Depends on which frame of mind I am in. Suddenly the hair tutorials popped into my head. And I wondered….
I know from past trials and errors that I struggle with nose or muzzle proportions when I freehand. And I am WAY out of practice freehand drawing. So I grabbed the camera and took a picture of the dog. Loading the picture onto the computer and opened up photoshop. This is the image:
This was just for me for practice, I wanted to get the feel of the brush strokes using my tablet. I will freely admit I cheated. I cropped the image, cleaned it up and painting a black background around her. Then I used the Mixer Brush tool, set at very wet-heavy mix, with custom brushes I made and started painting directly on the photograph. In layman’s terms: Imagine having the photograph in front of you. Now imagine all the ink created to print said photo magically turned into wet paint, still retaining the image. Now take a paint brush, going over the whole thing and mix and move that wet paint the way you want it to look. That’s basically what I did. Followed by painting over details such as the eyes and nose.
My husband came home just as I finished it. When I tried to explain what I did, he said “So basically it’s a digital paint by numbers?”
I enjoyed doing it. It was fun and relaxing, and I wanted to do another. I asked a friend to send me a picture of her dog so I could play some more. She sent me a few images to choose from and I chose this one.
Isn’t he cute? He’s just so white and fluffy. I don’t even like small dogs and I went “Aww..” While I was looking at it, I thought, why can’t I paint new instead of making the photograph “wet paint”?
Now some may say I still cheated because I started out basically “tracing” it. This time, I created new layers and did general paint blobs of the colors, using my custom brushes for the occasional stray hair sweep. Each color had it’s own layer, leaving the original as the bottom layer to go back and view for reference. Once I painted each color, I merged the layers and started adding in the details using both the regular paint brush (for added colors and details) and the mixer brush. Finishing touches again were painting the eyes, some highlights, and some extra stray hairs.
By this time, it’s just about bedtime for the kids. Hubby wants to watch some tv with me, and I am coming off of my cold & sinus meds. So I put the computer away. My stuffed uppededness gets awful again, so I wind up taking more meds, which in turn leaves me WIDE awake when it’s time to hit the hay. So instead of tossing and turning and keeping my husband up all night, I stay up and start yet ANOTHER painting.
I started with the background, completely freehand, no reference, no photos (the branches in the corner are a brush though). I decide I’m going to do a wolf next. I searched deviantart.com for stock images of wolves for reference. I came across this one from MoonsongStock , and figured it would work. I cropped the image to what I wanted and blew it up till it was barely recognizable from pixel bloat. Once again, I will admit, I used the photograph to trace the general outline so I didn’t have a misshaped muzzle. After that I used it purely as eyeball reference (I looked at the original to see where to shade and highlight) and painted away.
So there you have it, what happens when you’re (we’ll for me at least) cooped up in the house sick with nothing better to do…er nothing better that you want to do at least. I might play more with full digital painting, if and when I have time.
[NOTE: This next one was added after this post originated. I just didn't feel like doing another new post.]
“Dangerous Delusions,” Book 4 in Chris Northern’s Dancing with Darwin series is on it’s way to the virtual bookshelf. Take a look at the new cover, and watch for it coming soon to eBook!
Available now on ebook!
BLURB: Running away isn’t necessarily the answer.
In her mad rush to escape a failed marriage, Sara Woods takes the first job available and lands in the middle of a mystery. Her first assignment as a news reporter for the Ralston Courier is the investigation of a string of deaths, all young women, all her age.
She becomes a patient at the Goldstone Clinic, a local mecca of healing, to deal with chronic pain from her past. But all is not as it seems at the Goldstone, its doctors and nurses are all the picture of perfect beauty and health. Patients at the clinic first seem to get better, then they deteriorate. Sara enlists the help of Dr. Rick Paulsen, who teaches her how to access her internal power, skills she never knew she had, revealing secrets from her past. Police officer Brendon Zale also takes an interest in Sara, but he acts like a stalker, watching her every move, and he won’t leave her alone.
As she digs deeper into the story, and more young women die without explanation, she tries to choose allies wisely, but not till the last confrontation does she discover the identity of her true enemy.
By then, it’s too late.
I feel like I have been neglecting my Pre-made Cover section and I had a moment today to go through some older files, covers that didn’t quite fit the bill, things started that weren’t finished, etc and cleaned a few up to add to the pre-made section.
I’ll be adding more once I get a chance to go through more.
For information about purchasing a pre-made cover, click here
Author Liz Schulte decided to add her literary masterpieces to the world of printed books. I wiggled my nose and whispered a few choice words and this is what we came up with.
Look for them coming soon to print!
I’m not sure why I feel the need to add “another non-cover post” to my title. LOL Seems like all my posts are about covers lately. Used to be, all my posts were about photography or art. So once in a while I need to throw something non-cover related out there.
Most of my time now days is spent on doing cover art, but not all of it. I felt the need to get away from Photoshop a bit, and get in touch with my camera again, so I took a local photography workshop called “Critiquing Your Photography” instructed by Will Fields. If you’re in the area, and have an interest in photography, I highly recommend taking one of his classes. Will offers a variety of photography classes/workshops both here in Grand Rapids, Mi and in St. Louis. Varying from a 1hr Private Instruction classes, to Beginning Photography, to In Studio Lighting, to Nature Photography, to Critiquing your Photography, to weekend Photography Tours.
I had a great time, learned a lot, made a few friends, shared a bit of Photoshop knowledge, and took a bunch of pictures over the 4 week course.
Now I’m gonna share some of my pics!
I did do a post previously on the first assignment, which was called “A Non-cover Post” (go figure!) Though technically I wasn’t doing those pics FOR the assignment, I had it in mind, was sort of a practice/prelude. I had planned on doing something else, but life happened and I wound up using those shots anyways. The assignment was to pick a famous photography, and try and recreate their work/style. For those of you who don’t want to go back and read that post, just want to see pics, here are a couple from that. (no PS)
And more pics taken during the time frame of the workshop:
A Photowalk we did downtown (only cropping done)
An old school house one of my classmates and I found, working on shutter speed.
More shutter priority work, we were to capture motion, decided to go downtown at night, overlooking the highway.
(played with the color a bit in PS on this one)
Then I got a bit preoccupied by the way the light reflected off the Grand River, and ignored the whole motion thing:
I also tried having the kids play with flashlights at night:
And since I’m sharing pics, here are a few, not connected to the class, but a couple of us joined the Grand Rapids Flickr Group on their monthly Photowalk.
Look for the series on eBook, and soon to print!
BLURB: Vezradesh…in the Firym language that single word represents the heart, the soul, and eternity. For Jala Merrodin the word has a single definition…Finn. Devastated by his loss Jala embarks into hell itself to free his soul. Time is against her however as she struggles to save him.
The world above is torn by the chaos of war and her allies are besieged on all sides by blights. If she doesn’t move swiftly Jala may lose her only chance to raise Merro from the ashes.
A new cover for Tyler Brentmore’s western “Dead Men’s Fingers“
BLURB: Leaving behind memories of bloodshed and sorrow, Jed Longman signs to a company of wagons to take his three sons to a better life out West. But trouble keeps snapping at his heels. First there’s the persistent Mrs Harris with her school ma’am attitude so contrary to her fancy coach-guns, then the threat of fever, then the ruthless killer Baddell determined to haunt him and his to an unmarked grave.
Sometimes a family man has to remember how to stand alone.
I’ve worked with author Shaun Jeffrey before on his psychological thrillers, “The Kult” and “Killers,” so when he contacted me about doing a cover for his new short story “Day by Day” I was thrilled. This story isn’t his typical cup of tea. It’s about a girl, tired of living in her sister’s shadow, being treated like a child, who ends up clinging to the wrong person and winds up down a very dark path.
Look for it coming soon to eBook!
The latest completed cover was for author Darnell “Saki” Dickerson’s upcoming horror/thriller, “Flowers”.
Look for it coming soon to eBook!
Facebook Timeline Cover Image:
Book 4 for Melissa Myers’s The Elder Blood Chronicles, “The Blessed Curse” is done. We jumped over book 2 and 3 so she could have #4 ready for release this June.
BLURB: The smoke of battle has cleared and Sanctuary lies in near ruin. The
power of the High Houses has shifted, leaving the former leaders of the world dependent on their allies for shelter against the chaos of
the current times. The threat of the Blights looms larger than ever with no sign of anyone to stand before them.
As tempers begin to fray and the uneasy alliance slowly falls apart,Neph departs for Delvay in a desperate attempt to rebuild his
shattered homeland and face the coming storm. His people are few and his land is controlled by enemies, but in the heart of Delvay rests the secret that may save them all — If he can master the magic to awaken it.
The Aspects of Sanctuary are always listening, though, and even when it appears that all hope is lost, Neph’s past returns to haunt him and offer the key to the future he is trying to rebuild.
Look for it coming soon to print and eBook!
I debated on doing three separate posts, but then decided that was just plain ridiculous! It’s a trilogy, and all three covers are done! I really enjoyed doing these covers for Liz Schulte’s Guardian Trilogy. It was a fairly simple design (a ying yang) with the challenge of creating a realistic progression (glowing burst, charred flames, flaking away ashes) with no stock usage….I’ll just show the books
Book 1: “Secrets“
Book 2: “Choices“
Book 3: “Consequences“
And the Facebook Timeline Cover image:
Look for it on eBook!
BLURB: While Dana is working to save the rainforests, someone else is working to end the world. When it all hits the fan, Dana seeks refuge with the last person on earth she would have believed possible – her new friend in the oil industry.
Evolving Environment is the third story to be released of a series of many parts, collectively known as Dancing with Darwin. Evolving Environment is approx 11,850 words (Maybe 33 print pages) – I have priced it at the absolute minimum Amazon allows.
The Dancing with Darwin stories can be read in any order.
Melissa Myers contacted me a short bit ago about redoing her covers for “The Elder Blood Chronicles” series of hers. First off, I have to say, if you are at all interested in fantasy novels READ THIS SERIES! I can honestly endorse it because I started reading the series before doing the cover.
We just finished book one’s cover “In Shades of Grey“
BLURB: In a breath it was gone — her home, her family, her future. For Jala, the first taste of magic was a brutal one. Spared from death by the protection of a god, Jala is rescued by outlaws and taken to a remote country temple to be raised. Thinking herself no more than a farmer’s orphan, Jala is caught completely off guard when told that she is to train at the High Academy. With no escape from this new future, Jala finds herself cast out of the temple and forced into a world of magic and intrigue. Now she must learn quickly about her world as well as herself if she is going to survive.
As Jala’s magic unfolds she is drawn back to her ruined homeland by nightmares and acquires a Familiar like no other. Realizing she is far more than a simple farmer’s daughter, Jala begins searching for the secrets of her past. As the truth unfolds and her reputation in the city of Sanctuary grows, so does the danger. With half of the Elder Blood houses wanting her dead and the other half wanting her help, Jala finds herself the center of more attention than she ever wanted.
I don’t think I’ve told Melissa this yet, but I hold this cover particularly dear to me because in my frustration (yes I got frustrated) in getting the image from my head to the screen, I wound up doing something I haven’t done in years. I digitally painted. I work on photography, photomanipulations, design, vector art, but I haven’t actually painted stroke by stroke in, well I’m not sure how many years. The whole cover isn’t digitally painted, though there are a lot of areas that were. Mostly though it was Marrow, the cat-like creature called a Bendazzi from the books. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t fully free-hand, I started with something, well a couple of somethings, mostly for reference. But all that fur you see, and the detail, was painted.
Here’s a closer view.
And here’s the full print cover.
And the Facebook Timeline Cover image.
Look for it in print and eBook!
Redid the cover for Madison Bradford’s “The Happiness Quest: How to be Happy”
Available now on eBook!
BLURB: Let’s face it; we all just want to be HAPPY! Our actions, thoughts, dreams and desires are all based around finding happiness. Do you consider yourself happy? If not, it’s time you went on The Happiness Quest. This book analyzes every aspect of happiness and it unveils simple steps you can take on your journey to contentment and joy. You will explore the connections between happiness and money, relationships, your career and much more. Learn to tap into your inner “happy self” and how to change other people’s perceptions of you. This book, written by Madison Bradford will help reach your destination on your own personal Happiness Quest!
**Written by Madison Bradford, the BEST SELLING author of Moneymalism and The Minimal LIST. **
Now available on eBook!
BLURB: When the world goes crazy, Sheena drives into Los Angeles as part of a military convoy, surrounded by people she knows and trusts with her life. When madness steals over her unit, she is forced away from them… and everyone else. It’s only a matter of time before she must deal with her fear and face her inner demons.
Headed Home is the second story to be released of a series of many parts, collectively known as Dancing with Darwin. It is one of the shortest in the Dancing with Darwin series at 10,250 words (roughly 30 print pages)
One more cover to post about today. This one is for author Alex MacLean, and his upcoming eBook, “Blue Wall: A True Story of Police Corruption in Small Town Canada”
Look for it coming soon to eBook!
Matching facebook timeline cover image:
Another cover finished. This one is for Jack Howell’s short story “Hoot.” Predatory owls that attack humans!
Now available on eBook!
BLURB: Camping couple Zach and Emma lose their way in a remote section of the San Juan Forest in Colorado. As night falls they stumble upon a hidden source of horror — solitary creatures that have transformed into a pack of predators, hungry for flesh. When the sun goes down on the forest, the fun quickly fades for this young couple in love.
One thing is for sure… it’s a Hoot.