Time for a little graphic design



I really enjoy it when a publishing house offers me a free sample to try their product.  I use it as a chance to practice my graphic design skills, improve them, and usually outwit their silly interface.  This time I was offered a 20 page photo book, hardcover, for only the price of shipping.  These things are great and they make awesome mini portfolios.  By the way, if you want one, contact me, usually I can find a free affiliate offer for new customers.  Those are great too!

This time I put black and white pieces in alongside color pieces.  They were a mix of acrylic, watercolor, chalk, and pen and ink.  I tried to have one black and white and one color image on each two page spread, so things looked balanced.  I also delighted in deleting all their gimmicky bits and bobs and photo embellishments.

When designing, keep it simple!  The world will thank you.  Doubt me?  Think of Geocities and Angelfire sites from the 90s.  Oh, the flickering animated GIFs… the mixed, multicolored, mismatched fonts… make it stop…

“The Dice of Fate”

This was a book cover design that I made for a novel.

The novel was “The Dice of Fate,” a story about a young woman who was suddenly transported directly from her day job to a place that was like something from one of her roleplaying campaigns.  Early in the story, a little white Kitsune with three tails comes and helps her, and the theme of dice features prominently in the story.  Therefore, I chose to depict the kitsune, the ten sided die, and a hint of the long road she had to walk on foot to get to civilization.

I started (as usual) with the sky gradient.  The better the sky gradient, the better the foundation of the work.  Since this was acrylic, I could dispense any worry about the transparency of my layers.  With the trees I worked from dark to light, always keeping in mind that most trees have gray bark, not brown.  For highlighting, I used chalks and pencils in the final steps.

I was fairly pleased with the work.  If anyone wants to see it on the cover, feel free to click through to the link – and if anyone wants to buy it, it’s free for Kindle subscribers.  Just search the title “The Dice of Fate.”

Book Cover: Experimental College


Click on the painting for a bigger version if you like.  This book is a novel written by my father, and I completed it in acrylics with a bit of detail added in Conte and chalk.  I was trying to show the different aspects of the book – the Braille books, the Braille Writer, the circular slide rule, the wine bottle, the carnation, the rocket, and the red panties all have parts to play in the story.  I was going for a cover that was mysterious and intriguing, yet pleasing.

If you want to check out the book, click on the upper cover!

The Vigil

Painting by Rohvannyn Shaw


This isn’t one of my most recent works, but one that I hadn’t appreciated enough.  I was looking at it again the other day and I noticed some small details – like the movement of the water – that I really enjoyed looking at.  I always enjoy seeing new things in art that I’ve put away for a while.

Notice how there’s a contrail?  Suddenly, there’s a story there… who is this person, who are they waiting for, what’s that red ribbon above them?  Are they stuck on a primitive world and waiting for rescue?  Or are they just on vacation?

Click on the picture for a (much) better view.

Monsoon: Poem



This is a poem that came out of the Tucson Monsoons one steamy July night.


A brilliant branch
cracks down,
plasma booming.
It roars, reaches,
and crashes again.

Pregnant clouds play catch
with balls of rolling thunder.
Rooster tails of water spray.
and water fills the air
till it can hold no more.

The blood-warm mist
and steam wraps my skin.
I drink the wine
of the new mown lawn,
taste the rich
mesquite-green wind.