The following is a slightly edited version of a post I wrote for the Goodreads M/M Romance group message board–a private forum for members of the group–to promote my new M/M romance (love story between male characters) short story Home Port.
When it came time to create a cover for my short story Home Port‘s ebook, I figured I would stick to what I know and draw it. Here’s a quick look at the process I went through:
1. Rough sketch. I knew in my head what the main characters looked like– and it was not much like this! But with this sketch I was able to visualize how the composition would come together.
2. Rendering. My natural drawing style is more cartoony than realistic, so I looked through the Internet to find decent photos of guys in more-or-less the right poses. Now, it’s important to note that I did not just trace these photos directly, or stick ‘em in a Photoshop filter or anything like that; that would be a violation of the photographers’ copyrights. I drew from them as one would from a live model–to place the features in all the correct proportions and angles–but I made significant changes. The model for the figure on the left was a white guy dripping wet in a shower, and the model for the figure on the right had some kind of Brady Bunch perm thing going on. (*cringe*)
3. Color art. This I did in Photoshop, picking out shapes of color, which obscures the original line art completely. It’s a technique I’ve used often and I like the way it looks, but right now this is a little flat.
4. First draft. Okay, so I’ve softened it up with some filters and threw in some type and snoooooorrre. BORING.
5. Getting closer. By cropping it up, the composition is a lot cozier and more intimate, but the type is still pretty blah. And the colors are a little too literal; they sort of pull the eye in too many directions all at once.
6. Final draft… so far. Cropped even a little bit closer, used a more elegant font, and knocked out all the color into a nice monochromatic blue. It’s a quiet bit of art, for what I think is a fairly quiet little story, so I think it fits. I’ll probably noodle around with it a little bit before I go on to publish Home Port on Smashwords and wherever else it winds up on the Internet!