Updated: May 11, 2021
To be perfectly honest, it was a beautiful accident! But I suppose, as a writer, I wanted a cover that truly represented the story within it and decided to give designing a shot.
The best things happen by accident, right? I'd like to consider #designing as one of them. It's almost been a year (started in June 2020) since I embarked on this journey, and have to say, making a career out of it was the last thing I expected. But, as a creative person, sometimes one outlet isn't enough.
It's an interesting story how I stumbled across the world of #graphicdesign. Before June 2020, I found it amazing that people could express themselves in various ways and mediums. I'd look at artwork and wonder: "Wow, that looks pretty neat". Of course, being an artistic person at heart, I've dabbled in many areas. In fact, art has always been around me!
From a young age, my godmother and I would sculpt beautiful angel statues. She even had an area in her house for pottery and it was fun to skim through the statues and I suppose I grew an appreciation for the arts then. So, I went into drawing and loved it. It was nice to put my imagination into something concrete and I truly thought I would become an artist. I want to one day, but I'll have to pick drawing up again (I've dabbled here and there with it within the past few months.)
Around middle school is when I experimented the most. My passion had changed to #music. I loved music. Music is a core part of my work as a #coverdesigner and a #writer, and it helps me weave in the missing bits of story to bring it all together. I use music as a memory and emotional tool, mainly for writing but also for designing, too. If I decide to ask what music is most fitting to your novel, this would be why!
"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." - Leonard Bernstein
Whenever I design or write, music is what I use to tell a story within a single word, phrase or image. So, it was inevitable that my strong attraction to music led me to learning how to play the flute and wanting to become a composer.
For three years in middle school, learning to read and breathe music changed my perspective on more than life-it became the foundation of artistic desire. I still pick the flute up every now and then and that same old feeling rushes back in. Unfortunately, that passion soon passed too.
While in middle school, along with music, I came across anime and through anime, I discovered the pleasure of the written word. I wrote quite a bit of fan-fiction. After a few months, I realized that I wanted to be a writer. That that was my passion. My soul purpose on this planet. And through beginning a learning curve with writing did I, for the first time, try designing my own #bookcover. I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was my first dark fantasy novel. I wanted a cover that represented the core elements of it. I didn't realize I could have requested a cover or order one for a professional. My initial choice was to design it myself. Prior to using #photoshop, I used #GIMP which was similar enough. It turned out okay. Not like an industry book cover design or what I design now, but it was decent. I don't have that old cover anymore, and even after designing it, I toss the idea of cover design out the window for about five or so years.
The (accidental) return to designing
Last year in May, I made the huge decision to return to writing and decided to do that through a writer led contest on the Wattpad forums. It was the source of motivation and my spark with designing. One of the prizes was a cover design and well, at the time, I didn't have the skills (or thought I didn't) to design a cover.
Thankfully, I did complete the novel and was awarded a cover design but... it didn't fit my novel nor my vision. After taking some time out to think about it, I said, "what the heck, it can't hurt to design my own," and downloaded a free trial of #Photoshop and went scouring the internet for tips for designing a book cover.
What I didn't expect was the fast learning curve. Within less then five days, I figured out way more about designing than the first time I dabbled into it. It was amazing! I actually still have the first cover I designed that I was proud of (both the original in June and an updated one I designed in late fall).
Just looking at the growth amazes me. I wanted to design more so I began designing other covers for writers on Wattpad to build up my portfolio and improved my skill. I would love to redo this first cover again to see where I've improved and what else I can implement to make it far better than it was previously.
In short: I just fell in love
It was a beautiful accident. I became more passionate and excited about designing and I'm grateful to each client I've had in the past before I decided to take my passion into a more serious direction. I figured this would make an interesting blog post to start out with. Just why I love to do the things I love to do and that some things are just fated, I guess.
I also want to share more of my knowledge and tips, an artist's downs and lows, and how I managed to improve in such a short amount of time through self-taught means rather than going to school.