Photoshopping All Weekend


All weekend, I sat glued to the chair in front of my computer, and no, I wasn’t doing my technical training OR writing.

I was learning how to work with Photoshop.

Photoshop is a full, rich, difficult program to use. It can do anything. You can paint with it, for Pete’s sake. It can do some really incredible things in the hands of a capable artist, and I am not he.

I’m always looking for new ways to dress up my book covers. I felt my first efforts were disasters. I don’t have the resources to pay for them. What can I do? Well, one thing I can do is try making the visions I have for them come alive myself, but that requires a better handle on the tools to make it happen. Photoshop is the tool. Now…what do I do with it?

I’ve been learning a great deal about text effects. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you likely know I used to make new headers for my site every couple of weeks. I had quite the bevy of them until my computer crashed finally and completely, and I lost them all. I haven’t had the time to make new ones since I’ve had the new computer, but Sunday, I decided I wanted to create a new cover for an upcoming story I’m working on. I wanted my cover to be as high quality as I could make it. So I sat in front of YouTube and a lot of other PS tutorial sites and just…learned.

I’ve done this before. I come away feeling anything is possible, and I have a headful of ideas swimming around. Then I get busy or distracted and don’t get to it until the next weekend. When I do, I’ve forgotten what I learned and can’t get the things I do remember to work right. It’s been that way for years.

I really liked some of what I did this time, though, and I think my designs hold their own against “professional” ones, for the most part. I still have a lot to learn, and can’t always get it right, but I’m a lot happier with what I’ve done recently than I have been in a long time.

With that in mind, I found a new theme on WordPress I put up on my fiction blog. And I like it so much, I’m thinking about using it here, too. And if I do, I’ll have nice, big banners I can make. (The one I did over there is a quick-‘n’-dirty one so I didn’t have to use the default pic WP provides, but there will be better ones soon.)

It’s going to give me a lot of practice doing something I love, and have a purpose for doing. I never even realized how they dovetailed until just now. The blog banners have been practice for making the book covers.

Ain’t God awesome?

So anyway, I’m going to put together something called a photomanipulation with my daughter next weekend. And when it’s finished – it might take more time than I have to spare – I’ll post it here and get your feedback. Should be fun!

Anyone out there have good Photoshop experience? good design principles for making eBook covers? suggestions? Bryce, you do some good ones with GIMP – what about you?

Sound off and let me know.

-jdt-

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2 thoughts on “Photoshopping All Weekend

  1. I love doing covers. I do custom work but I’m also currently making a site at storenvy to sell pre-made covers, which I’m excited about. I do not have Photoshop but I have Corelphoto and it has most of the same features, that I’m learning more and more about every day, but the text effects are definitely broader in Photoshop, the beveling for instance, which I love. Text can bevel in CP, but not as broadly. Once I start making some money with that, I may subscribe to Adobe so i can get Photoshop and inDesign. One of the things I’d like to teach myself over the course of this year is to turn photos into digital paintings, more layering and how to create things like liquid letters, smoke and fire. My photo manipulation to this point has been very basic. There are tons of tutorials on line on how to do things, which are way better than the books that explain program features. A drawing tablet would also give me more control and allow me to maybe move into illustrative work. I draw horribly with a mouse.

    Well, if you’re able to sell your work, you must VERY good! I’m not anywhere near that level, but I’d like to be. I’m thinking about doing some of the online tutorials for photomanipulations so I can learn more. I’ve already learned a ton about how to work with different features than I’ve used, so it’s getting exciting. Good luck with the online store.

  2. Principles of cover design? I think you pretty much know where I stand. The cover should be legible at small sizes, and have something interesting that tells the shopper what it’s about. Other than that, I just look at a bunch of covers and figure out how to copy effects that I like.

    The cover MUST be legible at thumbnail size, so yeah, I agree. I just didn’t know if you had any other “secrets” you wanted to share. It’s a lot harder to make a great looking cover than it seems to be.

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