I have to admit that publishing Pride’s Children, incredibly soon to be available also in trade paperback, has been a constant rush – and a constant learning experience.
I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Many of us indies create for ourselves an imprint – mine is now TRILKA PRESS. The imprint will cover several (or all) of our books), and may even some day turn into a company which publishes other writers.
I did my Google-diligence: ‘trilka’ came up with only 3000 hits.
And there was no ‘Trilka Press.’ Not even in Scotland where one of the few meanings for trilka (to take the trilka, to take the sulks, to become huffy) appeared. You can kind of see why.
I wanted something with ‘tri’ in it, and spent some time checking out the internet’s cache of images, and found some lovely three-lobed Irish/Celtic knots (some labeled Trinity or Triquetra knots) – but they weren’t quite right – and I didn’t create them. I could have imitated one – drawn my own version – but they were lacking something which had been building in my notes and in my mind for a while, and which I actually used in an early cover:
The yin yang symbol inspired this; but the yin yang symbol represents harmony and balance, and my story – and the symbol it inspired in my mind – is based on struggle as well as an intricate joining of the three main characters in a way which will become clear only at the end of the last book in the trilogy.
An IMPRINT means a LOGO, too
So I had my name, and I had an idea, and I had learned to use graphics software Pixelmator on the Mac well enough to design my own cover.
And as you know by now, that is enough to allow me to go off and running after this particular hare.
A dear friend was going to do the logo – and then life changed on her and she is moving cross-country and she will be incredibly busy until the move happens in January, and then incredibly busy getting herself established in her new job and new profession and new place.
A gift from the gods: name, idea, and semi-pro (?!) skillset. I couldn’t pass it up.
Three days of my ‘good time’ went into making Pixelmator behave.
The next step: stained-glass texture
I looked all over the internet for a way to make the colored sections look like stained glass.
- Buy commercial stained glass textures in the three colors
- Copy from a photo of actual stained glass
- Figure out a way to make a stained-glass texture with my Pixelmator tools
The first was rather expensive – and I needed such a tiny quantity.
The second was attempted: I photographed my friend’s Tiffany lamp (which had two of the three colors I wanted). It must have been something to do with the lighting (a photographer I’m not, though I’ve gotten better at finding textures I can use in real life, and cobbling them together), but the photos were very dull, and what was worse, flat: they completely lacked the texture I instinctively knew I wanted. All stained glass is NOT textured – some is quite flat, and a lot is even plain – but my brain had something particular in mind, and diverting it is usually more work than just giving in, so…
I went for the third option: make my own. The internet had a few interesting ways to turn actual photos into something that looked like a stained-glass painting (one I really liked is here).
But these models were not usable – they relied on plugins and effects built into software I didn’t have.
But they gave me ideas.
EASY STAINED GLASS EFFECT in PIXELMATOR
To do what I wanted, I needed to use a series of effects which would give me 1) color variation, 2) texture, and 3) shine.
I started with the cutout in the black framework, filled with blue color:
To get the color variation, I stumbled on the Clouds effect – using two complementary colors. This is your color dabbing effect (sponge) in some other graphics programs. I picked a lighter blue for the second color. I had to repeat this step several times until I found a pleasing pattern – the effect uses a random generator, and some were not usable (red required a yellow second color, and the yellow, a black (IIRC)).
IMPORTANT STEP: FONTS
I learned somewhere along the way that when you license a commercial font to use it for your books, the license does not usually allow you to use the font in your logo – which is something entirely different, since it is placed everywhere, and is scaled up and down.
To see what I mean, think of, say, the Coca-Cola font or the Harry Potter font: the exact fonts are very distinctive, part of the brand, and trademarked – so they don’t appear on other products but the licensed ones. When a font is used like this, the font creator cannot resell it – so the license fees are considerable.
Then I remembered that, on a lark, I had created my OWN handwriting font a while back on MyScriptFont.com. (It’s free – leave a donation.) If you remember my first sunset cover, my NAME was in my own handwriting font. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted for the cover (and the font needs work because of a lot of things), but the site gives you your own TrueTypeFont – and you own all the rights.
So I wrote out TRILKA PRESS – and went to work.
Pixelmator (and others) allow you to turn a font into a shape – down to the level of individual letters.
I won’t bore you with the work necessary to turn:
into the letters which surround the logo. The font gets Converted to Shape. Then individual letters are double-clicked to make them editable, and Transformed (rotated and stretched and moved) until they touch both circles, and ‘look’ right as an ensemble. J.M. Ney-Grimm calls this ‘torturing the font.’
That, plus shapes in Pixelmator for all the black lines (duplicated and rotated using triangles and hexagons as scaffolding to get the correct angles), and the logo is finished.
I’m rather fond of it – the creation was years in the making, and then the pieces came together when I was ready to build it.