Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cover qualms

I still have a long way to go on the editing for The Ashes of Home, but having completed some major scene additions last month I’m taking a breather from the words to focus back on the cover art.

I haven’t touched the artwork since I last posted about it in June. The main reasons were (a) summer, and (b) all my spare time was going into critiquing and editing.

But there was a third, unspoken reason lurking in the background that kept me from my brushes.

I had misgivings about how the artwork was turning out.

Worse still, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was worrying me, or what to do about it.

The initial draft has a spaceship being destroyed by a beam of energy. In expanding it to full size I didn’t like the acres of plain black in the background. Instead I had visions inspired by spectacular Hubble images of glowing nebulae cut through by billowing dust clouds. BTW - I regularly visit the NASA website for their Astronomy Picture of the Day.

This was where I got to before sensing things were slightly off track.

There’s nothing wrong with any specific part the painting itself, in isolation. I especially liked the stark contrasts in the lower section. But the upper and lower portions just didn’t belong together, and neither was quite right for the book cover I had in mind.

So this week I bit the bullet and got back to work.

Still some tweaking to do, but I think I’m getting back on track.


  1. I think you've made definite improvements on your cover design.

  2. Hi Ian - definitely more cohesive ... brings the art work more together ... glad you're on the way to an end result.

    I have just driven through the Malahat and back!

    Cheers Hilary

  3. Thank you Stephen. Still tweaking to get the right balance between light and dark, but it's on the move again.

    Hilary, that road is always a roll of the dice whether or not there'll be hold-ups!

  4. Its different. No clue what I'm looking at, but I like that its different; weird.

  5. I think it's starting to come together now.

  6. Donna, the big white gap in the middle makes it hard to see what's going on. That still needs to be filled in.

    Alex, I think so, too. Am able to move forward now I've passed that block.

  7. For a work in progress, Ian, it's shaping up wonderfully. I'm not sure about all that white, tho'.

  8. YES! The little pops of swirly color make all the difference in the world. (Or should I say in space?) You're some kinda talented and brave to design your own covers.

  9. Denise, don't worry about the white. That has yet to be filled in!

    Susan, to be fair, I draw the line at designing the covers. I do the artwork and then hand it over to a designer to turn it into a cover :)

  10. Hi Ian,

    Those extra blobs of colour make all the difference. The cover is coming along rather nicely, good sir.

    All the best to you and your loved ones on Vancouver Island.


  11. It’s a very interesting piece. Keep it up!

  12. Gary, good to hear from you again. Best wishes to you the other side of the pond!

    Chrys, the work is progressing.

  13. Sometimes with art you just have to paint it before you can see it, if that makes sense.

  14. Lynda, that does indeed make sense. When I paint, things often end up far different from how I first pictured them.

  15. I love that your creating the cover with your own art. The pops of colour you’ve added definitely make it more cohesive. I’m looking forward to seeing more.


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