“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the old adage. Well, I’ve been working on disproving it. I suppose I don’t actually count as old—although I do have a child in middle school, so I’m not exactly young–but I have been learning new tricks. I’ve been training myself to use Photoshop.
Having indie-published a few of my short stories, I was very aware that the book covers were, to be kind, lacking professional polish. I convinced my husband that taking a course in Cover Design would be a very useful thing, and much to my delight, he agreed. And by that, I mean that he took the course. My artistic skills are very firmly planted in the soil of words and music. I can barely draw a straight line.
On the other hand, I figured that learning to manipulate images that had already been created should be doable. To that end, I started studying, by way of following my nose through Photoshop. While that worked perfectly well for Word, Publisher, Excel, and Power Point, I do not recommend that approach for Photoshop. It isn’t intuitive and the program is massive. Drowning in Photoshop is a very real danger.
What did work, on the other hand, was lynda.com. Lynda.com provides easy to follow video tutorials for a large number of creativity-type software products. I was able to soak up a good deal about the many different kinds of selection tools in Photoshop and the basics of how to manipulate those selections and images.
Combining what my husband learned through his course with my developing digital art skills (still quite minimal–stock art is a very good thing) we have created new covers for all of my currently available ebook short stories, and there are several in progress for stories that will be published at a later date.
I am particularly pleased with the cover for Guardian, a contemporary fantasy novelette which was released as an ebook this past week. I created the lightning myself and changed/enhanced the color of the lion’s eyes, and I am so impressed with what my husband managed to do with the text elements and work with InDesign.
You can see all the new covers under the “Short Stories” tab up above.
One downside to learning new tricks is that it has taken time away from creating new fiction, so for the moment it’s time to put my focus back on the words. Look for more on the writing front soon!