Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!
When I became a writer, I knew nothing about Photoshop except that it existed. As a matter of fact, I knew nothing about cover design and graphic design. Nor did I really wish to know. I’m not naturally good with art, though I am capable of creating my own simple crochet patterns. Little did I know in 2014 that things were about to change.
When I first did my own covers, in 2015, I used a free website called Canva to do them. I still use Canva for some aspects of my covers, though I think I might be ready to try them from scratch in Photoshop. Time will tell. 😉 As I’ve said before, my covers were white with an open-centered heart made of flowers or feathers or what have you, and my name in a purple script font at the bottom. The title was at the top in a different script-type font. Simple, because that was all I could handle.
My friend Leenie taught me a couple things about design, like the “rule of threes.” I still cannot reconcile that name with how it actually works. Nor did I “get it” the first ten times she explained it to me. One day, on the 11th or 12th go-round, the idea finally clicked. Better late than never, yes? Thankfully, Leenie has the patience of a saint. LOL
Anyway, I “purchased” a Photoshop subscription sometime in 2016, I believe, though I didn’t use it for more than picking colors until earlier this year. I’ve slowly, over the course of the last year and a half or two years, begun to pick up some of the skills needed to create teasers and covers. My other friend, Rose, helped me a great deal with that. She sent me directions, I tried them, they worked once and then not again. She did it for me, and the next time, she sent directions again. Why did she keep sending directions? Because I was, and remain, determined to learn to do for myself. As much as I hate having to do everything myself, I have control-freak tendencies and firmly believe in the truth of the adage, “if you want it done right, do it yourself.” Anyway, I finally started copying and pasting her directions out of chat and into a Word doc, which I printed off and stuck in my binder. I’m happy and proud to say that I can do almost everything I need to do for a cover, on my own. Almost being the key word. I do still need help now and again.
What you need to understand here is how absolutely angry I get when I cannot figure out or remember how to do something in Photoshop. It’s the same when I’m formatting in Word, and the program decides to be stupid and not cooperate. I get to where I want to smash the computer, and it’s not good for me. I have learned to walk away when I feel it happening, and ask for help. However, I don’t want to be that person who is constantly asking for help and taking my friends away from their own writing and cover-making. I want to be independent.
There are still things I can’t do with Photoshop, but I am far more confident now than I was. By the time I feel like I can afford to hire a cover designer, I’ll be a Photoshop expert and won’t need one. 😉
I’ve discovered a new site! It’s called Design Wizard, and you can check it out by clicking here. Design Wizard is a great new alternative to Photoshop. It is an online graphic design tool with over 1 million high-quality images and 15,000 templates. Perhaps one of its best features is the magic resize button, which allows the user to quickly transform the size of the template while designing. The website also has excellent integrations with Hubspot, Buffer and Marketo. Make sure to check it out!
What about you? Do you make your own covers or hire someone? If you make your own, what program or programs do you use?
Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3