Many moon cycles ago (alright, over a year ago), I took the plunge and created a page on Patreon. I was not hoping for much, perhaps an added tendril to pry through the murk of the internet and expose my writing to new eyes. A writer is always hoping for new readers, even when we tell ourselves that we write mainly for our own amusement. Sharing something that may bring a smile or some kind of entertainment or enjoyment to others is at the heart of it. Well, inspired by other artists, I dove into those murky internet waters.
I am posting to call attention to, and to thank, my first two patrons!
My first was my spirit sister and long time best friend, Khanada Taylor. She has helped me in so many ways throughout my life. She inspires me to keep going and keep writing. She reads anything I give her and offers feedback and support. Even when my words are sadly lacking or confusing. Her art has graced the covers and the pages of my stories for years, and I am truly grateful for all that she does.
My newest patron is Jennifer Proctor Hollar! For many years, and still in my heart, she’s my actual sister (in-law). I do not get to speak with her often now, except on social media, but we keep up with each other’s lives in that same method. The internet can be a blessing sometimes. She is an avid reader. I remember seeing her with a book always in hand. We shared a love of fantasy stories and often were joined in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I certainly hope that I can bring some new amusement to her with my musings and chapters. Thank you for extending a hand and a vote of confidence that I might actually finish these adventures.
I am grateful to have such wonderful sisters beside me on this journey.
For independent novelists, getting the things that we need to produce the best book is vital. Getting the best things that we need for little to no money is, of course, desirable. I had begun to think that I would never be able to get a photo-like cover that I liked unless I took the photo myself because of the very fact that I had no money to spend on a professional photographer, models, or even most stock photo sites. My son takes photos that I have used in the past, but they entail a great deal of photoshop to make them not look like the places around my house.
Now, the photos on there are varied. There are some that are very similar to ones I’ve seen on other sites. Many lovely stock images of buildings, landscapes, skies, animals, and people. I combed through their library over many tedious hours and found a few that sparked my interest. The site says that the photos are for use for free and no credit to the photographer or contact with them is necessary, but I feel that giving credit where credit is due is important.
I picked several photos where I like certain elements and tried to keep the names of the artists with them in my computer. Granted, I altered the ones that I used. Heavily altered in some cases. But, I am writing this blog to share with you the possibilities that are available on Unsplash or Pixabay, with a little help from photoshop.
Here are the original photos that I selected and downloaded for free on Pixabay and the altered finished cover for THE DAWNSTONE TALE.
This first one is an image offered by Pixabay contributor Thisismyurl aka. Christopher Ross.
I liked the lonely, resolute quality of the model’s pose, the fact that she was barefoot (which Lylith always is) and the red hair.
The Tower of Sunrise had to be typical enough not to be recognizable as a specific place on Earth, but strange enough that it would fit the way I saw it in my mind. I chose an image by Pixabay graphic artist Mysticartdesign.
Dissecting this ruin picture for the pieces that I needed, I then turned to a colorful background that would help give a sense of Jorthus. I choose a rather popular shot of space (the Milky Way) that was available from Pexels on Pixabay. And flipped it!
For the second book in the series, I had a very Conan-style art cover for the first edition, but this time around I wanted to emphasize another of the central characters, Rachel, and keep the photo-e
sque look of the artwork. I came across a rather serene and striking photo on Unsplash by a contributor named Tomas Malik. It was simple yet seemed to say a lot about Rachel’s journey in this book.
The color of the lake really caught my eye. The lone figure, her bag beside her, and the cloud covered mountain all rang true to a feeling that I was relaying in Rachel’s arrival on Jorthus. So, I altered it!
In fact, if you look closely at the castle on the mountainside, you may recognize other parts of the ruins from Mysticartdesign. The planet looming in the sky, Jorthus’ sister-world of Quorrelles, was a pure product of photoshop.
The third book cover in the series, THE EXCURSION, is the result of my son’s photo safari in a construction zone near our house.
He even graciously posed for me with one of his many swords.
Again, I wanted to keep a single main figure as a brand or style for the covers.
Since this is a blog about the fabulous convenience of image sharing sites like Unsplash and Pixabay, I will mention that the silhouetted horses were plucked and altered from several images on Unsplash and are varied and vast.
Not that I couldn’t have used pictures of my own horses that I took in high school, but those would have entailed scanning and rotoscope on a large scale and I just didn’t have time or energy for that. So (again) after many days on photoshop, I had an image that I think not only relayed a feeling of the journey described in the story, but matched the look and feel of the other two.
In conclusion, I found the selection and quality of pictures available on Pixabay and Unsplash excellent and highly recommend checking them out! – R.L.
Find out more about Jorthus or the books by R L Davis Hays at www.rldavishays.webs.com.
#photos #art #Pixabay #Unsplash #Jorthus