Safety in Numbers

My sister and I developed these graphics to show support of diversity, and to let others know that the bearer of this logo is safe for varied peoples to be around. They are free for anyone to use and share. Contact me if you would like alternate file types.

Here are some items we are using on Zazzle. Feel free to order them or create your own.  

High resolution graphics are also available at this Facebook album.

Inspiration Exists

Today I realized I haven’t written a blog article in five months. It’s not due to laziness.

Creativity is a delicate practice, and an unrelenting one. If you work at it every day, you will eventually reach a point where something comes for you every day, whether you’re ready for it or not. It sounds like every creative professional’s dream come true, but it does have a unique set of challenges. Remembering to eat, running errands, housework, paperwork, many every day necessities take second tier. And one can only keep that up for a limited time before the maintenance of living becomes cumbersome. 

In May, my husband and I started a new chapter in our lives—indie publishing. I have always known that creative pursuits take time, energy, focus, and patience. This new endeavor is no different. As he works to develop his world and further enhance his stories, I have taken on new roles, too.

I’m functioning as his primary marketing coordinator and graphic designer. I’ve been working on his book covers, social media graphics, website, and photography. I have also worked with many bloggers,  reviewers, and media contacts to keep gaining visibility for his books. In the midst of all this, I haven’t made time for mandala art. But I haven’t given up on that, either.

These past few months, I’ll have to admit, writing blog articles became second-tier. I still feel like supporting creativity is my main purpose. I’ve made new friends and found new resources. The publishing efforts have reached a comfortable rhythm, and I have so many new experiences to share with you. Upcoming Kreative Joose articles will feature more resources and helpful techniques for designers, writers, and artists. Hang with me and stay tuned!

In the Realm of Book Cover Design

I have the otherworldly pleasure of being married to a fantasy writer. He started writing novels over 10 years ago. Since then, he's been fighting to break into the fortress that is the publishing industry. We recently learned about KindleScout, a reader-driven site for never-before-published books by emerging authors. One necessary element of entering was to provide cover art for the submitted book. I naturally volunteered to help.

Mandrake's hand after first major battle
Liefdom takes place in a unique realm created by Jesse Teller. It's the story of a fairy named Gentry Mandrake. Born with natural weapons in a race known for pacifism, he is cast out and hated for his differences. It's a hard book to visually represent, filled with love and darkness, hope and death. We didn't want a detailed illustration of one scene on the cover, preferring to instead come up with a simple, striking visual.  

When I asked Jesse if he had anything in mind, he mentioned a drawing of Mandrake's hand I had sketched a few years earlier. He also wanted a parchment background to give it a sense of age. In Liefdom, the main love interest is a fairy who inks the designs of butterfly wings. I wanted to also use colored ink splashes somehow.

Jesse wanted hand lettering for the title art and insisted on working with Chris Mostyn, a talented artist and friend. He was great to work with, very responsive. After a few initial sketches, he sent us this:

Hand lettered title art by Chris Mostyn

We put it all together and came up with a strong design that invokes struggle, pain, and beauty.
Initial cover design

However, after doing a bit of research and reading some fine print, we decided we needed a less bloody version! We tried taking off the red, but it lost impact in the process. For the final cover art, we eliminated the hand and brought in more splattered ink. The ink splashes are actually watercolor, with added saturation and multiplying done in Photoshop.

The dark lower portion of the cover begged for something to anchor it. I needed a brief line of copy to balance the title art. It was the perfect place to include a mention of Perilisc, the name of the continent in which the story takes place.

It's organic, tense, and beautiful. The spotlight behind the title adds contrast, and a sense of hope, while an inexplicable darkness creeps up from below.

Final cover design

For more about Liefdom and Jesse Teller, visit his website.