Friday, April 19, 2013
Happy Stone: Cover Artist Interview
"Happy Stone," my latest short story, is now up on Smashwords and B&N. Amazon and other vendors are coming soon. Cheryl Casey Ramirez designed this great cover for me, and here is the interview we had.
1. You designed the cover for “Happy Stone,” turning a concept and a simple stone into a creepy, weird cover perfect for my story. Can you give us a little information on the process?
I had looked at your website and noticed that your writing leans a little toward the diabolical, so I, even before you answered whether the stone needed a happy smile or a wicked smile, I was expecting wicked.
I browsed the internet for jack-o-lantern faces, because if you can make a pumpkin look wicked, you can make a rock look wicked.
I found a couple that I kept on my desktop for inspiration and then used the natural lines of the stone you sent to find the “eyebrows” and “eye sockets.” After that it was mostly a matter of using the painbrush tool on my software (I use GIMP rather than PhotoShop) with a sort of spackled setting to highlight and darken in all the right places.
2. Your cover gallery has great samples of your work. Do you have a favorite? And why?
I have a favorite genre and that's science fiction/dystopian/post-Apocalyptic. It's what I love to read, so designing the covers is particularly fun. Sometimes when doing the pre-designed covers in that genre, I think, “Wow, I wish someone would write the book for this cover so I can read it.” I was really thinking that for the pre-design named Silo (I'm one of the millions of Hugh Howey fans).
But one of my favorite designs will always be my very first one. It was for K. Meador's “The Inner Chamber.”
3. You make pre-designed covers in addition to custom work. What do you look for when you make a specific piece?
I read what the author says about their book. They describe the story and some of the particular elements, and a picture forms in my head. Authors are word-smiths, and their talent usually builds great images in my mind. Sometimes they already have a vision for the cover themselves and they describe that to me. Sometimes they're wide open to suggestion. Either way, it's a fun process.
4. Tell us a little more about you as an artist. How long have you been making covers? How did you get your start?
My mom has my very first drawing from when I was 3 1/2 years old and the art just never stopped. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Art degree. I think writers, and any creative thinkers, can relate to being interested in “everything.” I draw, paint, build things, have done graphic design for lots of companies and individuals. But until I started designing book covers, I had never truly focused on any one niche.
I love to read, so when the Kindle came out, I wanted one. I started reading my favorite authors on it and then discovered indie authors. Thousands of great stories at affordable prices. But a lot of the covers seemed to mark them as kind of B-grade even though their stories were amazing. I found myself wanting to offer to make a more eye-catching cover for the books I loved. And that led me into the business which I'm now doing full time. It was a natural fit, and I am so thankful to be doing something that I love for a living.
5. Where can we find out more about your designs?
My book cover designs are on my website www.ccrbookcoverdesigns.com