Not too long ago I posted a picture with four different icons next to each other, representing what my fiance wanted for the side-business she’s been dabbling in. I had told her I was also going to create a logo for her, based on some ideas that we had gone over together, but it would take me several months in between making the icons and coming up with what you see above, but I eventually did get around to doing it (much to my fiances jubilation).
We had talked about what kind of services she could offer (which is apparently many), but wanted to scale down her expertise into a more niche category. Being a “VA” (or Virtual Assistant – typically one that helps clients through the internet, only) was already niche, enough, but we still figured we didn’t want to overwhelm her current and potential clients with what she could do for them, so we decided on about 6-9 different services she could render up front (and perhaps do other tasks – that aren’t listed – after obtaining said customers).
On the front of the card are nine different items, of which 6-9 of them will be used in the final version of the logo, card, and a soon-to-be website homepage. I figured that each item I chose to make is somewhat universally self-explanatory (some examples: the planner could mean she helps with scheduling, the pen could mean she will help with taking notes, the paper could mean she helps with documentation organization or basic paperwork, etc., etc.), and should be able to convey what she can do for them. If not, they can always visit her upcoming site, and get a better explanation from there!
For now, I have stopped reiterating the book cover for “WotW: Dogma,” because I feel this 3rd version is more akin to what I had had in mind from the beginning (of which, one can go back through my posts and see that the first iteration was very much the same). The 2nd book cover version was a success (in my mind), but it was a bit too much for the tone I wanted to set for the reader. Even though that cover would have made sense eventually to the reader, I feel this one gives off a vibe of uncertainty, mystery, and foreboding, not really giving as much away as the last one did, and it is perfect for what I have written. I might end up making additions to this version later on, to help solidify the feeling.
I know I had said I didn’t want to give away too much about the details of the book cover, but I thought I’d at least reveal some more themes. As one can see, the “t” in the word “the” has a tree growing out of it, with a giant network of roots growing beneath it. Big, stand-alone trees is a reoccurring theme in both this book and the others in the project trilogy. One could say it might represent the tree of life (Yggdrasil), or perhaps even the tree of knowledge (from Eden). Lone, stout trees with nothing surrounding them has always been an image in my mind’s eye, and if one looks around hard enough, one can see that that very same image is a bit common in a lot of media (art and otherwise). If one were to turn the cover upside down, one could also see that the network of roots also looks like a tree, but one that is ever-reaching and gnarly and buried deep; secretive.
If plans go right, when I write the 2nd and 3rd books, I am hoping to possibly use this scene again, but in slightly different, advancing ways. Perhaps having the main tree keep growing over time (through each book), and perhaps the 3rd book cover could be the version I did of the tree and its roots being seen trying to choke America, and the rest of the world.
Lastly, I also am looking into making an audio book series of “WotW: Dogma,” and if I decide to add in some graphics (animated or not), I was going to upload each chapter on YouTube. So, keep a look out on this site – and the other’s of mine – for more details if that does indeed become a reality!
As for the most recent piece of the KFTC brand line that I’ve completed and sold, I got to add in a color for once…yay! Typically, the crass style my client wants is very monochrome, but since the red star burns brightly through the black and white, it really helps the word “Socialism” stand out because of placement.
I did a couple of variations before my client decided upon this one. I was messing around with the placement and sizes of each word. I was experimenting on where the star would be, at different angles, and with different sizes. I also played around with the word “Extinction,” seeing what kind of disappearing effects I could create (at one point, I had copy and pasted 3 different sized bullets holes onto each letter of the word, increasing in number from left to right, where the letter “N” was almost unreadable).
Even though I, personally, am not a huge advocate of Socialism (mostly because of my lack of actual knowledge on the subject – most of what I know is hearsay or propaganda), I have no qualms with helping others with slightly different belief systems. Typically, I would never help promote hate or violence, or perpetuate unethical or downright “wrong” systems of thoughts, but I know my client rather well, and he is a intelligent person with a lot of forethought. I understand his brand is a bit brash (a man after my own heart, haha), but I understand the subtle messages behind the overt and obvious brashness, and agree with his methods. I hope to continue to work with him on future projects!
I didn’t really talk any about the first version of the book cover in a previous post about “WotW: Dogma,” because I wanted to give you all a little background on where the idea of the book even came from; my motivations behind its creation. The content of the book, overall, is a sort of off-beat “coming of age” story, about a young man who meets another young man, who of which alters his future, forever. The story is from a very personal first-person perspective of the protagonist. Not only do you see the entirety of the book through his eyes, but one of the big themes I was trying to convey was perspective. As the reader goes through the story, I truly tried to capture a feeling that they were actually in the protagonist’s head the whole time – almost like the reader is his own brain – feeling and even thinking the way the main character does. According to some of the beta-readers that have finished so far, that feeling does seem to come off here and there, but we’ll have to see if that stays true for the rest of the peer-reviewers.
The above book cover came to my mind’s eye one day, and I really liked the imagery, so I booted up ye olde Photoshop, and began editing the first version into what you can see. I would go into detail on the whys and the whats, but that would be giving away valuable tidbits, and I can’t afford new readers to already know all of the answers of the book, haha. Suffice to say, with this version – even though I think it looks fantastic with the monochrome look, with a splash of red to help set the tone – it almost seemed too much. In all honesty, it reminded me more of what the book cover of the third novel in the trilogy might look like (and yes, I failed, up to this point, to say that “Dogma” is supposed to be the first of a 3-book series), so I eventually scaled back some of the grandness, and began working on a 3rd version (of which I will post soon).
As mentioned in some previous posts, I have been dabbling in graphic design freelancing (with both freebies and pieces that garner some cash), and luckily for me, in the second year of BCTC, I had already found a future client in the waiting, to help create a brand line for a type of crass, guerilla marketing campaign, called KFTC (also known as “Kill For The Cause”).
A few months after I had created three different pieces for him (which spilled into 2018), he was, yet again, looking for my assistance to further his brand. Like with the other jobs he had me do previously, he already had something in mind (or in this case, on paper) for me to transcribe into a digital form. Considering he hadn’t got his logo off of paper, yet, he thought it was the right time to do so. He showed me about a dozen different ways he drew the acronym of his brand, and we ended up picking one very similar to what you see above. I took the version he gave me, and over a couple of days, using different types of image-tracing options in Illustrator – and perfecting some of the finer vector points – I was able to fashion what you see; simple and sound. His version of this logo had more of a brushstroke feel to it, with lines and dots of white splattered here and there, but he evidently wanted the end result to be cleaned up a bit more.
“Wait of the World: Dogma” is a satirical, dark comedic novel I have been working on (on and off) since I was a junior in high school. I had a creative writing class that year, and was spurned to create many works of word-art. One day, I happened to channel both “Fight Club” and Quinton Tarantino in a rather morose way, and came up with a chapter dealing with two psychopathic “business men” robbing a bank and basically murdering everyone in the scene. There really wasn’t much forethought behind the story, characters, or really any of it; it just sounded entertaining to me and somehow humorous (in the way I wrote it). Eventually, I was able to read it in front of class (oddly enough) and people actually liked it!
From there – through two tours of college, and half a life of misery and disappointment through shit jobs – I would find myself inserting that specific chapter into a novel I had begun writing (at the very start of college in 2003), and it began to take over my life, in a sense. For the first few years of writing, that’s all I’d find myself doing. I actually quit college the first time through because of several reasons, but one that seemed more prominent than the others was the fact that myself writing this book was taking up around 50% of each day, every day. I was fascinated and obsessed with this new reality (and all of the characters and events) I was creating, and yearned for it to possibly be put on a pedestal like the book version of “Fight Club,” one day.
Not too long after the first few years of writing, life happened (horribly, I might add), and it got in the way of my creative processes. For many years after I would only ever gaze at certain chapters in my book, and take notes in several notebooks I had kept. It wasn’t really until after I graduated college the second time through (in 2017), that I went back, full-force, and decided that I had waited long enough to finish it. I took the opportunity from NaNoWriMo ’17 to finally update and “finish” up this tome I had kept half of my life, and was ecstatic to find out that by the end, I had written 30,000 more words than were necessary for a NaNo victory! I feel this version if far better than the older one (considering I have more life experience now, and am a way better writer than I once was), and actually have almost a dozen beta-readers reviewing a copy of it as I type this!
For a while now, my fiance and myself have been brainstorming ideas for a story, one that happens after the events of the 1980’s Jim Henson and David Bowie movie called “Labyrinth.” Even before I met her, she apparently had been wanting to write a fan-made sequel novel to the movie, to explore the story of who the Goblin King really was, and his eventual relationship with an older Sarah. One day, she decided to tell me about this idea of hers, knowing I also loved the original movie, and in my spare time – over a couple of years – I thought of how I could transcribe this new story as being more interactive (as in video game form).
From there, once I started to learn Unity and Maya in college – also in more spare time (of which there wasn’t much) – I was able to create a white box model of some of the movie, to test to see if it was an interesting place to revisit in a game. Indeed, after much level planning (watching the movie over and over and taking still shots of certain angles of certain scenes), I was able to basically make a 1:1 version of the movie in Unity. Over several months of adding in models, grass textures, music, and a few scripts to help showcase the very basic features of our overall idea, we had something that was both playable, and definitely nostalgic.
The above video is the entirety of what I got in the Unity scene, so far; with the Goblin King’s castle in the distance, spurning the player to want more. However, as I somewhat said above, the idea we have in mind is not a digital remake of the movie, but rather the events that happen afterwards; so, the Alpha version (and others) of the actual game wouldn’t showcase these areas as they are seen in the video.
Considering the version of “SPAce” in “Dreams” on Google Play isn’t the newest iteration my fiance and I ended up creating, we wanted other people – not just those that went to Lexplay ’17 – to be able to experience it in a more perfected form, as well. Version 1.5 has some changes here and there, with a few tidbits we were able to update in the small time we had between Rules and Play art gallery and Lexplay. The link below goes to my personal Itch.io page for “SPAce,” where you can download, donate (only if you choose to), rate, and comment. Please let me and my fiance know what you think!
Considering the version of “Sol Mates” in “Dreams” on Google Play isn’t the newest iteration I ended up creating, I wanted other people – not just those that went to Lexplay ’17 – to be able to experience it in a more perfected form, as well. Version 1.5 has a variety of changes: from different sound effects, different textures here and there, and a few other tidbits I was able to update in the small time I had between Rules and Play art gallery and Lexplay. The link below goes to my personal Itch.io page for “Sol Mates: Earthen Star,” where you can download, donate (only if you choose to), rate, and comment. Please let me know what you think!
The final Gold version of “Dreams” we created was published right before Lexplay Gaming Convention ’17, so we could allow convention goers a chance to download the app on their phones, and use the Google Cardboard headsets we had to play the game in its original form. It is still hanging around the Google Play store, and is in waiting for your eyes and ears. The game is free for all to play (as long as you have a smartphone – we might plan on releasing an iOS version eventually), and please feel free to leave an honest review or rating on there for us! The link to download “Dreams: A VR Art Gallery” is right below.