See my last two blog posts for type one and type two background art. The last type is 3) Texture. There are many definitions of texture. For my purposes, I am referring to texture that is visual, not actual. Created digitally, it suggests something that can be smooth or rough, coarse or fine, matte or glossy, and more. Texture backgrounds may suggest paper, sand, fibers, or other natural or man-made objects.
I often use my own photos of sand, trees, flowers, or clouds to build a texture file. Lately I have been using photos of old wood, rust, and even sidewalks. While not as complicated as my digital collage art, texture files can take on a life of their own and end up as abstract digital art.
For my book, however, I am not looking for something as detailed. I use a texture background for three reasons: 1) A photo would distract the reader from the message. Usually this will be a longer message and I really want the focus to be on the words. 2) The words in the message do not suggest any image that would be simple enough to enhance the words and not detract from them, and rarely, 3) Like the example below, I am using different fonts to emphasize the words and I need a fairly neutral background for this. I;ve only done a couple this way. It is really a challenge to balance different fonts and size those fonts to emphasize the right words without distracting form the overall message.
In the sample below, "A Sacrifice of Praise" I had created a paper background, which gave me the texture I wanted. I framed the paper background with the look of torn paper by using a digital brush. What words stand out to you?
If you follow me on Facebook (LLeeM Digital Collage Art), you would have read my introduction about the three different types of background art I will be doing for my new book, Keywords from Heaven Words That Will Transform Your Life.
The first type of background is: A photo. This is about the easiest form of background to do. The art that I do to illustrate words is way less complex than my surrealism fantasy art. I am looking for a photo that I feel connects with the words or illustrates the content the best. I do very little alteration to the photo, maybe changing the brightness/contrast or the hue and saturation.
There are two problems in using photos. One: I am not a professional photographer! If I see something I like, I point my camera at it and snap a shot. Not that they are all bad photos, but that my purpose in creating a photo library is to use them in my art. That means they will usually be significantly altered in some way. Unless I am doing some backgrounds for words!
Two: I am not able to travel the world taking photos, yet I need a variety of landscapes, animals, buildings and other objects in my art. There are two options: 1) pay for stock photos. There are wonderful sites that sell photos on almost every subject you can think of. However, if you use multiple photos or you only want part of the photo, like when doing collage, that can get expensive. 2) There is another option and that is public domain photos. I have used many wonderful photos over the years in my art and have several sites that are my “go to” sites. A word of caution. If you are looking for a public domain photo of something and do a search, you will get hundreds of photos as a result. Not all of them are really public domain. Be careful of using sites like Pinterest, because the user license is not always listed or correct. Using somebody else's work without there permission is a violation of copyright laws.
I am going to share with you some of the sites I use in my visual art, I have several more that I visit, but this will give you a good idea of what is out there.
This is an example of needing a photo not in my library. I found this public domain photo to use. This is called "One to One" and is available for download in the Gallery Store in Inspirational Faith Art Gallery.
I have not talked to other authors, so I do not know what the “normal” steps are in writing a book. I organize my files in a way that makes sense to me. For example, like most books, I have a Table of Contents, Introduction, main text and an Index. I do not like typing all the titles and page numbers for the Index because, well frankly, it is a chore. I love typing the titles and page numbers because it means I have finished formatting the main text and everything is in order. It is one of the last steps before the final pre-publication check. Except when it is not.
What do I mean by that? It means I should save typing the Index until last, but as usual, I couldn’t wait. For me, it is a rite of passage, a symbol of progress. Except when I have not finished formatting the main text, or decide on changing something. That means the keyword chapters are off, the title pages are off, and guess what? I get to retyped that Index all over again. You would think by now that I have learned my lesson. Nope. I just retyped that unloved Index all over again for the third time!
The lesson here is not to anticipate the goal. My end goal is to get the file off to my chosen publisher. Your goal is probably entirely different, not related to publishing a book or even to art. The thing we need to remember is that while it is good to set goals, skipping steps along the way is not good and only leads to setbacks. Sometimes it is the minor details that become the largest stumbling blocks and takes the most time to correct. So let us make an agreement not to anticipate the end goal by glossing over the necessary steps we need to take to reach the finish line and save ourselves some frustration along the way.
Here are some websites that I have used for learning about putting together a book file for publishing.
My first two books I did pre-sales, and ordered copies from this self-publisher. Minimum order is 25 books.
For my second edition and eBook I am using:
Comparing foreward, preface and introduction
I should have titled this “Here I Go Again.” I am a full-time artist and a part-time author. One of the challenges I face is time. The amount of time that passes between my books, which has been up to 8 years. I spend hours researching publishers and formatting. Each publisher has their own requirements. Also, there are different requirements for published a printed edition and an eBook. After sending my file off to be printed, I delete sites and files I (think) I won’t be using anymore.
If you are serious about writing and getting your material published, you have to spend the time and learn the requirements. I wish I could say that I remember everything I did for my last book, and my new book is coming together without any problems, but that would not be the truth. I know that if I do not meet the requirements, my book will not be published.
Yes, self-published is easier than sending your manuscript off to multiple publishers, but there are requirements to fulfill if you want a professional looking product. For example, all my previous books have been 5.5x8.5. This time, because I am including art and a more popular size is 6x9, I am going with a slightly larger edition. Which means changing margins, top, bottom, right, and left. Which means I have to decide on which software program I want to use. Ever heard of Scribus? It is an open-source desktop publishing program used by writers. https://www.scribus.net Nope, that didn’t work last time. I’ve used Microsoft Publisher before, but switched to Word. That is just for the text. I’ll have to deal with the art later. Then, well, you get the idea.
I prefer doing my art, but I also feel what I am sharing in my books is encouraging. The messages I received touched my heart and helped me through some difficult and challenging times. Next week I’ll give you a glimpse of how my new book is coming along.
Below is a list of keywords as they will appear in my Table of Contents.
Self-publishing has changed over the years. It is no longer a matter of having desktop publishing software and a printer. Instead, a whole new world of publishing has opened up. One where it is possible to write a book and get it published without it being accepted through a major publishing company. It is not only the want-to-be amateur authors that are using self-publishing companies. Well known authors are also self-publishing.
Why go this route? Probably as many reasons as there are writers. For me, it was easy. I did not want to spend the time submitting a manuscript to a well-known publisher. The chances of an unknown author being accepted immediately is almost zero. I also wanted control over every aspect of my book, from the cover to the ending page, the size of the book, and the ability to choose the number of books I had printed and the cost.
When I published my first book, the print-on-demand and eBook options were not readily available as they are today. I choose a publisher that had a low minimum order and did pre-sales before I committed to having my book printed. With my second edition, I choose a different type of self-publishing company, that of a print-on-demand and eBook. The difference is that you do not have to commit to buying a certain number of books or handle your own sales. The publishing company handles the whole process for you. I picked Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing for Spirit and Heart Words to Encourage and Inspire.
Google self-publishers or self-publishing. There is a wealthy of information out there. Learn about the different types of publishers, the costs, and what you are willing to do. It will take commitment and time, a lot of time!
Next week, I’ll talk a little about going through hoops to reach my goal of actually finishing my book.
Below: working title for my new book!
I love doing my art. I can spend hours using different blending modes, brushes, and adjustment layers to get the exact shape, value, texture or any of the other elements of design. I start with something familiar, and alter it into something quite different. It does not matter how long it takes. What if I could combine my love of visual art text in a book?
Actually, it is something that I wanted to do for a long time. When I first started, self-publishing companies were unknown. I use a software program called Microsoft Publisher to print my booklets. Printing in full color on multiple copies was just not practical on a home printer. Technology advanced and now there are multiple self-publishing companies. Printing in color has become easier and less expensive. I feel now is the time for me to start this new project of introducing background art and words.
If you are interested in publishing a book, do your research. Know the difference between text-only, black and white, and color printing. I will cover more of my journey into the world of self-publishing in future blogs.
Called "Beauty Indeed" this is a download available in my Gallery now. The words are taken from my book, Spirit and Heart Words to Encourage and Inspire.Here I only used part of the message. In my new book, I will use all of the words with backgrounds created specifically for each message of encouragement, inspiration, and guidance.
The bane of my life has been writing. I extremely disliked having to write papers in school. Especially the ones where you were assigned a number of words, like a thousand-word paper. I would say what I wanted in about 400 words, then had to struggles to meet the quota. As a nurse, I had to document everything, which took time. Time I would rather have spent with people, not in writing (yes, I am old enough to remember using a pen when charting and not a computer!)
What has writing to do with my art? Nothing and everything. I have self-published several booklets and a book (first and second editions) based on what I journaled over the years. I started journaling to write down my thoughts on what I was studying. Then, I started listening to what the Holy Spirit had to say and writing down those words, messages of comfort, guidance, and sometimes admonition. All those messages would have stayed in my journal, except the Lord kept prodding me to gather those words together and publish a book. Which takes time, and effort, and tears, and frustration, and,,, a lack of art. All my booklets and book have been text-only. My publishing and my art only met when I designed the covers for each edition of my book.
Next week: Introducing words to art. A new chapter in my (un)writing career.
Click on Download File for a: 8.5x11 printable. Part of a collection I designed to print on home printers. In fitting with my blog theme, this printable is called "Journals."
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