Friday, September 28, 2012

2 more possible new e-book covers I've painted

I took a chance last week and uploaded a new cover for my fantasy novel City of Rogues, a cover I had painted then fixed up a little in Photoshop. I freely admit I am not a good artist, though I do think I have pretty strong design skills. That being said, I've been quite astonished. Since uploading that new cover, my sales and freebie giveaways have jumped quite a bit, noticeably so.

What this means is, I've been painting more covers, giving it a try. I'll try to upload some more. Time will tell if this helps even further with sales. I hope it does. A couple of my practice covers are at right.

In other painting news, I've been contacted by a beginning children's writer who is considering commissioning me to do a cover for her first e-book. This was quite a shock to me. To repeat, I'm not a good artist, and I make no claims to being one. Painting is more of a hobby to me, something fun to do while listening to music. Becoming a cover artist is not in the works for me, not something I'm interested in pursuing for other writers; even if my skills improved a whole bunch (which is not impossible with more practice), I don't think I'd want to become a regular cover artist, not unless maybe the pay was really, really good. Maybe. Still, I put something together and e-mailed a copy to the writer. I'm waiting to hear back from her, and if she approves my painting, then we'll move ahead. I'm not charging her much, only $25, but as I've pointed out, I'm not a professional artist and have no real desire to become one. If she uses my painting for her cover, I'll make sure to include that cover here with a link.

On another related painting matter, brushes can grow old, they can become worn out. While I logically knew this was possible, it has not been something that has been a problem for me until recently. My favorite two brushes are worn to the point that I almost can't use them any more. What makes it worse is these two brushes are nearly 20 years old and the company that makes them is no longer in existence. You might think brushes are not that big of a deal, that I could pop off to an art store somewhere and buy replacements. It's not that easy. I have another dozen or so brushes of varying sizes and qualities, for different uses, and I do make use of those some, but the two brushes I need to replace are my main painting brushes, what I use for about 90 percent of my painting. Finding the same sizes, types of bristles, lengths, etc., I'm finding is not an easy task. There are thousands upon thousands of different kinds of brushes out there, but finding exactly what I want is turning into a chore. Meanwhile, I'm making due with my two brushes, though I don't know for how much longer, and I'm getting by utilizing some of the other brushes for purposes they are not necessarily meant for. I'm getting by. But I need some replacement brushes.

Also, I'm having to buy new paints for the first time in more than a decade. What I have found is that paints have become much more complex, with a lot more companies n the mix, and a lot more different styles of paint from the older companies. Used to be there were only a few companies that put out acrylic paints, and maybe a couple of dozen different colors with a handful of other, oddball colors one would rarely, if ever need. Now there are hundreds upon hundreds of different colors, and even then there are different quality levels of the paint. As with many things, I'm finding you get what you pay for. The cheaper acrylic paints tend to be quite watery, almost like water colors, and don't cover the canvas well, at least not without multiple coatings (which goes against saving money by buying cheaper paints). The top of the line paints I'm finding a little too heavy, too thick for my preference. So, for the most part I'm sticking with middle-of-the-road paints, ones not for beginners but not necessarily for professional artists. It's working, so far.

I've also been thinking about painting on other backdrops than stretched canvas or canvas board. One problem I run into is that I don't have a good enough camera for shooting pics of my art, so I have to paint small and scan in directly on my flatbed scanner. This is not optimal. The light from the scanner can affect the painting. The texture of the canvas shows through. So, since I can't currently spend big time money on a big time camera, what I need, I'm going to try painting on smoother surfaces, ones that won't show a texture when I scan. I've considered wood, but it's a bit pricey for what I'll be doing. There are hard flat, art boards specifically made for acrylic painting, and I'm considering giving them a try once I run out of canvasses; still, I can see some drawbacks to using these boards, in large part because they are smooth and painted white, which will be difficult to cover with the few cheap paints I still have. I really need to get a good camera, though, because often I think one of my paintings looks better on canvas than it does after I've scanned it in, a lot of the detail work being lost, especially with lighter colors.

So, that's life in my world of acrylic painting of late.

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

The thing about painting, and this is something I tell Lana. it's not always so much about the technical aspects for the viewer, but more about the 'feel.' Lana is pretty good but some of her paintings that aren't technically flawless have some indefinable 'it' factor for me that I love anyway. Maybe more than a flawless piece. I like the feel of the image you show here.

Ty Johnston said...

Thanks, Charles. My biggest concern of late is I can't get the image on the canvas to transfer well to the computer screen. I'll keep trying different things, different approaches.

I understand what you mean about the technical aspects vs. the "feel." I tend to disdain viewing most abstract art, mainly because it looks like lazy and sloppy work to my eye, though some of the classic artists in that vein I enjoy quite a bit, especially some of Dali's work. Oddly enough, while abstract art is not something I usually enjoy viewing, it is something I enjoy painting myself, mainly because of the freedom of it, the freedom of allowing the paints and the brushes to do their own thing without my intentional interference. If that makes any sense.