After taking a break from theatre, I soon found that I needed some sort of creative outlet. I soon found that book covers was that outlet. It was unexpected but growing up, I loved the design of posters from movies and musicals. It made sense in a lot of ways for me to transition to it.
I had dabbled in design and Photoshop a bit, so it was a new art form that intrigued me as far as something that could be challenging and satisfying. I had started designing some for my friend Matt Phillion's book series, "The Indestructibles" which focused on teenage superheroes and their adventures as they fight to protect the world and understand their place and roles. It was a wonderful combination of the comic book world and the world of prose and fiction. I couldn't wait to get started with the covers.
I found myself creating in different ways. Soon, I had a few different designs. It started with using simple clip art to pushing myself to try other ways to build a cover.
From there, I learned more about dimensions and cover sizes. It was also fun since while one sees so many different book covers in their life, you don't really think that there would be even a possibility that you would design one, let alone several. That all changed for me.
Matt soon gave me a great opportunity to design a series of his short stories, released in e-book form. That again gave me a chance to really explore different styles and come back to my design roots in Photoshop. There was a great deal of manipulation involved but still I had to keep a lot design aspects in my mind.
The X-mas short story was the most surprising cover for me. As you can see, it started with a wreath in a thrift store and soon became something so much more. It was kind of surreal to see how my mind worked and how it all evolved. From there, the cover art became a long process of understanding the story and making sure I capture it as best I could.
The journey to create something is often difficult, but once it becomes clear what needs to happen, it becomes a less stressful endeavor, like it is with anything else. The pieces fit and everything comes together. It also becomes something you don't expect because of it's simplicity. With the second short story "the Soloist", I had several ideas, each of them so different then the last, so it was hard to see the vision. However, soon it became clear that I had to keep it simple again, and it worked. It was a relief. The use of silhouettes worked far better than I expected.
Most recently, I had the chance to design the third book.
This will be the first book for me that will be in hard copy format. While the challenge of creating it and building the cover was a long haul, seeing it complete was even more nerve-wracking. For me, it was overwhelming to not only get a chance to see my art in this form, but realize that it was happening. Fear. Elation. Confusion. Insecurity. Happiness. Hope.
The series of emotions happening all at once was in fact a hint at the bigger picture: I wanted to keep doing this. It was, as I hoped, satisfying and rewarding.
From here I hope the opportunities keep coming from any which way so I can try new designs and explore different options. Having gained the experience with this series has really given me confidence in my work and validation as an artist. While someday I may return to the stage, I feel that my artistic and creative focus has just realigned itself, allowing me to take on new areas boldly and confidently.
To be continued...
Sterling arts & Design
Creating, getting inspired and reflections.