As I publish more and more books, I find myself wanting to create my own cover art.
It’s risky business, I know. If I paint something that looks too homemade or ‘arts and crafty,’ I could repel audiences with subpar art.
I’ll probably still keep reaching out to my favorite artist, Amanda Makepeace, for all of my major novels.
But for other, stranger, darker releases, I might keep trying my own brand of shadowy art.
On Christmas Eve 2016 I found myself sketching a scary hand. It grasped for a magical (and of course, evil) orb of power. This little concept was born days earlier when I dreamed up my next series of novellas, currently titled Ashes of Everything. The pencil I used is the same pencil I used in high school more than 20 years ago. No kidding. The hand….is based on mine.
Painting fire is fun! I mixed up soft watercolor reds and added depth as I reached the canvas’s edge. The pencil-sketched hand is still under there, just barely visible enough for me to fill it in with blacks after the flames were complete.
Ah, the claws, the grasping fingers! Those who’ve read my Tyrants of the Dead series might remember whose hand that is. Those who haven’t, well…what are you waiting for? But seriously, texturing hands (especially demonic ones) is no easy thing. I spent countless hours shading, darkening, and highlighting each finger.
The more I toiled, the darker the painting became. The flames deepened. Black prison bars appeared in the background, representing the demon creature’s imprisoned state. This is the final pre-varnish image. I was very pleased with how it turned out. It’ll most likely make the cut as a book cover in the next few months.
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If you liked this Painting with Darkness entry, check out the other fourteen: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII. XIII, XIV.
To dive into the series that inspired this piece, click this.
Until next time…
J Edward Neill