My Egyptian Short Stories Collection needs a Cover Artist!

I am planning more than I am doing.

And one of things I am planning on doing is: writing a collection of short-stories set in Ancient Egypt. No mistake there. I am writing, NOT illustrating this collection. But why not? Come to think of it, if writing comes to publishing, I’d need a cover, and all the serious writer-bloggers who’ve self-published recommend that we must never make the cover ourselves. We must shell out some moolah and hire a good cover artist for our books. I agree whole-heartedly. I mean, if all writers began illustrating their own book covers, we’ll be soon out of business.

Note that a lone eye like the one below isn’t something that I am going to put on the cover. It merely tells that the artist who did this was lazy.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

So stretching the main logic some more and spreading it quite thin, when I write a book, I must hire a cover artist to do the cover. Hiring myself is beyond my own modest means, which means that I must find another. However, my mean-means would allow me to get only stick-figure artists!

Do you see my dilemma?

I think I’ll try to haggle with myself and try to get me to reduce my fee, but I know that my charges are very reasonable, and I’d feel terrible about bringing my own price-points down.

Do you realise that this is a Catch 22?

I think I should sling my camera around my neck, get into my time-machine, go to ancient Egypt, and shoot some pictures for my cover.

But another writer’s blog recommends that illustrated covers sell better than photographic ones, especially for the fantasy and historical fiction genres; and the fuel-bill for the time machine would burn a whole in my already quite hole-y pocket.

Have you noticed that I am stuck? 

And this is why I must plan the whole thing again! Meanwhile, if my author/artist friends shared their experiences and suggestions, I’d be grateful. I am serious about this short-story collection, so please take me seriously.

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Portrait Art – Hats that women wear: Hat No. 2

Women wear different hats for different occasions and at different ages. The hats also change form on the basis of what society expects from them at a particular forum.

The hats that I paint are the ones that women wear inside, those that are made of the thoughts that crowd a woman’s mind – some of these thoughts are fearsome, others delightful; some are crazy enough to border on the loony, others are balanced and rational; a few of these thoughts must arise to meet the challenges that life throws upon the thinker, and many that are woven with the threads of the wearer’s dreams.

Here’s the second hat.

Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.

 

I leave the interpretation to my visitors as our past experiences could help each one of us interpret this hat differently.

Does this hat belong to you? or to someone you think you know well? If it does…you are right, because women don different hats at different stages and phases of their lives, and many of us have worn this hat too – not very willingly though.

The hats are still torturing me. They make me paint them…they steal my hours and my days, the time that must go into more productive affairs – and yet there isn’t much that I can do, except do their bidding.

About the Crazy Stuff that’s been happening all over this place – A Personal Post.

The more observant readers of this blog must be seeing some changes here – and I hope that the changes meet the approval of my visitors and readers.

Let me sum up all these changes 🙂

1. The Color Artwork section of the Art Gallery has gone through a complete overhaul. I am no techno-geek but the gallery looks cool in my browser (Safari.) I’ve been told that Firefox plays its own dirty tricks on the presentation of this page – so be it. If I’ve to choose between spending my time figuring out html style sheets and drawing, I’ll choose the latter.

Click the following image to view my Art Gallery comprising my magazine/book cover illustrations, inner illustrations, and other color and black and white caricatures.

Click to view my color and black & white illustrations.

Click to view my color and black & white illustrations and other caricatures.

2. The top-bar has been cleansed of the sections that I was no longer doing justice to (I know how unfair it is – the pages pay for my disinterest) and it now has a new super cute section – a gallery of my Pen and Ink Portraits. I have another blog dedicated totally to Pen and Ink art, but as this blog is a holistic representation of me and my work, I thought it must be added here too.

Click the following image to arrive at the page.

Click to View my Pen and Ink Portraits of Pets and Wildlife.

Click to View my Pen and Ink Portraits of Pets and Wildlife.

3. The sidebar has been shuffled to present the recent changes.

4. The header image has been changed to reflect some works from this year. Hopefully it looks nicer.

The next post will present Serena Williams’ caricature, complete with a trophy and a tennis racket 🙂 (You can steal a glance at her caricature on the header image, but I’ll post a bigger one, with a closeup of the face….and yes, the post would be about my painting experience.) So if you are a sports enthusiast and would like me to notify you about it, click the Follow button 🙂

 

 

Aunt Rosie’s Fables – The First Dozen (Stories for Kids) is Free to Download Today – View my Children’s Illustrations.

“Rose S. Ferguson’s Fables – The First Dozen” is available for a Free Download. Please note that it’s a promotional offer by the author and it will be available free only on May 27th and 28th.

If you want to check out my Children’s Illustrations along with twelve cute and funky children’s stories – download it now. The stories are cute, crazy, and completely off the track!

Click here to Download “Aunt Rosie’s Fables – The First Dozen” from Amazon.

You don’t need a Kindle to download it – Any hand-held device/computer will do. You can download the Free Kindle Reading App for any of the non-Kindle handheld devices (Tablets/Smartphones) from: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771)

Here’s the cover once again 🙂 (Yes. I just LOVE it!)

Cover Art for Aunt Rosie's Fables - The First Dozen

 

The 12 stories are:
1. Supercool Sewster and his Super-dream 
2. Emoti and Emoto – The Mushroom-dwellers 
3. Moms are Cool! 
4. When Fibby was Caught Lying 
5. Romulus – The Rodent Soldier 
6. When Terry Challenged Harry 
7. Rolly – The Tourist from Antarctica 
8. Rooney Reinster Learned a Lesson 
9. Mumbo – The Mouse-elf 
10. How Justin Rooster became a Good Singer? 
11. Zick, Zack, Zuck! 
12. Smucko and Sparky – An Odd Friendship 

My personal favorites are:

  • Romulus – The Rodent Soldier
  • Rooney Reinster Learned a Lesson, and
  • How Justin Rooster became a Good Singer?

So go check it out 🙂

This week’s going to be uber-busy. I’m doing two magazine covers and one interior illustration. The first week of June’s going to be a little relaxed with just one book cover artwork for my dear old friend who’s an awesome client too. So, I’ll reappear in a week from now. Until then…go meet all those fun characters in “Aunt Rosie’s Fables – The First Dozen!”

I know that a post on “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” is pending…perhaps the next one.

Caricature – President Obama Crowns himself King on Cover of The American Spectator.

Folks,

This month, I had the opportunity to work on a very interesting assignment – President Obama Crowning himself King 🙂  My regular visitors know that I’ve done at least three Obama Caricatures in black and white (you can find them in the Gallery here,) but honestly, none drip humor the way this does.

Let me start by presenting the artwork.

Caricature, Digital Painting - The American Spectator Cover - The good king Barack - Cover Art for the April 2014 issue.

Cover Art – The American Spectator – April 2014 Issue

If you are a conservative and you don’t subscribe to The American Spectator, you can explore it here.

Now the story behind the creation 🙂

Drawing and Painting President Obama’s Caricature

The Assignment Brief

The Assignment Brief was very clear – Barack Obama crowning himself King, wearing a robe, and could be shown admiring himself in mirror – perhaps a half-figure drawing, and on a solid color background.

When you illustrate for magazines, you walk the tight-rope between design and art. The constraints are important because they set the boundaries for your artwork. So you always begin with the constraints – unlike in Fine Art, where you begin with a concept and allow your artwork to evolve and define its own boundaries.

So the first thing to do was, visualize Obama on the cover – with a solid color background. The solid background made it essential that I visualized the entire color palette within the main figure.

Balancing the Colors

Check out the play of primary colors. The wine-red velvet of the robe and the crown; the golden-yellow of the mirror, the crown, and the tooth – were two warm colors (Red/Magenta, and Yellow)- To neutralize the heat of these two colors, I needed the third primary (Cyan/blue,) and so I decided on a blue tie and offered to paint the Eagle rug from the oval office, under his feet.

That’s how the colors played out, the black/gray/white – the neutrals notwithstanding 🙂

The Head/Body Ratio

Also note the head/body ratio. In this particular caricature, the expression of glee on the president’s face was the most important element of humor. The body was unimportant – purely a hygiene factor, necessary to define the composition. This is why I went  for a very high head/body ratio – but I kept the hands big – they had to be, to hold such a huge crown.

Face-Details/Closeup

Here’s a close-up of the Caricature of President Obama.

President Obama crowns himself King - Closeup - The American Spectator Magazine - April 2014.

President Obama crowns himself King – Closeup – The American Spectator Magazine – April 2014.

A Few things to note:

As you can see, I added a few ideas to the original brief. It helps to discuss your ideas with the client. Sometimes, your ideas may be tossed out of the window, because they were too “morbid,” or they needed to be “watered down.” Here are a few things that I added – the diamond stud, the gold tooth, the eagle rug, the flag, and if you can find him – a tiny but smooth operator.

The diamond stud in Obama’s ear and the gold-tooth, both are affectations of the rich and they help strengthen the “King” in him. I worked with Obama’s younger and more enthusiastic look – not the older, grayer one…reverse aging is impossible, but in its impossibility it exaggerates the impact of the caricature. I had to do some research on his hands. The color, the veins, and also his wedding band (couldn’t have missed that.) I thought that a crown with a flag would look good too.

If you’d like to learn how to draw caricatures in a methodical way – check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” on Amazon.  

"Evolution of a Caricaturist - How to Draw Caricatures" available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.

Among all kinds of illustrations, caricatures evoke the highest response from the audience. A caricature achieves this by weaving the spell of humorous likeness around its subject.

This book establishes a logical method to harness the creative madness that results in caricatures. The author calls it the “Feature Frame Method” and illustrates how this method can be used to selectively exaggerate every facial feature.

Evolution of a Caricaturist helps you master the art of caricature drawing by presenting around 75 artworks and technical drawings, and then analyzing the features of more than 30 celebrity faces.

Book Cover Art for BG Hope’s Body-switch Novellas.

I’ve been somewhat busy and rather unwell (yes, I’ve been watching “Mind Your Language” – almost 4 decades after it was first telecast and, I confess that despite my inability to forget that I come from a family that fought for India’s independence,  I just love Mr. Jeremy Brown, played by Barry Evans.)

Here’s the stuff that kept me busy the past two weeks:

I created a couple of book-covers or more specifically, novel-covers for a fantastic fantasy writer, B.G. Hope. Next, I worked on a Magazine Illustration, and now I’m neck-deep into a detailed color caricature (name of the subject withheld in the interest of curiosity.)

Of these, I can present only the novel-covers here, because the september issue of the magazine that would carry the illustration has not yet gone to press, let alone hit the stands; and the caricature is not yet done. The novel covers however, now adorn the books of Ms. B. G. Hope, and so I’m ethically free to present them here.

Book Cover: Ciaran & Harith –  A Body-switch Novella by B.G. Hope

Painted in Photoshop CS6. I first made a sketch as per the concept, sent it to the author for her approval, and then painted the cover in Photoshop.

Book cover art for the novel Ciaran and Harith -fantasy book - by BG Hope

The Concept:

Samantha the sweet witch switches the bodies of two unsuspecting men, thoroughly unhappy with their own lives. The men however are as different as apples and oranges or…to beat the cliche’…as a kindle eBooks and traditional paper books! The cover depicts Samantha putting a spell on the protagonists. Wondering what happens after the switch? You get tickled in your stomach at every turn of the page, but don’t take my word for it.
Kindlers – please find the book here.
Apple-munchers – please find it here.
All others, please find it here.

About the book:

Two men who have nothing in common including their sexual orientation, find themselves in each-other’s bodies. Follow them on their quest to get their bodies back, as their new routines lead them into challenging situations with comic outcomes.

And a few words from the caricaturist: 
“The bewitching body-switch saga”– The Caricaturist

Book Cover: Johnny & Marian –  A Body-switch Novella by B.G. Hope

Again, painted in Photoshop. The goal was to make it look different and yet look part of the body-switch series by the author. I changed the color-scheme and instead of showing the face of the witch, brought her eyes into focus.

Illustration for Novel Cover (Cover Art) - for Johnny and Marian by B. G. Hope.

The Concept:

Once again Samantha the witch, switches the bodies of two strangers – a man and a woman, and in this book, their sexual orientation is  similar –  they both like men. The woman (Marian) isn’t the kind of woman that the Johnny ever dreamed of becoming (yes, he’d love to be a woman,) and the Johnny is a lot different from the kind of men Marian has known. Does the switch work? Check out the book at:

Kindlers – please find the book here.
Apple-munchers – please find it here.
All others, please find it here.

About the book:

Two strangers bored with their routines, rediscover themselves when a crafty witch’s spell switches their bodies. Struggling to live each other’s lives, they land themselves in one comic situation after another.

“A fantastical comedy of errors!” – The Caricaturist

B. G. Hope’s Webpage and Blog.