"" Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8339780_put-emoticons-blogger.html WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus: March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Framed, matted and signed Giclée prints of WillowRaven work now available!

   I am now able to offer signed, dated, framed and matted Giclée prints of some of my more popular works. Some are personal works, while others are cover art that are capable of standing on their own.

Giclée prints are fine art prints of the highest quality, higher than lithographs. They differ from traditional prints in a couple of ways. Rather than a four color system (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), Giclée prints are created using an eight color system: cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow, black, light back, and light light black. What this means is that they are produced using a wider spectrum of colors.

They also differ in how those colors are used. With lithography, which is what is used for posters and newspapers, the color is applied to the ground (in this case, the paper) by using differing size dots of color. With Giclée printing, the color is actually mixed on the paper. This produces a more bright and uniform result, even when examined close up. No dots or grain that isn't in the original work of art. It's more akin to how color mixes and blends as an artist applies paint to a canvas. 

For my first Giclée print available for purchase, I give you Tarranau

scale is approximate
Tarranau is printed on an Enhanced Matte surface (32.0" x 20.1"), framed in a sleek Matte Black Basic frame (finished size: 37.3" x 25.6" - see scale on left). It's double matted, with the top mat in Teton Sky, complimenting the mage's robes. The inner mat is a soft Oyster (acid free paper - to help protect the print over time), bringing out the glowing highlights in the ship's wood and metal surfaces, plus the highlights in the sky and skin tones.

Since glass breaks so easily in transport, to protect your art print, I use an Acrylic Glazing. Glass can always be added locally once your print arrives safely if you wish to have it under glass. 

Normal shipment is 10-14 business days.

 A close up of the work, itself, without the matting and frame:

Tarranu (framed, matted, signed, dated) retails for $386.13 + $22.99 S&H. Total + $409.12


Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award part 3 ... Finish things up with my new WillowRaven VidFolio

   So as not to be TOTALLY predictable, I thought I'd finish up my Stylish Blogger Award series, with my latest video-portfolio, or as I call it, my VidFolio.

I did make one error, and repeatedly misspelled ORIGINAL (sometimes copy/paste isn't a good thing ... lol), so I still need to fix that. But over all, almost everybody on FaceBook, that left comments, liked it. I hope you do too.

According to the rules of the Stylish Blogger Award, I was supposed to list seven (7) things about myself and pass the award on to someone else. And since I really had talking about me-myself, I took a twisted route, and started talking about some of the books I have illustrated and designed. I had also passed the award to Ginger Nielson's blog, because she is stylish in everything I've seen her do: Ginger Pixels

I have learned, in my experience, that looking at an artist's general range of works, and what genres they delve into and how they execute them, tells a lot more about them than I ever really could with words.

So maybe, to be more true to the ORIGINAL (can you tell I am trying to teach myself not to get this word wrong, again), purpose of the award, here are a lot more that seven things about me ...

So what did you learn from this? What does my work, and how I present it, tell you about me?

I'd like to read your interpretations.

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award part 2 ... 'Conscience' and 'Time Pullers'

    Today, for my Stylish Blogger Award requirements, I will share two more of the seven things about me/about my work.

According to the rules, I am supposed to list seven (7) things about myself and pass the award on to someone else. I passed it to Ginger Nielson's blog, because she is stylish in everything I've seen her do: Ginger Pixels

I also posted about two books, and my experience with them, yesterday: Midnight Hours, by Vivian Gilbert Zabel, and Being Jacob: A Day at the Zoo, by Suzy Koch. If you missed it, I hope you check out the previous post, as well. Especially the book trailers.

One of the two books I plan to feature today, also has a book trailer I created: Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia, by vehoae. And Time Pullers, by Horton Deakins, has a shirt design (and a few other fun items featuring the art work, in the 4RV Zazzle store). First, let's look at Conscience...
Nonfiction - 4RV Publishing

The cover for Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia was one of my easiest covers. After reading the synopsis, I new exactly what I was going to do. The author was a bit apprehensive, only hearing the description, because many Native Americans find the  'feathered Indian' a stereotype, and offensive. But I felt the look I wanted would be more powerful than what vehoae was visualizing. I wanted to show the pain and heart ache that the tribal leaders must have been burdened with, seeing what was happening to their people, their culture. Once vehoae saw my cover, she saw what I had hoped all would see. There have been nothing but positive reviews on the cover. I am glad I went with my own gut on this one. 

Now for one of the wonderful book reviews, stats, and also the book trailer that I designed for vehoae ...

"Scholars familiar with Native American issues will find this volume useful in building a better understanding and knowledge base. Those unfamiliar will find it eye-opening, to say the least."

--Greg Rodgers, prominent Choctaw Storyteller, author of The Ghost of Mingo Creek and Other Spooky Oklahoma Legends

Paperback: 216 pages
Published: January 27, 2011
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982642385
ISBN-13: 978-0982642382
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
The next title ...
Science Fiction - 4RV Publishing

Time Pullers, by Horton Deakins, was an extra special challenge. I needed something abstract, because trying to portray time travel, with no time machine of any kind, was going to be a trick. Especially for me. I don't think in the abstract, very well. I really struggle with it. So, when my first concept crashed and burned (I really wasn't happy with it anymore than either the publisher or author was), I hit my trusty stock image sites. Found about seven abstract designs that I could make work (after a little tweaking in Photoshop), and had them select which one they wanted me to turn into an eye-catching book cover. 

My next challenge was creating a title and by line that wouldn't distract from or disappear into the art work. It had to compliment not only the cover art, but also the story line. With abstract cover art, there is so much room for interpretation, the title style had to add to the visual 'story'. I went with a clean font and added a 'chrome' style. It turned out even better than I expected, because it kinda resembles a horizon or a field, which happens to be in the first scene. I feel it really brightened up the cover, without getting gaudy. Don't you? 

I don't have a trailer to show you, but I do have some products that feature the full art work on the 4RV Zazzle store. Check them out (the T shirt pic should take you to the 4RV store):
Time Pullers T shirts and more at the 4RV Zazzle store.

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Google Alert and my Stylish Blogger Award ...

    Don't ya just love Google Alert? I am always getting surprised with what can be found about me, out there, on the world wide web. According to the Google Alert I just received, Vivian Zabel is the reason this post is boasting the Stylish Blogger Award

I'm am also supposed to list seven (7) things about myself and pass the award on to someone else. I pass it to Ginger Nielson's blog, because she is stylish in everything I've seen her do. Ginger Pixels

I'm going to twist the seven things about me, to target seven books I have illustrated or created the cover art for. It's technically about me, since so much of me goes into my art work, so I think I can get away with it. Now seven is a lot of books to cover in one post, so I'll do two a day & try to keep the descriptions brief. I'm going to start with Vivian, since she is the one you are to blame, if you get bored with this post (love ya, Viv... ;P).

Thriller -- 4RV Publishing
Vivian Gilbert Zabel and I have been working together since 2007, and I consider her something between best friend, big sister, and the wacky, yet always there for you, aunt... lol.Our first project together was Midnight Hours.

 This cover was really a collaborative effort. Vivian set up a still life in her house, of old computer parts and a red scarf (and I think the white texture in the backdrop was sheets of paper -- Viv will  have to comment on that... lol).

She emailed me the pic, and I did some magic in Photoshop. I superimposed a creepy photo on the screen, and Voila! A genuinely chilling effect.

But what gave me so much respect for Vivian wasn't cover related, it was the veracity she applied during layout, and the copy-editing process. We must have edited that thing 20 times!

The data:
Midnight Hours by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

Midnight preyed on disabled men online.
She promised them love but gave them a grave.

Hardcover: 228 pages
Published: June 1, 2008
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979751330
ISBN-13: 978-0979751332
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Visit the Midnight Hours website to find out more about this thrilling book. But first, check out the trailer I created for Midnight Hours (best viewed at full screen - transcript below trailer)...

Midnight brings death on the internet. Preying on disabled men, she offers love but gives them a grave. One determined man stands in her way. Only one can win.

Lt. Martin Rogers and friends set up a sting to capture Midnight, but she disappears like wisps of fog. Every lead results in a dead end and more confusion.

Martin must find this killer before she can add him to her list of victims

The next thing about me/my work...

1st 2 books in the Being Jacob series -- 4RV Publishing

Being Jacob: A Day at the Zoo, by Suzy Koch, the second Early Reader in the Being Jacob series (also published by 4RV Publishing), is one of my favorites. When I created Jacob, for the first book, First Day of School, I did have pictures of the real life Jacob (Suzy's son), to guide me. I had no idea what Mom (the author), looked like until later, when it came time to do the layout and bio for the first book. Turns out, my book 'Mom', looks eerily like Suzy. Kinda cool. Here are both covers, even though book two is my favorite, so far, due to all the animals (super fun with every one of them).

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 24 pages
Published: May 28, 2010
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0982588659
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 ounces

Check out A Day at the Zoo's trailer (best viewed at full screen - transcript below trailer):

An Early Reader, perfect for ages 4-8, 24 color pages.

Spend the day with Jacob and his mom at the zoo. A new adventure for Jacob!

"Mom, I want a  giraffe at our house."

"Mom, Mom, look. That Zebra has the same stripes that the other one does."

The cub looked at the window as Jacob approached and yawned.

“Mom, is that big, silver guy the dad? And where is the mom? That’s like our family."

“Wild Dogs,” Mom replied. "Jacob, these animals are different types of wild dogs."

Can you see I had a lot of fun with this one?

So as not to create burn out ... lol. I'll cover two more books/things about me, next post.

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I am a Featured Artist in the SCBWI Midsouth's Spring 2011 issue of BorderLines!!!

SCBWI-Midsouth logo was created
by my fellow member, Susan Eaddy

   BorderLines is the quarterly newsletter for the entire SCBWI's Midsouth region. A few months back, I submitted some samples of my work, having read on our yahoo group, that submissions were wanted for the next bulletin.

I was so pleased, when the response to my submission was welcomed so warmly. I was asked to submit more info on a few of the pieces, when I had time. Wouldn't you know it, I lost the email, along with the person's name, therefore, not being able to reply to the request for details. I then of course got caught up in work, and time to find out who I needed to contact, got away from me.

Then today, I am lurking on the listserve, and I see where the new bulletin is out, and that it's as awesome as ever, that all of the featured artists' illustrations looked so great (and of course, the writing was awesome, too). So, out of pure curiosity, to see what everyone was raving about, I downloaded a copy of BorderLines. And there, my 'Mother of the Frontier' piece, my representation of Sacajawea, from State of Wilderness by Elysabeth Eldering, was on page two. And my Learned Leopard was on page 12 (which is the prototype character for another book in the works, by Vivian Zabel). It was HUGE, it took up the entire width of the page. I was so surprised and tickled (and very honored).

You guys really should check out this BorderLines, whether you're from the SCBWI Midsouth chapter, or not. Wisdom is wisdom, and inspiration is inspiration, no matter where you happen to live.

Plus, now, I know who to reach about submitting my info for September's issue (hopefully) ... , lol.

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vote for 'Shifty Characters'!

   Shifty Characters, a picture book I illustrated and designed, by Shirley Francis-Salley (& Clay Jars Publishing), has been nominated for the Small Christian Small Publishers Book Award

 For this book, I created a series logo (the kids at the top), a custom alphabet font (free download with purchase of the book details on the website, so kids can type whatever they like using 'shifty characters',) and of course, I illustrated the text. Check out a few of the illos you'll see inside, and the first spead:

The first two page spread from Shifty Characters. APE shifts into PEA

HORSE shifts into SHORE

POOL shifts into LOOP
SOLE shifts into LOSE

CHEAP shifts into PEACH

And many, many more. Read more about Shifty Characters, and the author, on the book's website. Grab some coloring pages, too.

The voting is still open (up until the end of this month). Vote for it at www.christianpublishers.net.

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven
If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

4RV's Reading, Writing & Art News blog , keeping me updated...

Wow. I've been reminded, by 4RV's Reading, Writing, & Art News blog, that there are books I really should introduce (or re-introduce, if you followed my old blog). Vivian did the whole slew at once. I'll just feature one per post. 

Today's spotlight will be on Stolen, by Vivian Gilbert Zabel.The trailer I created says it all:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The design is a Catastrophe! ... Carla's Cloud Catastrophe, that is.

   Sometimes, people forget that I am a designer, as well as an illustrator. Believe it or not, that makes me an odd animal, though for the life of me, I don't know why more illustrators are not also designers (especially since many more designers also illustrate -- they can see that their earning potential doubles if you are proficient in both).

During the recent promo at 4RV Publishing, among my many duties as Art Director and VP of Operations, I did the cover design and interior layout for Carla's Cloud Catastrophe by Beth Bence Reinke (Ginger Nielson did the cover art and illustrations -- an amazing artist -- both in skill and pleasure of working with), for both the ARC as well as the final release version. Above, you see what will be the final cover. Below, you see the ARCs cover wrap (see the difference?).

This is the first ARC 4RV has done for a picture book. Most times we do them for MG, YA, Novel, or Non Fiction. This was the first PB, and hopefully not the last. Check out the blurb/trailer:


Picture Book
ISBN: 978-0-9828346-0-2
Available May of 2011 (ARCs available now, for book reviewers) 
4RV Publishing

Beth is just as sweet as can be. None of that uppity author attitude ... lol, even though she is an accomplished author. Plus, this is the cutest story. Beth's website is here.

Ginger is a total charm to work with too, and she has madd skills. I had fun making the title look like clouds, to compliment her charming cover art. I love her use of perspective. To check out more of Ginger's work, visit here.

contact Beth Bence Reinke or 4RV Publishing to request an ARC (reviewers only).

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

'Walking Through Walls' is a work in progress.

   Being a new contributor for the SCBWI Midsouth Illustrator Blog, as of today, I wanted to share my current WIP, Walking Through Walls, by Karen Cioffi (releasing May 2011 from 4RV Publishing), on both this one, and that one. I cordially invite you to discover that blog, too ... get to know some of the SCBWI Midsouth illustrators, a bit.

Walking Through Walls is an MG (middle grade), novel re-imagining an old Chinese folk tale. There are ten chapters, and I have finished  seven, so far (one illo for each chapter). Here, I share two completed illos (chapter one and chapter five), and the last illo, a rough from chapter nine. As a matter of fact, I had hoped on finishing these up prior to the release of the ARCs, but I just couldn't work that fast (only had a month to do the design layout, the research on Chinese period clothing and harvesting tools, the sketches, and completed illustrations). So the reviewers will see seven completed illos, and three roughs. Oh well. It's an ARC, so it's acceptable.

The cover art was created utilizing Daz3D software and Photoshop. The illustrations are done by hand with standard Sharpie markers, with various tip sizes. I tend to gravitate toward high contrast looks, but in this instance, I am paying homage to the ancient oriental paintings. The ones done in black ink ,with nothing more than a stiff brush. The style is mine, and more modern, but I wanted the feel of black on black, like those.

Cover blurb:
Wang longs to be rich…and powerful. At twelve-years-old, he already knows more about the Eternals and their way of life than many of the adults in his village. Learning about these mystics takes his thoughts away from the possibility of working in the wheat fields all his life, like his father.

Wang has far grander goals.

ISBN: 978-0-9826594-7-2
Available June of 2011 (ARCs available now, for book reviewers - contact author or publisher for more info)
Karen Cioffi's website.

Now, let's look at the illos...

In chapter 1, we see Wang working hard in the wheat fields, in the hot sun, with his father, loading bundles in a wagon.
In chapter 5, Wang comes face to face with the Master Eternal and two student mystics, after a long, arduous journey.
In chapter 9, Wang is scheming how to use the magic the Master taught him, to steal from a rich merchants house.
As you can tell, compared to the two finished pieces at the top, I have a bit of refining to do on the chapter 9 illo. Plus, there are two more 'roughs' on my drawing table that need finished, as well. This one will be time consuming because of all the detailing that needs added in the wall and doors, and the tree leaves. But that's okay, I have a perverse attraction to intricate patterns ... lol.

I welcome any and all constructive comments.

 Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another ARC, just in Time ... 'Time Pullers', that is.

   One of the projects I worked on for the recent 4RV Publishing promotion, you science fiction readers will be interested in. It's titled Time Pullers, by Horton Deakins. My job on this one was cover design and ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) layout.

For the cover art, we (the author, publisher, and I), decided to go with some cool stock imagery, that I tweaked just a bit in PS. Below, I'll show you the full ARC cover wrap. The challenging part was finding the perfect imagery. The real fun part was playing with the type, so that it would pop. I went with a 'chrome' type style. I felt the contrasting color really pulled it together, and followed the story line. Check out the blurb:

Time Pullers may forever change the way people think about UFOs, but here, readers will find no reference to alien craft of any kind.

What do Napoleon Bonaparte, an Osage Indian dancing and singing to the stars on a lonely hill on a dark night, and a semi-trailer truck trying to run a gate on a US Air Force Base have in common? Only Time Pullers will tell.

Science Fiction Novel
ISBN: 978-0-9826594-1-0
Available May of 2011 (ARCs available now, for book reviewers) 
Visit Horton's site here
 4RV Publishing
contact Horton Deakins or 4RV Publishing to request an ARC (reviewers only).

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe, using the form below.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting back into the groove of things...

   Over the last few weeks, I have been working my butt off trying to meet a printer-promotion deadline for one of my publishers, 4RV Publishing. We prepped seven books in six weeks time, three of which were actually my own illustration/design work, while the others belonged to other 4RV staff members, on my team (I happen to be the Art Director and VP of Operations -- so my hands were on everything, really).

   This may not seem like a lot to the big boys out there, but for us, it's huge. Almost as bad as the holiday rush in August (for September releases, since most book stores don't bother buying books for the holidays after October 1st). Over the next several posts, I'll introduce each of them to you.

Today, lets talk about Aldric & Anneliese by Harry Gilleland. I received my artist's copy in the mail, the other day (amazingly undamaged -- why my mail carrier insists in shoving my book packages and envelopes into my mailbox, regardless of bold red marker spattered all across it screaming 'Do Not Bend', I'll never know). I must say, I am proud of how this one looks (I know, I'm always proud to see my work on/in a book ... ;P).

The 'parchment' ground was found on one of my stock photo sites. I created the crest for the cover in Daz 3D, then did some fancy postwork in Photoshop. As a matter of fact, I don't think I ever leave anything 'as is'. Even drawings are refined in PS.

I may have to do a separate post showing how I came up with this cover, later. I am pretty proud of it. And it looks awesome in physical form. Check out the blurb and following review:

Aldric & Anneliese is a tale of nation building, kings, knights, fair ladies, battles won and lost, triumph, betrayal, tragedy, revenge, redemption, and great loves. 
Harry E. Gilleland, Jr. has a great ear for historical fiction, and has created a rousing romp in a fictitious but realistic country in 6th century Eastern Europe. The palace intrigue and the romantic entanglements lead us on a merry chase through an age of chivalry and treason, loyalty and betrayal. The twists and turns are sometimes surprising, but always fun to follow.

This novel's title is intriguing, as we do not even meet Anneliese until page 69, but the story of Aldric's love for her is the driving force behind much of the novel. While this is a love story, it is not a traditional romance. That is not to say anything bad about the book, but fair warning to those in search of a happily-ever-after story.

Aldric and Anneliese is a short novel at 178 pages, but very satisfying. I liked it, and would recommend it to fans of medieval intrigue and chivalry. 

~Benjamin L. Langhinrichs (Cleveland, OH USA)

Historic Romance/Adventure
ISBN: 978-0982659403
Available Now.
4RV Publishing
Visit Harry's blog here:  

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe using the form below.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why the new blog home?

illo from Being Jacob: a Day at the Zoo (see cover wrap & order link below).
   I have moved back to blogger for a couple of reasons. Initially, I started considering it because spammers had found my website's blog, and I was get getting dozens of unrelated comments on posts, everyday. Ultimately, it was due to inaccessibility to the Weebly site editor.

A few months back, I was forced to downgrade to a dial-up Internet connection. Other than being slower than molasses, certain sites and functions just are not available to me, like streaming video, for example.

And as it happens, I can't update my web-gallery, either. As far as updating the gallery page itself, I can easily go to the library every so often, and update any recent cover art/designs, or illustrations. It's the day to day marketing and promoting of my work (and the work of the wonderful authors/publishers I work with), the tutorials and critiques, and the much needed, interactive feedback on newly finished works and works in progress.

So, here I go creating a new blog to link to Facebook's NetworkedBlogs, Jacketflap, and a blog to send my Twitter followers to.

Hope you make yourself just at home here, as you did on my home blog.

Until next time...

Aidana WillowRaven

If you like my blog, don't forget to email-subscribe using the form below. 

follow link to order Being Jacob: A Day at the Zoo at a discount!