…and my favorite wins the vote for The Tramp cover art!
The weirdest thing about this cover winning by a landslide is that it began as an afterthought.
Since about halfway through writing the book, I had a completely different image in my mind (which became the other cover art, with the person losing balance on railroad tracks). I spent hours and hours meticulously drawing those train tracks, designing the burst of light on the horizon, and cutting out the figure with Adobe Illustrator. The diagonal lines and the colors to grab attention, and the perspective to pull a viewer into the scene–all thought out according to proper design principals. I took care to make the figure seem androgynous, because part of the storyline of The Tramp deals with various meanings of the word ‘tramp’ itself and several characters fit the bill, male and female.
VERB: 1. to tread or walk with a firm, heavy, resounding step; 2. to go on a walking excursion or expedition, hike; 3. to go about as a vagabond
NOUN: 1. (slang), a person with loose morals, tainted reputation
But, I also figured it was best to have options and get some audience feedback. I wanted the other cover art example to be completely different, and thinking my planned design would win the vote easily, I hastily decided on using some already extant art. That seemed easy, and perfect to give contrasting perspective on what I thought was clearly the perfect cover.
I had already decided to start running a blog under the guise of my main female character from The Tramp, Candy (http://candyvale98.tumblr.com), so I chose my favorite of her posted artwork.
I got rid of the gold foil at the bottom and added some gradients with Photoshop, to help the title stand out better. Kicked up the saturation.
For the typography, I thought old letterpress, metal type blocks would be perfect. I made those in Photoshop from a cool tutorial (I’m sorry, I can’t find it now), then went off on my own tangent, as always.
I was pleased that their worn appearance ended up looking great with the crumbling brick shack in the painting. Plus, so much of the book had to do with the geographical setting of the story, mountains and caves, rivers and canyons. Rock.
The more I thought about it, actually…the better that new cover was starting to feel for The Tramp…
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since that painting had sprouted from the same deep well of creative juices that had spawned the novel, and the entire epic story behind the series, with equal measures of nurturing, investigation and passion. Candy’s painting is part of a series that I began several years ago, “40 Paintings.” It was my first foray into the art of blogging; I was attempting to create an online painting course based on understanding the potential of a white page.
I was a baby mama at the time, cooling my heals, and I became distressed at the comments I was hearing from other mothers watching their kids paint and draw and create.
“I used to do that stuff too, when I was little. But I just can’t anymore.”
“Geez, kids are so creative,” (with an astounded shake of the head).
I called the series “Making Art: A Course in Allowing Your Creativity to Flourish.” How cute is that? I was posting stuff like this…
(in paraphrase) “Let it happen, have a lot of stuff on hand and let yourself go!!!”
All you needed were the right materials, lots of blank white space, and the desire to get it out, and get messy!
I really wanted to dispel the mystery of how paintings were made, and make the idea of expressing oneself with art more accessible to the average person (especially the tired moms I was meeting, in sore need of expressing themselves in a healthy manner!). I cared about the project a lot, and I still deluded myself that art meant as much to others as it did to me.
And oh look, this last one is Candy’s painting in its infancy!
Though I didn’t finish the online series, I probably will some day. I still believe in it. I put my heart and soul into writing a course to get others to see their creative potential and I adore the paintings I made while doing it. Candy has “made” some of them and posted them on her blog, and readers will probably see more popping up.
Candy is actually already using the paining below for her next creation (yes, I know I’m crazy)…
After “40 Paintings,” I moved onto something else, but similar. And later, the same soul stuff came pouring out when I decided to start writing The Tramp. So, though the second cover wasn’t as “planned” as the first, I was examining the same issues, visiting the same dark places and seeking the same light, making that painting, as I was while writing my first novel. My main character reflects myself in so many ways. Of course her art would be close to my heart. And of course her painting is perfect for the cover art of her story.