Thursday, May 1, 2014

Inspiration

Well, it’s another one of those nights where I’m sitting here flailing for something to review. Honestly, I have the attention span of a very small, one celled organism. Some days it’s all I can do to not have my cranium crammed chock full of pretty book covers I want to talk about, and some days I look at those same covers and feel ambivalent. I’ll blame today’s ambivalence on having to write a report on architecture during the Industrial Era. Which is really interesting (I know I’m odd), but I think my clever repartee account is now overdrawn.

Anyhow, enough grumping over my lack of witty turnings of a phrase, let’s talk about something.

How about how to find inspiration for covers so you don’t end up doing the same damn cover (or variation of it) over and over again? That’ll work. This can be applied liberally to authors as well.

Finding inspiration is a valuable tool that can help you not only be more creative, but it helps you preserve the little hair you may have left after stressing for a week over a cover or a story you just can’t get a handle on. And let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt the mind numbing doldrums overcome us and basically blank our minds out to the point where the blank page just makes us want to cry and curl up in a little ball under our desks. You know, the point where you start to question your ability to ever start, let alone finish, a project. Yeah, that point.

You must remember, however, in those most grey of times that there is light somewhere at the end of the tunnel. Or, if all else fails, you may prefer utilizing the very important rule as set forth by Pablo Picasso: good artists copy, great artists steal! That will work too. *wink*

I personally have not indulged in this rule, as I’m of the mind that my work should be my own and no one else’s, but I would say that I’ve borrowed heavily from genres and looks that I love. After all sometimes you just want a specific look, and there’s a reason for that. Something…dare I say it? Inspired? Yep, you guessed it, that’s why it’s called inspiration. After all, cavemen drew on caves inspired by nature, who are we to be any different?

So, now you’re wondering what I’m running off at the mouth about yet again, aren’t you? Well, I’m going to show you what I mean with a book cover I did inspired by one of the many genres I adore.

I have a thing for pulp fiction type of covers. Yes, I’m admitting it. No, I’m not speaking of John Travolta and Samuel L. layin’ the smack down on a motherfucker for stealin’ their soul in a case. I’m talking about those overly saturated, overly dramatized, once upon a time, buy it for a dime covers that people hid under their mattresses. You know, like this one:

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It looks like it came right off the pages of early Playboy. Hell, maybe it did, I have no clue. All I know is that this hipster doesn’t look anything like today’s hipster! For one thing, it’s lacking the black eyeglasses and the skinny jeans. But look at the lines of it, the bold saturated colors, the ARTWORK! Can’t you just imagine that shock of something being brought down across your own heated skin, the tantalizingly heated swell of pain that dulls back to a sweet throb? (Maybe I should write some bad porn, huh?) Oh, but uh… now that I look at it, I think it’s a broom handle and that’s a little too much reality with my morning toast, thanks. Plus…ouch.

However, my point still stands: it’s a damn hot cover.

But why the hell did they use a broom handle?

Sorry, I digress.

Now, while I may not be going for this kind of look directly, ’cause let’s face it, Amazon would have a conniption, I do draw on the idea of it. It makes me think of forbidden passion, heated, faceless exchanges, and the need to find redemption with another person in not so conventional ways. And all those ideas help me create something smoky, something a bit naughty, something shocking but still titillating, something intriguing, something like this:

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This particular cover is actually a murder mystery. Sue Brown, the author, wanted something like a dime store mystery book kind of look. Something kinda well worn but hard boiled, and this is what I made for her—that she loved—by drawing from the pulp fiction styles of yesteryear. If it’s at the original size you can see the roughness of texture on the whole picture a lot better, but even at this size it still has the essential feel I was going after and that Sue was looking for.

Unfortunately, Amazon did have a conniption about this one and she wasn’t allowed to use it, but it serves its purpose here well enough.

And this is why sometimes inspiring items are needed. Not only to stay true to the essence of what you are creating but just to have something to give you that nudge in the right direction.

The best part is that inspiration can come from anywhere; music, movies, TV, other books, anywhere. One suggestion that I wholeheartedly stand behind if you’re looking for something to get the giddy up in your hop along going is to make inspirational folders. Folders stuffed to the brim with anything and everything that you think might get your mind out of the wallowing mire of blahness that can be the true bane of any writers/artists existence.

I know that there are authors that use pics of models and locations for their inspiration and so should an artist, but why stop there? I have over 75 folders chock full of everything under the sun. You name it and I probably have a version of it somewhere. I squirrel away everything from movie posters to public domain pictures that I love the feel or color or just simply the idea of.

Different eras, different textures, different fonts, different everything gets thrown into my files if they catch my eye and they make me stop and contemplate them.

If you’re completely lost as to what sorts of things I’m speaking about here just a few examples of what I have in my treasure trove of inspiration.

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See? I told you, everything.

So today’s suggestion is easy, start an inspiration collection. Start a bunch! They’re fun, they’re simple, and they really help when you’re just at a total complete loss and that blank white page is staring you in the face. This works for authors as well, ’cause we all know that damn blinky cursor is NOT going away!

That’s all for me this week. I hope you all have a wonderful day and may all the good books be with you!

A.J.


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All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn. And help this artist grow and learn as well!





 

This review is also published and up on The Novel Approach Reviews. A wonderful book review website that you must check out! :)

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