As you know, earlier this week I posted an open letter to my artist friends and readers for an artist to help me with my cover. What I didn’t tell you was that the cover art had been one of my stumbling blocks around this process of bringing my manuscript, Blameless Mouth, into the world.
You see, I’ve been planning and hoping to self-publish this manuscript for quite some time. In all of this planning, I told myself that I would make the cover myself. I’m a serviceable enough photographer that I could certainly create a nice cover for my book. Unfortunately, my ideas for the cover outpaced my artistic and photographic talent. My wheels would turn: I can’t finish the manuscript until I have a cover, but I can’t make the cover that I want, so I won’t finish the manuscript. This has been quite a convenient excuse. Finally, after discussing this with Aaron, I realized that I needed help. He reminded me that between the two of us, we are friends with dozens of talented artists. We could put this request out into the network of artists and find a solution. Therefore, my open letter.
I am saying it here in public: My husband was (and is) right. Because here is the product, the cover of my forthcoming poetry collection:
By putting the request out through this blog, Facebook, and Twitter, I came into contact with several talented artists who were excited to help me. I am so very thankful for every person who contacted me or passed on my link. I am truly lucky to know so many talented and generous people.
However, I had to choose just one artist to use. After conversing with a few very talented artists, I began working with Susan Sieber. Susan is a very talented illustrator and silk painting artisan from Illinois, and a fellow alumna of Beloit College. Her official bio reads:
Susan Sieber is a commercial illustrator and art instructor, working with both digital and traditional media. She grew up in California, has lived in Morocco and Japan, and received her B.A. in English from Beloit College, WI. Currently she lives in Illinois and is pursuing her MFA Illustration. In 2008, she was named an Illinois Artisan for her silk painting, and sells and exhibits her work at various Illinois locations. Her illustration gallery is located at: http://susans-art-portfolio.daportfolio.com/
Within a few hours of my request, she had created a version of the cover that rocked my world. When I opened the file she sent, I just about squealed with delight. (I’ve been doing that a lot lately.) I had a real version of the cover and it was beautiful. The great thing about working with Susan is that she was so open to feedback. We chatted over email about some changes to the image and she turned around a revised image within a few days. I am so grateful to have worked with such a receptive and talented artist as Susan.
I would highly recommend that you take a look at Susan’s work on her portfolio website and consider her for any of your own illustration needs. Also, check out her silks, because they are just beautiful.
Within less than a week, I have a cover for my book. It’s all starting to come together very quickly, after spinning my wheels for months, and if I’m truly honest, years. I hope to put my final touches on the manuscript this weekend and upload the darn thing to Lulu.
I think I’m going to order and receive a copy from Lulu and check it over, before I officially release it into the wide world. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you my process for writing the book, a few samples of the poems, and more about the theme of the work.
Now that it’s starting to feel real, I am so excited to begin sharing more of my process and my work with you.
(Please note that the cover image is Copyright 2010 by Susan Sieber, used here with permission.)