Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Cover Illustration breakdowns... sort of

I just posted a video to my YouTube page that shows some breakdowns of some of my book cover illustrations. Well, not really breakdowns, but more like raw photo to finished illustration. You can get a good idea of the work involved in my process. I plan on doing some proper "breakdowns" in the future. As always, thanks for watching!

Here's the link to the video:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Craig White Illustration on YouTube

I just posted a video I made of a photo shoot with my good friend, fitness model David Kimmerle. The shoot was for a book the will be coming out next year for Sourcebooks publishing. You may recognize David from many of my book covers. To date, I think we are over 30 covers with David as the subject. He's an amazing guy and and equally amazing model. He is so easy to work with and poses like a dream. Despite his strikingly handsome mug, and hard-won physique, he is one of the most humble and genuine persons I have ever met. He is truly a "good guy" and deserves the recognition and good fortune he has attained. I feel very blessed to have met him so many years ago and fortunate to be able to still use him today. If you haven't checked out his website, visit He also has a subscription based fitness site that is taking off.

Below is a link to my YouTube channel where you can find the photo shoot video. I'll be updating my channel soon with more art related content. Feel free to check out my other videos that revolve around some of my hobbies as well.

Craig White YouTube Channel

Thanks to all!



Friday, May 23, 2014

Walking Dead tribute

I've been a fan of the show since the beginning. I'm not really into the zombie thing, especially the gore, but I seem to love shows/movies that have a post-apocalyptic theme. Some of my favorites have been, Waterworld (I know, but I liked it), The Book of Eli, Oblivion, The Omega Man to name a few. I love the survival aspect of these shows, how the characters adapt to their new world. Years ago I read Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" and really loved it. Also a while back I read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and enjoyed most of it… That book cover is spot on… just solid black. If you get a chance, check out these titles if you are into survivalist type themes.

Below is the "Walking Dead" tribute art I created as a personal work. The model is Scott B. Very nice guy and really looks the part. I shot him in my humble garage photo studio against a gray background then composed the shot in Photoshop. I had to dirty him up a bit and added some tears to the clothes. I really loved his boots. He is a fan of the show as well and will be auditioning for a part for the new season- I hope he gets it. Also below is the original photo out of the camera.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why stealing cover artwork is bad for you

A few months ago, I received an email from a fan who just happened upon some of my cover art being used illegally on an independent "author's" book. It turns out there was some girl writing e-books for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other sites using my artwork she lifted from somewhere online. She removed my copyright line in an image editing program, altered the images to her liking and added her own title. The cover art she stole is not only copyrighted to me, but was commissioned for two different legitimate publishers (Harper Collins and Penguin). After discussing what to do with my agent and his lawyer, we decided to give the "author" a chance to remove the artwork from her titles or just make them disappear altogether. As it is with the internet these days, it can be hard to find an email address or contact info for someone you don't know. After some searching, I was able to find an email address, but opted to instead inform the online shopping sites that one of their customers was using stolen artwork. Fortunately, every one of the retailers got back to me promptly and just as quickly removed the products from their stores.

These days, it is so easy to just take what you want from the internet without giving much thought to whoever created the work you wish to use for your own purposes. In this case the "author" willfully took copyrighted artwork, deleted the copyright information, modified it and used it for her own gain. To her it was just an image that she liked. She gave no thought to the creator and owner. The fact of the matter is, it takes many people to create my work. There is me, obviously, but there is also sometimes a photographer, models (I buy props and wardrobe) and paying client. All of whom are paid or pay for the artwork that is created. By stealing my artwork, she also stole from the photographer, model and publisher.

All of this brings me to my point. Stealing cover artwork for you own gain hurts yourself as much as it does the other parties involved. If, as a legitimate author, this person valued her work to any degree, she would have sought to have artwork created by a professional or at least bought royalty-free stock images (there are numerous stock houses out now that practically give you everything you need to create a cover for VERY little money) and created her own artwork. If she was a good writer with the potential to sell books, I would hope she would have a little more pride in what was associated with her hard work. It takes time and hard work to create great cover art, and I'm pretty sure it takes time and hard work to write a book.

So, if you or someone you know is a self-publisher, please inform them that if they value their hard work, they should pay a professional or create their own cover art using stock and their own skills- don't steal something from the internet. If their cover isn't the greatest, at least it will be theirs and they will have the satisfaction knowing they valued the cover as much as the words it's attached to. Also, if it's a great book, it won't matter much what's on the cover-- great books sell because of the words, not the cover.

I recently started selling "stock" cover art to appeal to self-publishers. I have created a library of high-quality cover art similar to what's on my website. The artwork is already created and not customizable, but the prices are very fair and the artwork is great (if I must say so myself ;-)  If you are interested, email me and I can give you more information.

-Best, Craig

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Time Lapsed

Wow, it's been a while since I added a new blog. I've been very busy with many things and really haven't had much time to devote to my little slice in the big blogger universe. I do now, have a little something interesting (hopefully) to share. I made this time lapse movie of a creating a book cover from start (well, almost start) to finish. The movie begins at a stage where I have already roughly placed some of the required elements into my Photoshop document. I used a stock image of a wolf and some background images I have as well as a photo of model David Kimmerle, I shot for this particular cover. The final cover is close to this, but a different color and altered slightly with revisions from the publisher, but it is essentially the same.

Although it is only 10 minutes long, the movie goes pretty fast, so get your slow-mo glasses ready. I can't remember how long the actual time spent was, but I think it was about 2.5 hours. The final illustration with all revisions totaled about a day.

So, if you have 10 minutes to spend and don't mind reading a few very quick captions now and again (sorry), take a look.

Here's the link:

Book Cover Creation Video



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Future abandoned

Recently my agent called and said he had a series of books that take place in a post-holocaust, deserted cityscape kind of like the Will Smith fiasco, "I am Legend". I loved the look of city set in that film, all unkept, overgrown and decayed and deserted. Very cool. I was excited (and a little daunted) to try and replicate that look in Photoshop.

The image that was decided on for one of the covers was an aged and decayed deserted freeway with a broken overpasses and abandoned, burned out cars with weeds and vines growing all over the place. The ideal would have been to shut down the freeway and park cars in an escape route fashion and shoot the image to my liking. Alas, book cover budgets are not movie budgets, so I had to improvise. Armed with my trusty Canon 5d and my SUV,  I took to the freeways of Los Angeles in search of open road and a sprinkling of cars -- a tall order in this congested city. Traffic was quite light that afternoon (wee!), lady luck was on my side. Precariously driving up and down the 105, mostly at speeds over the limit, with one hand on the wheel and the other rapid firing my camera, I managed to take about 300 photos through the windshield of my car. I was fortunate to have a bright overcast sky as a light source so I avoided dreaded motion blur which would have ruined the details of the different elements. I used a medium/high ISO and high shutter speed to freeze the cars, pavement and signs in front of me going 70+ mph.

IMAGE: These overpasses were just right.

IMAGE: These cars were in the right positions.

IMAGE: Overpass image and cars combined.

I ended up using 3 or 4 different photos to compile the final image in Photoshop. I dropped out the sky in my main freeway image then used a different image for the cars in front of me as well as some empty freeway to eliminate my vehicles front end. I painted in the vines and used stock images of grass, broken concrete and asphalt from my library. By painting with the paintbrush tool, I "broke" the windows of the cars, flattened the tires, broke the overpasses. I then added grime layers to dull and "age" the elements. I topped it off with a spooky sky from my library. The client was happy with the final image and didn't  make many changes, thank goodness, because it was a huge time sucker. It didn't look like it, but it was a ton of work to create all the damage. I managed to finish the other covers in the series, but this one came out the best I think.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More pixel pushing

Here's another example of the "Liquify" filter in action.

As in the previous post, our hero needed a bit of beefing up. He's a good looking model, but once again, was not as chiseled as was required by the publisher. Also, we needed to spice up the heroine's look a bit and a little cleavage goes a long way-- so I created a path for the scoop of the dress and painted the skin with the painting tools. Eventually the dress color was changed to a creamy white.

side by side: