Saturday, November 10, 2012

"You're coming with me?" "Yes. Apparently it's illegal to chin the chief super inspector."

 Well, I FINALLY did it. Yes, FINALLY. I watched Sherlock die. (I know, took me long enough, right?)
 I had a good reason for my delay. After watching Adler I was so mad I couldn't go on for awhile, and then they shows were taken off line after I watched the Hounds. They were finally put on Netflix, so I spent an hour and a half last  night trying to find the obvious clue as to how Sherlock survived the fall. I had some theories...such as the tea, the man on the bike who hit Watson, some kind of illusion, Molly, and I think the ball Sherlock was fiddling with might be a clue. Also, his scarf. His scarf must be a clue. MUST! Either that or someone in filming went blind.
 I didn't find Sherlock's actual death sad, because I knew he wasn't dead, but poor Watson! His reaction teared me up, yes I confess, I teared up. But I don't get why everyone got upset after the fall. I mean, when Doyle killed him it was for real - so I can get why they were mad at him - but when he died this time, it showed him still alive. (And with the wrong scarf...what is it with that scarf?) So, even if one hadn't read the books, at least they were reassured he wasn't dead. They should be glad they weren't alive during Doyle's day.

 But I'm curious now. Do any of you have any theories on how he lived?

  Okay, Sherlock aside...for the time being.
 Today, I am going to show you the complete cover process I went through.

 All of this was done on Photoshop, Picmonkey, and Paint (the program on most computers.)

 Photo copyright to William Knisley. If you wish to ask him about his photos, or see his other work, you can find him here or contact him at

Our first attempt at trying out poses. The first, and last, with aviator sunglasses. Too WWII, not enough Steampunk

Homemade goggles took their place and we tried a new pose

And another pose

And...oh yes, another. (Did I mention it was COLD out?)

Coming home, I attempted to lighten and crop the picture.

And add words. Incert first problem. With the different colourings in the back and fore ground I had trouble placing the words. I couldn't use all black, because you couldn't see it in the shaded areas. Nor could I use all white because of...well...the snow. Also, I couldn't get the lettering right on my first attempt, so I pulled up almost every Steampunk book known to man and did more research.

And asked for help. This is where I learned of grain. Wonderful stuff, grain. It works like that old photo covering thing...only, you get to keep more colour.

Unless you add too much.

Grain Exhibit B.
Still not right. Made it look like it was twenty below out...which wasn't far off. But it isn't twenty below in the book. *Peter sighs with relief.* That is book two. *Peter frowns*

 After my failed attempts with these pictures I pitched them in and got a new model. 
 Now, let me explain something. I don't dislike William posing for my covers. Just, I have something else I needed his help with which hindered him posing for this cover. (Spoilers). Also, I'm soddy with his camera. Don't believe me. Keep an eye on the pictures I took, and compare them with his. There is a reason I'm an author and he's a photographer. 

 So, I scrapped these pictures, called them a test run, and we went into the city with an old sword, a new model, and William behind the camera. (And the author with a clearer idea in her head as to what she wanted.)

 More reviews.
May I present to you, the capitol of Wyoming!

My I present to you my model, standing outside the capitol of Wyoming, holding a sword!

May I present to you my model standing outside the capitol, holding a sword, and getting slightly nervous.

May I present to you my model, in front of the capitol steps, holding a sword, and hoping none of the people driving by feel like calling the police.

My model smirking while watching said people drive by

My model now worried the sword might appear like an assassin weapon

My model hoping no important people show up for debates

Or children on school field trips

My model getting very warm in the heavy aviator jacket

My model glad I said to take off the other leather jacket under the heavy leather jacket (I was trying for broader shoulders, but it didn't work. Also, Peter isn't very broad in the shoulders.)

  And now, the actual shots I ended up using

Deciding to ditch the capitol before we were arrested, we moved to an old train station. I liked the poses where the camera is looking up at the model, so William tried a few more, but again, I didn't like these angles as much. I liked more of the side shots then the front shots.

Also, you can see a street lamp and a circus looking tent in the background. We were attempting England...and, well, those just don't fit. And my Model was looking into the sun, which meant squinting

Nevertheless, I tried a cover with this pose and angle. As you can see, it is far too bright. With Steampunk covers, the background is faded while the person stands out clearly in the front. The person usually is the only thing in full, bright, or catch your eye colours. In this one, the first to grab you is the bright blue of the sky - though I did like the shadows. I did not, however, like the street lamp but sadly, no one would let me cut it down.

I liked this one more, but as in others, you couldn't see the model's face very well.

 New position.

William is a daring photographer. He willingly stood in the street to get this one. I liked these angles much better, no street lamp, so we moved to this position. (And he moved out of the street.)

I liked this one best out of them all, but the hat started to flap in the breeze and I feared it would look too silly. "I don't mean to say your wife was being silly, but one of us was very silly, and it wasn't me."

I decided to try it anyways so cropped it down. After all, if I didn't like it, I had plenty more to try out.

And, I cropped out the street lamp. Next best thing to hacking it down with the sword, I suppose.

Once cropped, I tried different shadings and colourings to give it an older look. However, the first few tries blended the colours all together so nothing stood out. (Well, the clock did a little.)

Black and white, nope.

This is an overlay to give it an old photo look. I didn't like how it brought out the blue in the sky while making everything else drab.

 And I made many more attempts, most of which didn't save, until I came up with this.

This really brought out the blue in the photo, but it also gave a nice effect to the browns, which is what I wanted. So even though it made the blue pop, it heightened the other things I wanted - such as the clock, the model, and the tree, as well as the model's shadow.

 This is where I began to shift back and forth between Photoshop and Picmonkey. All the others were done on Picmonkey alone and the one's of William done only on Photoshop.

Moving to Picmonkey, I found a way to darken the blue. I then added grain, but again, it was too much and dulled everything.

This is with less grain
I was very very pleased with this one, as it did all I wished. Before, when I brightened the browns it gave my model a sunburn, but with this one, the jacket, the clock, the bit of brown in the building, and the model's face are nicely and clearly seen. Deciding I liked this well enough to add words, I moved on but ran into trouble again. Different colouring. The blacks and whites blended into the shades and the sidewalk. So I decided to try what someone suggested and make a kind of overlay for the words. This, at long last, took me to Paint.

The overlay took a lot of work because it had to be centered.

Even though it didn't look centered when it was.

And it had to be the right size.

And centered

And not too close to the ground as it would push the title down to far. By this point I was ready to kill someone.

I also had to decide on the shape and the colour.

Oh yes, and fonts

Giving up on Paint, which is annoying when one wishes to add lettering, I moved back to Picmonkey

And more font testing...and size...(As you can see, the book one is far too large)

More testing

Perfect, or so I thought

And then I added some gears, to the wrong one

 And then came a new problem. The publishing company I thought I was going to use, wanted to charge all of you $27.00 to buy my book, and I kind of figured none of you liked me that much. I mean, I don't like me that much.

 So I moved publishers...and the cover no longer fit. AND I had to make my own back cover AND attach to the front. This is when I closed my computer, pulled out my book, crawled into bed, and forgot about the world till I feel asleep. Then, Friday morning I woke, and set to work once again.

For the new publishers I had to move the names down. But, colouring problems. So, it was back to Paint.

And I did about as many of these as I did with the bottom.

And, add author and artist names. 

And gears
Realize I forgot the side note thing. Start to get worn out. I had to save every step of my work as I went so that, when I made a mistake I wouldn't have to start completely over, I could back up to the last step.

Add side note

Start on adding the back cover. Thinking, "Hey! This is easy! I love Picmonkey!" Upload to see how it will look....and almost stab something when I see the picture is COMPLETELY blurry and up close and personal with the cover. Almost all the lettering was hidden because the model's face was zoomed up.
Decide to retire from writing and spend part of the day with my mum

Come back, tell myself I've come to far to quit and show my mum my covers. Mum, like all mum's, loves them and tells me to keep at it. She also informs me the side note should say Worst, and not Worse. At this point I decide to hate the English Language and give the cover one last try.

Add side note, realize I miss spelled it yet again. Try not to shoot anything.

Begin to adjust cover so the Model will stop slapping people in the face.

"This is a close up?"

Decide I hate re-sizing and it should be taken out and hanged.

Or poisoned.

Attempt to add words to the back cover all while hoping they will not shoot off the cover I will be uploading it to

Threaten the internet when it tells me my picture doesn't have the right pixels and might be blurry. NAW! You think?! Even I can see that and I've no clue what pixels are!

Consider becoming a Lama herder

Wonder if there are any positions open in the Foreign Legion 

Think about how nice a desk job would be

Decide desk jobs are worse then this

But how this equals walking over hot coals

Realize there is a black mark on the page

Play around with colours

And size some more

This is where I glared long and hard at the gray lining around the photo and determined to end its life.

 Then, at LONG last...I had it. I uploaded it. I sat back...and I grinned. Then I fell over and tried not to think about book two.

 Once all that was done I took the words off the original back cover

But to get this, I first had to overlay the photo with gray. This was before I changed publishers.

Then I had to solid it for the new publisher

And attempt to add words. Do not try with Paint, it eats most of them

And, back to Picmonkey

  And, here it is!

 First, the whole thing which doesn't look very nice because it is all flattened but should look very nice on the actual book when it is in its proper shape.

  And just the front, which looks better since it is not yet on a book.

 And, since I finally own a copy of Mark of Athena - and shall have new quotes from it soon enough, I am breaking off my Percy quote - for today at least - and am using a Sherlock quote in honour of his death.

 Any thoughts on the cover progress? Word count updates? How did Sherlock live, theories?




  1. I agree with everything you said about Sherlock. I definitely think the bicyclist had something to do with it. Other than that, I'm refusing to come up with any theories because I'll just run myself mad inside my brain.

    Oh my word.... I am so glad your cover is done. That must have been so angering and stressful!
    The finished product is AMAZING though! I can't wait to actually hold the book in my hands. =D I think about it daily, actually....
    Also, I love the back cover of your book. "The queen will not be amused." Brilliant. I love it.

  2. Jack ~ That cover turned out great! I speak with honesty (and experience, since I work in a library.) that it looks every bit as good - and in some case, better - than a lot of book covers I have seen. I'm glad you stuck to it, and did not join the Foreign Legion.

    I also completely get the frustration that can go along with graphics work. One of the things I do as part of my job, is design PR stuff (fliers, posters, etc) and there have been times when I *knew* how things were supposed to look, and the blasted program would *not do it*. Once, I had a perfect looking flyer, that inexplicably printed out with a thick black line through the top line of text. It was all I could do not to reduce the computer to rubble.

  3. I sympathize with thee. Cover art is the bane of a self-publishing author's existence. I usually use my publishing company's templates or Picasa. Or I send my picture to my cousin and let her mess with them.

    And I appreciate the offer of help with formatting, but I have that pretty much under control. My method this time around is to send the book to my kindle and copy it in one letter at a time. It's slow progress, but it forces me to think about each word and make sure I like every single one. So, anyway ...

  4. Hey Jack! I have been following your blog for quite some time now, and just wanted to say that I really love your covers!!! You did a fantastic job with the picture of Peter and the coloring, font, sizing, and everything! :) I did want to say that I don't think that 'aeropiolot', 'scientist' and 'detective' should be capitalized on the back cover, since they aren't the actual 'names' of the characters... But I think that the cover is amazing! And I also wanted to finally say 'hi'! :) Can you tell John for me that his blog is very entertaining, and actually my first glimpse into the life of a baby hedgehog? I've been learning a lot! :D I hope that you have an amazing day, and that your publishing work goes smoothly with the Lord's help! :) ~ Tiriel

    1. Greetings Tiriel,

      I was pleased to get your comment. I enjoy hearing from my readers without blogs. 8-D

      I am also delighted you like the cover.
      Aw, the back. Normally I would agree, but in the book, Aeropilot, Scientist, and Detectives are more like titles and people regard titles in such a way that they capitalize them. I am sure there is some term for this, but I can't think as to what it is...but, anyhow, that is why they are.

      John said he is very glad you like his blog. And he says he is pleased you are learning a lot from him, in his own words, "I didn't know I was a teacher.)

      Thank you again for your comment!

    2. Hey Jack!

      That makes total sense about the titles! :) I *really* didn't want to seem odd about mentioning it - I am just a 'picky' enough writer myself that if someone thinks they see something slightly amiss ;) I'd so want them to mention it! :D That clears it up!

      And I think it's really neat that you are putting so much effort into your writing, and are getting to realize your dream of being an author! I am going to college currently, and am getting to write some really fun personal pieces - but it seems like it would be nice to devote a chunk of time (which is something college students haven't got much of) to one project. (Maybe this idea I have for a story/movie that I've been pondering the last few years!)

      Thanks for your reply - and tell John that he's a very good teacher for those of us who don't know much of what it's like to be a hedgehog. :)

      ~ Tiriel :D

    3. I am glad you pointed the titles out. It helps when readers do that, I've caught a lot of mistakes that way. It is always a big help to have someone notice things like that.

      It would be nice if you someday have time to write something just for fun. I hope you can find the time someday. It can be very enjoyable. Hard, but fun. *Grin*

      John says thank you, he is glad he can be a teacher. (Actually, I am learning a lot about hedgehogs too. Such as, how much they like cookies...)


  5. The cover is looking great!

    The new season started today. As far as I've seen, they have already uploaded both part 1 and part 2 of the first episode. It's pretty decent, but don't expect much from the villain.

  6. Your reaction to Sherlock was a lot like mine. I didn't cry until John was standing by the grave and said, "I was... so alone..." And then I lost it and was like, "SHERLOCK, YOU TELL HIM YOU'RE ALIVE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!" Erh.... ahem. I know Molly had something to do with helping Sherlock fake his death... and I'm positive the biker distracted John on purpose...

    But other than possibly having the Doctor pop in with his TARDIS, I cannot think of a way Sherlock could have gotten off that roof alive. This frustrates my brain.

    YOUR COVER IS AWESOMMMMME! It looks as good as other books out there...I feel awful, but I did crack up over this post. I know how frustrating doing something like that can be... But your descriptions of your trials were brilliant. The way you went from being okay with it to wanting to tear its innards out was awesome. XD

  7. Ah, techno stuff in general frustrates me. If I'm doing something minorly graphic-designy, especially alone, I start arguing with myself. Out loud. And then I get concerned that I'm turning into a Gollum. You know, my own brother calls me Smeagol. :)

    Just a thought, though. Is the spine still coming?

  8. I think that 'The queen will not be amused' catches my interest in the book more than anything. Oh my goodness! What a crazy journey in cover design. Painfully fun, isn't it?

    1. Good, I was hoping that would stand out *Grin*

      Aye, painfully fun. That is rather fitting.

  9. Wow! You went through quite the process, and might I saw, it turned out excellent! I love the queen will not be amused line!

    The one proof I got, I just used a picture I'd taken on vacation, added the tittle and went with it!! Though if I'd actually been selling it, I definitely would have spent a lot more time on it!

  10. that seems like a hard process but definitely worth it. thanks for sharing!

  11. Oh golly, this post made me laugh! That was an insane amount of work and I salute you for your patience. I would have screamed...or cried...or quit. But the cover did turn out really well. The end result is great! I'm so impressed.
    I thought it was very gutsy of you to take a sword to the Capitol Building, too. :)Anyway, it's a really awesome looks very professional.

    My sister and I watched the last episode of Sherlock last night too!I'm so glad you liked it. Watson really is my favorite.
    This was my second time and I still have no idea how Sherlock faked his death. The only thing I noticed was he made Watson stay in that one specific place while he talked to him right before he jumped. Other than that, he looked so very dead...I really don't have any theories.
    I loved that bit where Moriarty breaks into the crown jewels. It just cracks me up!
    Anyway. Now that I've rambled for a while. :)

  12. I haven't watched Sherlock yet - it's sitting quietly in my netflix cue, just waiting, but I just haven't gotten to it. It's been years since I read the books, years and years. So I don't remember how he survivies. I just know he does.
    Thank you for showing your process for your book cover! I really needed to see all that. My niece is drawing/creating mine with a combination of drawing/uploading the drawing to a program/tweaking . . .and I've been anxiously awaiting it . . .your post made me realize I need to be more patient . . . and why.
    My word count is abysmal . . . but I'm enjoying the bits that I am writing, so it's still good. (or at least fun :))

  13. I resizing is so irritating !! Mean puter. I am sorry your cover took so long.but YAY on getting it done!!

    Sherlocks death was sad :'( I was crying cause of watsons reaction. Then he did his monologue at the graveyard "just don't be dead.... Just stop this..." Poor Watson. Molly helped Sherlock do it....And the guy knocking Watson down was another clue. So was the van moving away from the scene... But WHAT HAPPENED??!

    I kow Sherlock wad just playing dumb,obviously. But when moriarty did that thing :-0 *shocked* I was like "what??!!"and so was Sherlock.....

    Anyway, Good luck on nano! Cheerio mate *grin*

    God bless

    1. The cover was worth it, and my computer should be glad it still lives. It is mostly because it is a Dell, and I adore Dells.

      "Do something for me, just, don't be dead." Yeah, I bawled there pretty much. I wanted to hug him. "Poor Watson! He's not dead!"

      I know, Moriarty's surprised me. I have a feeling he isn't dead though.

      I have some theories on Sherlock's death which I plan to post later, but aye, I am with you, Molly helped. Which is kind of nice, but kind of...very poor Watson. *Hugs him again*

      Good night now. I am almost asleep.


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  15. Thanks for the follow Jack!

    Wow...that is a lot of work. But book covers are so much fun to create! Looks like other than nearly tearing your hair out you got some fun and a great deal of satisfaction from it.
    Good Luck with your book! It's looks very nice. If you'd ever want help with a cover...not that you would looks like you've got it all under control very well...but if you want to...just let me know.



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