I'm by no means an artist. I don't even really have a visual imagination. I'm not particularly good at titles either, but holding a picture in my mind long enough to describe it let alone to draw it is hard for me which makes long, descriptive sections my weakest point as a writer (though as mentioned, my titles also just generally stink).
Cover art, however, is very important in book sales because while you can't judge a book by its cover, when pursuing titles online or in a bookstore, you are dealing with limited information and cover art does make a difference. Some people will completely bypass a book with cheesy or bad cover art.
Now, other than paying a professional artist, which I didn't feel was an option for me for financials reasons, or using a stock image (create-space and kindle direct provides several options for these, but I didn't feel any of them got the mood of my stories across), the self-published author can either team up with a friend, use a photograph of their own, or draw something.
I have had a very clear vision about my Dragon and the Scholar series and the image I wanted to represent it. I wanted a silhouette of a dragon behind the outline of a castle. The first book of the series is called Dragon's Curse and the central theme for most of the story is how the kingdom of Regone has been shadowed with ill luck ever since an unfortunate encounter with a dragon. I chose an orange/red background because of dragon flame and decided to work in water color and sharpies after experimenting for some time with the limited art supplies I had on hand (this artwork might actually be better done with computer graphics but I do not possess that particular skill set).
I started by googling images of castles and dragons and picked a castle with an outline I liked and worked from that. Once I had the castle shape sketched out (in pencil. There was a lot of erasing done today) I started looking into dragons.
|Tools of the trade for an extreme amateur|
I considered using black water colors instead of markers, but the small portion I painted in with them (visible in the next image) simply wasn't dark enough for my taste.
So finally I finished my dragon. I'm very happy with it, though I might choose to use paint (the computer kind) to darken it and make the colors more consistent.
I don't want to publish Dragon's Curse until I've finished at least the first three installments of the series (Dragon's Debt and Dragon's Rival follow Dragon's Curse. I have a theme going.), but it makes me happy to have this artwork out there to share with my "fans." I still have a goal of producing at least one new self-published volume a year, so I want to keep moving. Wish me luck!
And, as always, if you want to check out my first self-published work, it is available on Amazon as a paper back and an ebook.
Craft O Maniac