Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Making Borhai's character come to Life!

Borhai, the protagonist of Escape from Netherworld, was the hardest of the characters to create on the cover in the alternate realm.  The two other characters on the cover transformed into an elf and a dwarf. Dave, who becomes Borhai in the new realm, goes from being a human dressed as a fighter with makeshift homemade armor to a human fighter with real battle armor.  I went back and forth on how to show him become his character since he was not changing much.  

We used the swirling motion around the character to show Dave becoming Borhai, mainly with his armor becoming real plate mail.  I loved how he is looking at himself, not being able to believe that his homemade armor just became at least 5 times heavier than what he was wearing.

I have never been able to decide which drawing I liked the most of Borhai.  I know that the final painting for the cover looks great, but I have always been a fan of pencil sketching and the work that goes into bringing the character to life.

The finished product for the cover turned out amazing, with a ton of detail involved for his armor. Dave (Borhai) was already a large man and I wanted to show that with the size of his character as well.   

As my blog gets into more detail, I will explain more about Borhai, his relationship with Piper the elf fighter.magic-user and what his thoughts are of being thrown into an alternate realm with his best friends.  Borhai will also probably be making a guest appearance on the blog, explaining some of his thoughts and feelings about their adventure together. I hope you are enjoying the artwork, as a lot went into createing the cover for my book, as I did not want to just go with a stock photo, I wanted to make the cover unique.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Process of turning Kerri into her character: Piper, the elf fighter/magic-user



It was a fun process transforming Kerri into her character Piper.  I wanted to include some initial sketches as well as the final product that was used on the book cover.  My illustrator, John Manders, liked the concept of having Piper's hair flow around her, using this as the transformation from Kerri to the elf Piper.  I think he did an amazing job with Piper for the cover.

Kerri, normally a blond human female in the normal world, becomes Piper, a dark-haired elf fighter/magic-user.  When they played the game, Kerri made the ears for the elf character and wore a black wig, as elves normally have dark hair. When her and her friends fell into the alternate realm, Kerri became Piper.  She was no longer playing her character, she had become her character(this was also one of the reasons I included a main character list at the beginning of the book, as I wanted to make it easier for people to catch the name changes and know who each person became).  

As I continue to write this blog, I will actually explain more about Piper, her on/off relationship with Borhai, and I may even have her make an appearance and write a post herself. I just wanted to start to get some of the characters into my blog and include some of the artwork involved in created them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Decision on Book Cover Photo

When I was trying to make a decision on the photo(s) for the cover of the book, my illustrator John Manders, made it an extremely tough decision.  We narrowed it down to two concepts, the first one being the one that made it to the cover, the three characters spread out, which you can see throughout my blog or just by checking out the cover of my book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website or my publisher's site at Word Association.  

My main objective was to not just use a stock photo for the cover of the book.  I wanted it to be unique and my illustrator accomplished this marvelously.  He actually made paintings of the characters, in watercolor, that became the cover.  

The 2nd concept was having the three characters together as a group, which I am including a drawing below of how we did that.  I loved this idea but it did not fit right on the cover with everything else going on.  My problem was that I did not want to give up on this photo of the friends turning into their characters in the alternate realm.  So in the end, I decided to put this photo in the book.  It is in the book, after Chapter 3 and before Chapter 4 begins, as this is where the transformation takes place.

So I feel I got the best of both worlds. the three characters in color on the cover of the book and the group concept inside the book.  Multiple people have written to me and told me they liked the idea of having a picture in the book which they were surprised at when they finished Chapter 3.  It was amazing to have the chance to use both the water color paintings and the great sketch, just in different ways.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book vs. E-book, which way do you lean in this battle?

One of the Biggest questions for a reader today is, if I want to buy a book, do I want the e-book on my tablet or do I want the physical copy in my hand.

I know people that only like the physical copy in their hands and some who only download the books they read.  Then you have the ones who will go both ways.

I am one of the people who likes to have the book in my hands to read, especially if it is from an author that I already have the physical copy of another book in the series.  I am a collector and I always want the book itself for the authors I already know and enjoy. But, I will download books to my tablet for books that look interesting but I have not read anything from the author as of yet.

I hate to admit this, but I have several different versions of the same books.  If I don't want to wait for the paperback and have bought the hardback, I still end up buying the paperback especially if it is one of my favorite authors.  Problem is that I also will buy the trilogy copy if there ends up being one and in some cases I end up buying a Collector's Edition if one is made.

So for example, my favorite author is R. A. Salvatore.  I basically have everything that he has ever published and he was my inspiration for becoming an author as his fight scenes are legendary in the science fiction and fantasy genres. So for the Dark Elf Trilogy, i have the hardbacks, the paperbacks, the trilogy edition, the Collector's hardback edition and even went out and bought the Anniversary editions of the books. I always wondered if there were other people like me that do this with their favorite authors or books.

I get the concept of only downloading the books, as you can basically carry around 5000 books with you and it takes up no room in your home to do so.  I have just not convinced myself as of now that I don't need the multiple book shelves in my study with all the books from my favorite authors.  Maybe one day I will get there.

 Or, maybe one day, someone will come up to me at a book signing or in a store and tell me that they have multiple versions of my books and I can look back and think of a time that I did the same thing.

Tell me what you think, which way you lean in this battle and why you think that way.  I would love to hear opinions from both sides and enjoy knowing that whichever way you lean, you are still reading today.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Artwork, YouTube, Wattpad, oh my.....

I have added some more artwork that I had done for Escape from Netherworld.  I have really enjoyed the artwork for this book.  Everything from John Manders doing the illustrations for the cover to having a fun book trailer made that is up on Youtube right now at http://youtu.be/vHNJ_paidbY.

I have also started posting some of the chapters from my book onto Wattpad.  The first 14 chapters
are available to read on Wattpad with more to come. There are a ton of excellent authors on that website to check out.  Please follow me at http://www.wattpad.com/user/davekuklis

I am trying to post on my blog more often, I am starting to get more available time now and would like to start talking about the characters from the book.  I hope to receive some feedback on here about what readers would like to see or how I can improve my blog as I go along on this journey.