My first foray into creating illustrations came from creating a trailer for Silent Wave. The process is painstaking. Photo realistic images that are believable are a challenge to produce. Creating scenes that have to be composited because only elements exist can take hours, even if you have all the elements. People are a problem since the people you might envision might be described to look similar to a given actress or actor, and you can’t just grab their image off the internet without permission, and you can’t just get permission because you want it.
With my advancing Photoshop skills I most often create my people. Even in compositing you have to be careful. Most copyrighted material says you cannot even use elements of the image, so I try and avoid using any images that are clearly copyrighted. Finding images for clothes and bodies usually isn’t too much of a problem. Creating faces that look like a person you may have described in your text is a little more daunting. The process usually involves some hairdo, general face shape, and then adding eyes from one person, nose from another, and a mouth from a smile for a bright teeth commercial. Mostly I do girls, and I think I’ve created some real beauties.
Mandy from The Future Teller and The Future Shaper is perhaps the most detailed. Hopefully no one will ever come along and say that’s me, because if the girl really does exist, I’d love to meet her. I’d happily seek a model release, and yes, I do photograph models with the Fort Collins Digital Camera Club where I do obtain model releases. I don’t typically tell the models that I’ll just be using their nose.
The slideshow on the home page are selected illustrations from Silent Trek. As you will note there are 50 plus. 51 to be exact, and I’ve just used 15 for the slideshow. I probably have 10 hours invested in each illustration. 510 hours in Photoshop is just a fraction of the time I’ve spent there. Somehow it never gets boring.
Some authors don’t care or would rather the reader just imagine some scene with some people that are vaguely or meticulously described in words. Few novels get illustrated because few authors are going to spend the time or the money to give their readers that added bonus. I can only hope that my readers appreciate what it takes to give them a glimpse into the visions I concoct first in my mind, then in words, and finally in photo realistic illustrations.