Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Spotlight on the cover artist
Never judge a book by the cover, right? Yeah none of us do that, do we? None of us browse the bookshelves of our local store, waiting for our eye to be drawn to that standout image, we know is going to suck us down a magic portal to a whole new world. The cover is what attracts us to a book, makes our hands tingle as we long to touch it, as we pray the story will live up to the beautiful design we can't take our eyes from. If you are a writer, the cover is your big chance to grab a drive-by browser, a shopper on the verge of becoming a reader. If you are a writer you need your cover to stand out and shout, pick me up, take me home and read my brains out!
And so, I give you Noelle Pierce of Selestiele Designs - Take it away, Noelle!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Paul!

 I've been an artist since I was little, and while I ultimately earned a degree in a different field, creating and appreciating art has always been a huge part of my life. In undergrad, I studied studio art as a minor, with a concentration in photography. I didn't know what graphic art was back then—computers (for me) were a way to communicate with people through email and the Internet chat rooms, type papers, and play Solitaire. Little did I know.

One of the most frustrating things in my art classes was being able to translate what was in my head onto the paper. If I copied what I saw (photograph, still life, etc.), I did well, but if I had to conceptualize and render…not so much. But I still tried.
My graduate degrees in psychology and education took a lot of time away from my art, and in the meantime, computers and software were advancing in ways I'd never dreamed possible. In 2010, I started playing free software to make a book cover for a story I was writing. Since reading was also a life-long pastime, I thought to merge my interests. I started paying more attention to the covers on my favorite books. Which covers caught my eye in the bookstore, and which ones made me stop and actually pick the book up to read the back description.
Tutorials on how to use Photoshop on YouTube became my obsession. At one point, I had a "book cover" for every novel, novella, and short story I'd ever written. I was making covers for fellow authors on Harper Collins' digital slushpile site, Authonomy. I joined DeviantArt and paid attention to the artists whose work I liked best. I studied their works, and spent inordinate amounts of time on my free image manipulation software. While I'd been unable to produce the images in my head on paper before, with computers and photomanipulation, I suddenly could. Some artists are amazing in any medium they choose. Others prefer one or two to convey their work—I'd found my medium.
By 2012, I'd created book covers, Facebook headers, and business cards for friends, and some of them wanted to pay me for the work. I was officially a freelance digital artist, and Selestiele Designs was born. Once I got serious, it was time to pull out the big guns—I bought Adobe's Creative Suite and familiarized myself with Photoshop and Illustrator. Self-taught myself to paint digitally. And I've never had so much fun at a job.
Where to find me:
Here are some samples of Noelle's work -
Noelle has a ton of samples as well as different options to choose from on her website. Do check them out if you are in the market for a quality book cover.
And one last one, Noelle designed this cover for me when I was on Authonomy. I think it is visually stunning, but more than that it completely captures the essence of the story. Without wishing to sound too arty-farty, it is a cover with soul.




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