Category Archives: Artwork

Cover Reveal – Dangerous Reflections

I have been SO remiss in posting new covers, but I plan on rectifying that issue very soon. The first step to that is posting the cover for Karla Tipton’s newly released book historical time travel romance – Dangerous Reflections.

It was such a pleasure to work with Karla. Time travel romances have always been near and dear to my heart, so creating the cover for Dangerous Reflections was a special treat.

Dangerous Reflections Ebook Cover
Dangerous Reflections Ebook Cover

Bigger version of the cover is here.

Cover Reveal! Destiny’s Wish by Marissa Dobson

Book Two of Marissa Dobson’s The Cedar Grove Medical series–Destiny’s Wish–is coming in 2015 and I had the pleasure of creating the cover. Visit Marissa’s Site for more information and stop by her Facebook to chat! Twitter lovers, follow her here. Below is the blurb for Destiny’s Wish:

Single mother Nora has the weight of the world on her shoulders. After her husband died while serving his country, she was left alone to raise their beautiful daughter, Destiny. She was able to pick up the pieces and move on for her daughter, but when Destiny‚Äôs cancer returns, Nora isn’t sure she can handle it any longer. She‚Äôs not certain she can be strong for her daughter when she‚Äôs falling apart inside.

Doctor Brian West is a pediatric cardiologist at Cedar Grove Children’s Hospital and has seen many sick children during his years there. He’s always been able to do his job without letting it get to him because he knows that if he’s distracted for even a minute, someone could die because of him. When he stumbles upon Nora, the recognition is instant and he can’t distance himself from her or her sick little girl, especially not when the little girl tells him her wish.

A sick child‚Äôs dying wish isn’t meant for her mother‚Äôs ears this time‚Ķbecause she wants her mother to have someone to love.

Cover Reveal! Hope’s Toy Chest by Marissa Dobson

It’s time for another cover reveal! Marissa Dobson has a new series starting–The Cedar Grove Medical series–and the first book is Hope’s Toy Chest which I had a small hand in helping design the cover. Hope’s Toy Chest is available for pre-order now on several sites, including Amazon. For other sites with available pre-order, please visit Marissa’s blog and/or Facebook. Below is the blurb:

At thirty-one, Kingsley Mathews has been named the head of the pediatric oncology department at one of the best children‚Äôs hospitals in the country‚ÄĒCeder Grove Children‚Äôs Hospital. His life is dedicated to his patients‚ÄĒuntil one Christmas when he learns there‚Äôs more than his work.

Chelsea Waters lost her daughter two years ago on Christmas Day to a rare form of childhood cancer. Her career was over, then her marriage. Now all she has left is Hope’s Toy Chest. The toy drive she started in the memory of her daughter has become her everything.

When she ends up flat on her back in a pile of snow, she begins to wonder if there’s room in her heart for anything more. Could the doctor who worked so feverishly to save her daughter bring the meaning of Christmas back into her heart?

Cover Reveal! The Guardians Book 1 by Elise Marion

A few weeks back, I finished up the cover for book 1 of the The Guardians series by Elise Marion. This cover was SO much fun to create. It’s bright and full of magic—two of the things I love the most. I also created the logo for the series, which is there above the title on the cover.

The Guardians will be releasing October 31st and Elise will provide pre-order information on her website. You can also follow Elise on Facebook.

Here’s the book’s jacket copy:

In the war between Heaven and Hell, a special race of humans with supernatural abilities will represent the balance between darkness and light. They are known as The Guardians.

Jack Bennett comes from a long line of Guardians, a fact that has been drummed into him since he was a kid. When he and a select group of elite Guardians are called upon by Michael the Archangel to complete a special assignment, Jack gladly accepts. Seven years later, a failing mission and personal losses have left him jaded, bitter and without room for love or relationships in his life.

The past that Addison Monroe is so desperately trying to escape is one she can‚Äôt outrun. The darkness inside that causes her to act unpredictably has gone unexplained until now. A woman claiming to be an angel appears with a revelation that will shake Addison to her core. Her dark nature is explained as Addison discovers that she is one of the Nephilim‚ÄĒa child born of a human mother and demon father.

Despite the dark nature she was born with, Addison has been chosen by Heaven for a special purpose. Ten scrolls spelled to open up portals between Hell and Earth ‚Ķ ten demons who are using them to come and go from Earth at will, a violation of the terms set by heaven in the battle for souls ‚Ķ one demon known as the Great Duke of Hell who will stop at nothing to defeat her. Fighting alongside two Guardians, Addison must uncover the legendary Seal of Solomon‚ÄĒa ring that is said to possess the power to destroy demons, and wield it against the enemies of Heaven.

As his task to protect her develops into something more, Jack will find separating his job from his personal life nearly impossible. Ignoring the dangers of becoming too attached, Jack will find that a woman whose very nature should repulse him, might just be his saving grace.

The Fates’ Challenge

Last night, I completed my own Fates’ Challenge…finishing the artwork inspired by the three beautiful actresses cast as The Fates in the new reality show The Quest on ABC Thursday nights at 8pm. If you’re not watching, you’re missing a great show. It’s a fantasy based reality show that pits its challengers, called paladins, against a different challenge each week. The winners move on to next week, but the bottom 3 paladins must then face The Fates and an additional challenge. The winner of that challenge moves on and the final two are then voted on by the remaining paladins. One stays and the other returns to the mundane world.

The paladins are supported by several cast members:

Peter Windhofer as Sir Ansgar, head of the Royal Army
Jan Hutter as Crio the Dreamer, Royal Steward of Castle Saenctum
Marcello de Nardo as the Grand Vizier, the Queen’s Chief Advisor
Susanne Gschwendtner as Queen Ralia XXIII, Protector of Saenctum

The Fates are:
Stephanie Buddenbrock as Karu, The Fate of the Flesh
Florence Kasumba as Talmuh, The Fate of the Earth
Mai Duong Kieu as Solas, The Fate of Light.

I’m NOT a fan of reality tv shows, but this one is really different and so much fun. Check it out!

The important links:
The Quest on ABC
The Quest on Facebook
The Quest on Twitter
The Quest Fates on Twitter
The Quest Army on Facebook/
Renew the Quest Petition

Cover Reveal – Rings of Passage!

I just received the thumbs up to show off my latest cover assignment. It was for the very talented Karla Tipton and her historical romance novel, Rings of Passage. Rings of Passage is a time travel novel featuring Richard III. I also created some desktop wallpapers for Karla, which you can find on her website.

So, if you’re in the mood for a good time travel novel, pick up Karla’s book!

NOTE: My work is featured ONLY on the print cover. The ebook publisher declined Karla’s request to use original artwork for the ebook. They prefer using photo manipulations for their covers instead.

Submission

Since 50 Shades of Grey came out, a lot of people have started to peek into the world of erotic writing. I was a bit ahead of that curve because I’ve always been extremely curious. However, unlike the majority of the free world, I haven’t read FSoG. You see, I had no interest in the BDSM side of erotica. I didn’t get it and I didn’t really want to get it. I had my preconceived notions (Women being slaves to men? Not this chick!) and I was content to keep them.

Then I followed author Ann Mayburn on Facebook. I don’t remember how or when or even why. All I know is that suddenly I had this hilarious woman in my newsfeed openly discussing penises and vaginas, handing out big dick pictures to reviewers, and posting snippets of her books that challenged my preconceptions.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m as stubborn as the day is long. I resisted Ann harder than any bratty sub even thought of resisting. But finally, her witty wickedness wore me down. I submitted to Ann Mayburn…in a very platonic writer to reader kind of way, of course.

And I enjoyed it.

I learned about the world I’d been so reluctant to explore. (It’s not all whips and chains, folks.) I also discovered, by reading comments from people in the BDSM world, why FSoG isn’t a good example of the BDSM world (in a word–aftercare).

Now, I won’t pretend to completely understand the BDSM world. That would require far more from me than reading a few erotica novels and that’s not something I can devote the time to right now. However, I did come to understand that there is power in submission. I believe this is true outside the BDSM world as well.

Sometimes, the best way to show strength is to submit. So, today, I’m submitting to my muse and posting my most recent artwork…Submission. I’m nervous about it. It’s a departure from my normal work. You’ll see that, though. (WARNING: This is NOT EVEN REMOTELY safe for work!) It’s here in my gallery. I hope you enjoy it.

None Shall Pass

Sometimes, it’s really good to have two artistic outlets. I’ve been driving myself crazy with the world building for my WIP (you know, the one I finished writing and then decided to completely destroy), so the artistic release just wasn’t happening there.

Enter Poser, stage right.

I had purchased a dress (Dragon Keeper from RDNA) a while back for my little virtual Barbie, Victoria 4, and I hadn’t used it yet. Well, there’s not much better therapy for my stressed out Muse than creating something pretty.

So, I give you…None Shall Pass. ūüôā

Cover Reveal! Mustang Maddy by Kacey Hammell

Time for another cover reveal! Kacey Hammell commissioned me to create the cover for the second book in her Revved & Ready series – Mustang Maddy!

Commissioned cover for Kacey Hammell

You might recognize the style since I also created the cover for the first book in the series – 69 Mustang(below). Kacey wanted to keep the same look and feel across the series so we decided to keep the road and just make changes in the couple and the colors of the book. We both loved the results. ūüôā

Commissions by Kacey Hammell. Visit her at http://kaceyhammell.com/

Mustang Maddy is due out soon, but 69 Mustang is available now at Amazon for just $.99!

Prue Thordatter

Back in March, I did a picture that I was sure captured the image of the heroine in my current WIP. ¬†However, as I spent more time with her on the page, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the image. ¬†The woman in that image was too delicate and thin. ¬†She was fragile and if there’s one thing that Prue Thordatter isn’t, that’s fragile.

A seasoned warrior, she was trained by the Norse Pantheon’s greatest warrior–Thor, and she has his blood pulsing through her veins. ¬†Delicate and fragile are what she eats¬†for breakfast.

So, in all her Valkyrie glory (including wings), I present…

Prue Thordatter
Daughter of Thor and Sif
Granddaughter of Odin and Fjörgyn (the personified Earth)

Stress relief & a visit from the Muse

 

Sable - Valkyrie and part of the Norse series I'm working on.
Sable – Valkyrie and part of the Norse series I’m working on.

The past few days have been extraordinarily stressful. ¬†I was a witness to something that rattled me pretty badly. ¬†The situation brought up memories that I’d rather leave far in the past.

 

It completely compromised the worldbuilding for my series. ¬† Thoughts skittered across my mind, but I couldn’t grab onto anything. ¬†I needed something to center myself.

Enter art.

When life is at its most trying, I center myself by creating stories with pictures. ¬†There’s something very calming about controlling every single thing in a scene, tweaking it until it looks exactly the way I see it in my mind. ¬†Random thoughts float away and the only things in my head are colors and light…for hours. ¬†I fiddle with every detail–hair style, clothes, the turn of the model’s head. ¬†There are no rules that I follow. ¬†I’m free.

When I finally pull out of the image and sign my name, I feel whole again…calm, collected and ready to take on the world again.

The picture attached to this post is the one that brought me peace this weekend. ¬†It’s also a character sketch of Sable, a valkyrie from my series. ¬†Sometimes the Muse surprises me.

When life stresses you to the max, what do you do to relax?

-pj

 

I Can’t Draw

I can’t draw.

I know. ¬†You’re looking at the artwork on my page and thinking, “Yeah. Right. Stop it with the self-deprecating crap. ¬†It’s SO not attractive.” ¬†But seriously, I can barely draw an acceptable¬†stick figure. ¬†However, I’m not one to let a lack of skill stand in my way to a goal. ¬†(Ask my old WoW Guild. ¬†Leroy Jenkins had nothing on me!) ¬† Enter the awesome computer software package called Poser. ¬†It’s made by Smith Micro and it’s a 3D Art and Animation software.

So how, does this magical software spits out artwork without me having to draw it myself?

Well, I’m going to tell you. ¬†(If you really don’t care about how it’s done, you can just look at the pretty pictures and then skip to the end where I ask you about your dreams. ¬†I won’t be offended.)

I like to think of Poser as “Digital Barbies.” ¬†When you open the program, there’s a 3 dimensional character staring at you. (My character of choice is Victoria 4 by Daz3d.) She’s in a bikini and looks like she’s in traction.

_v4¬†To rid Ms. Vicky of her ugly bikini, I add a character skin. ¬†That’s basically a flesh suit. ¬†It changes the look of her skin and often comes with morphs that change her facial features and the shape of her body. ¬†(Usually, it includes a free boob job. ¬†For Vicky, not you.) ¬†

After the makeover, I get to dress her. ¬†(See! ¬†Just like Barbies!) Even cooler, I get to add hair…unless I want a bald Barbie. ¬†The number of hair products in the digital world is as plentiful as the different types of shampoo we have here in the real world. ¬†(And cost about the same.)

After Ms. Vicky is all dressed and styled, it’s time to take her places. ¬†Environment (such as buildings, trees, ground, sky) is key. ¬†Your scenery defines the genre of your image–Contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. ¬†And don’t forget the props (mirrors, chairs, swords, blasters, etc). ¬†We’re telling a story with pictures instead of words so we need some props.

You can purchase all of the things I’ve mentioned (character skins, environments, props) from vendors who sell their 3D models on sites like Renderosity, RuntimeDNA and Daz3d. ¬†My favorite vendors are Ironman13, Fugazi1968, Fabiana, Godin, Nightsong,¬†P3Design, StudioArtVartanian, Surreality,¬†and Sabby. ¬†(And that’s barely a handful of the wonderful vendors that you’ll find on those sites.)

And now it’s time to work that body! ¬†Ms Vicky must do¬†something interesting or else she’ll look like she’s a mannequin in a shop window. ¬†Trust me. ¬†You don’t want that. ¬†I know this because I’ve created some images like that. ¬†(Sometimes, I still do. ¬†Everyone has an off day. Amiright?)

Pause for an Interesting Fact: ¬†3D Barbies are extremely flexible. ¬†They have all our joints and are happy to use them–sometimes in ways that look pretty painful.

Finally, we come down to the thing that kicks my ass on a regular basis. ¬†Lighting. ¬†Getting the right lighting could literally take me hours. ¬†Color choices, angles, type of light–spotlight, point light, infinite light, IBL.

Seriously.

Poser lighting is my muthatruckin’ nemesis. ¬†And boy, do we throw down. ¬†Sometimes I kick its ass. ¬†Sometimes I get my ass kicked. ¬†Most of the time I cheat and call in my buddy Photoshop. ¬†(More on that later.)

Ok, She’s dressed¬†and going places and she has fantastic lighting. ¬†Now it’s time to take the picture or render the image, as it’s called in the 3D world.

Pre-rendered image…

_v42

Image after rendering…

_v43

“Huh. ¬†Not all that magical, PJ.” ¬†Yeah. ¬†Yeah. ¬†Well, that’s because Poser isn’t the end of the workflow for me. ¬†I have friends, remember? ¬†Photoshop, baby.

Cue the magic act.

I add layers, color adjustments, tweak the light and contrast…and if everything comes out skippy, I end up with the image that I saw in my head. ¬†Something like this:

Blown Away

So, like I said…I can’t draw. ¬†I just didn’t let that hold me back. ¬†And after years of practice,¬†I went from the girl who trembled before stick figures to an artist whose work appears on book covers and in the marketing campaign of the¬†software that helped me realize my dream. ¬† (I know. I’m tooting my horn. ¬†I promise not to preen too much, ok?)

 

_v44

 

Free Your Mind appeared¬†on the inside of the Poser Debut box and¬†in the ad on Content Paradise’s site.

 

 

 

 

RazelDazzle_700x1059

 

Cobblestone Press commissioned this cover for Razzle Dazzle by Elizabeth Morgan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist. ¬†That’s one less thing on my bucket list. ¬†Next is Author of a series. ¬†That’s what I’m working on this year. ¬†I’ll let you know how it’s coming along.

What’s your dream? ¬†What are you doing or going to do to make it come true? ¬†I’d love to hear. ¬†

 

-PJ

 

Landing – Portrait View

You never know what you’re going to find when you start digging into folders. ¬†This image was a prime example of that. ¬†I created this back in November of 2012 and for some reason, never uploaded it anywhere. ¬†I’m not sure why, but here you go. ¬†I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I did rediscovering it.