Thursday, April 25, 2013

U is for... Undeniably Nervous

We're entering the home stretch regarding this year's A to Z Challenge. It's been a bit of a trial for me. Not enough preparation going in and then falling desperately behind.

But for first time viewers, I'm spending my month trying to create a cover for Andrew Leon's Shadow Spinner, which will soon be out in novel form. I'm still, even this late in the game, trying to get the basic composition of the image down.

I mentioned somewhere that getting Tib into the image was going to make or break it. To this point, all the covers I've done before have been paintings, this one, at least so far, has been about 80% photos and 20% painting. To leave it at that ratio meant Tib might have to be a photo too... or it could be the most detailed painting I've ever done. But either way, that cartoony look probably wouldn't work so well with the image so far.

So I took my son outside last night and forced him to stand in the rain while I took photos of him. For his trouble I promised him 25% of my commission of this piece. Heh, sucker.

Anyway, I ended up liking his photo so much that I thought I like it better than anything I would have painted.

I did some heavy manipulating to my kid's photo. I made his arms and shoulders much smaller, and made his head way bigger - he's nearly 17 now and does not look like a kid, but I think I've managed to de-age him pretty well here. I also did a lot of painting over the image to make it match the existing environment better. I ran a filter over him and did some color changes, added highlights and dropped some stuff off into deep shadow. 

In addition, I did several smaller tweaks to the overall picture, but nothing too noteworthy of mentioning. 

And fair warning, no matter what Andrew says in the comments, I might not get a post up at all tomorrow regardless. I'll try though.


Melissa Bradley said...

Wicked cool photo. I love how you bribed him with commission sharing to stand in the rain.

Keep going, you're doing great. I hope that doesn't sound too lame, it's 5:45 am and I've had no caffeine yet.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now it is really coming together. You did some serious work on it this week.

PT Dilloway, Grumpy Bulldog said...

The kid looks great. No way I'd have thought he's really 17.

Andrew Leon said...

I think the overall look is great. It's the right concept and everything.
The only comments I have are details things, which you'll say will be handled later, but they're the things I can see, so here goes:

1. I still think the Man's shadow needs to be toward Tib and the viewer.
2. The wooden pallets look kind of out of place, now. They're not leaning against anything anymore. Pull them out?
3. Tib's arm is too shiny. It looks kind of plastic.
4. I think the pink needs to come out of the sky. The sun should be behind Tib, but it looks like it's setting ahead of him.
5. Giving Tib a shadow stretching toward the tunnel would be good (which would make the two shadows reaching toward each other).

It's looking great, though.

(You didn't really tell your son that, did you? Now, I feel bad. Tell him I'll throw in 25% of what I make off of editing Depravity.)

mshatch said...

This is really looking good and the kid DOES look like a kid, not a teen.

And I'll tell you, if I hadn't pre-scheduled all my posts (ie I had them all written and scheduled before the challenge started), I would be so behind...

M.J. Fifield said...

It's looking great, Rusty.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

You are so TALENTED.

mooderino said...

Seems to really be coming together. Nice work.

Moody Writing

Jo said...

Yeah, I am loving this cover.


Briane P said...

Wait, what's "Depravity?"

This is really good. Although it's his cover, I will dare to disagree with Andrew: I think Tib looks great. He's right about the shadows reaching towards each other. But the sky should stay that way. It's eerie, and gives an overwhelming sense that something is very very wrong even before the details of the picture pop out.

This is a great cover, though. Very great.

Cindy said...

I browsed the pictures, and it's fun to see all the progress.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Wow, nice work. He really does look like a little kid here. Not at all like a 17 year old. And for the record, I think it's looking great.

Anonymous said...

This is so cool! I would say that the water sheen on Tib's arm does give it a plastic gleam and it was the first thing I noticed.

That shadow is aaaaawesome.

Jay Noel said...

Damn, that is awesome. It's been fascinating seeing the creative process with this cover.

You're almost there!!!!

The Golden Eagle said...

It's cool to see the development of the image through your posts. It looks great!