Today is ultra-special because I’m able to introduce you all to the über talented Renu Sharma, digital artist extraordinaire. As with all of recommendations, Renu is someone I worked with on THE MILESTONE TAPES revised cover. She and I worked through e-mails to capture the vibe and essence of my book–which she nailed with limited instruction and her unmatched skill. She has a way with pictures–the ability to capture the light and dark of an image and bring it to life. She has a true gift.
She was so good, I couldn’t keep her to myself…
Tell us about you (where you live, what your interests are, do you have hobbies…etc…):
I was born and raised in Noida, India. Being a part of the NCR(National Capital Region) the proximity to cultural and artistic events is a blessing. After art, my second love would be music, especially rock and metal music from bands like Tool, A Perfect Circle and so on. Love watching movies, favorite genres would be fantasy, comedy and drama; but any genre would do till the time it is nicely made.
What made you interested in doing book covers:
Ever since I began to create art, I’ve always been more interested in the creating part than trying to sell it off. I sold my first book cover about a year back. Recently, another writer stumbled upon my work and contacted me. She turned out to be an angel and told me about kindleboardsforum and insisted that I could do really great as a book cover artist, so here I am!
Have you ever done any book covers for publishing houses, or do you work strictly with Indie Authors? What other mediums for your art (print, magazines, etc…)
So far, I have only worked with Indie authors but am open to working with publishing houses as well. As a graphic designer, I’ve designed websites, brochures, ads, social media pages and so on .And, if I ever get around to it I’d love to work for musicians as well for album art and such someday.
Your art is amazing! Can you explain the process to us?
I do both traditional drawings on paper and digital artwork. Some of the digital art is painted with a pen tablet from scratch till finish, while most of the recent work including all the book covers is through photo manipulation. When creating an artwork that is not commissioned, I look around stock pictures to see something that inspires me, and then work on them on photoshop, also taking the aid of a pen tablet to create the artwork that you see in my gallery.
What is the length of time from raw photograph to finished piece?
That mainly depends on the detailing involved in the artwork but it usually do it in about 5-7 hours.
How many covers have you done?
So far, I have sold 8 covers including 2 commissions.
Do you do this work full-time or do you have another job?
After realising this is what I want to do, I do this full-time now.
Is there a wait list?
None as of yet.
You have a portfolio of work that doesn’t have an Author behind it, which is where I purchased my cover image….can you explain how that works? What is the pricing of those almost-finished pieces?
Apart from the pieces on sale which are for $120.00, the prices vary from $250.00 to $550.00 depending on the amount of time an artwork has consumed.
What does that price include? (amount of revisions, font, alterations to the image–if any)
The price includes the artwork at the highest resolution available, a component for doing the fonts and resizing of the work if required in 2-3 different dimensions. I don’t mind doing minor alterations and revisions for up to 2-3 times because I want the client to be happy about it.
You also do commissioned work–which is totally custom–once an Author commissions you, generally speaking, how long does it take to receive the finished proof?
So far In case of the commissions I have already done, after the initial payment has been made and both the author and I have agreed upon the stock images to be used, I request for a time-frame of bout a week, and have always been able to deliver within it .
What is the price of something like that? (please be totally descriptive)
The price of the completed artwork is based on the number of stock images used, the amount of overpainting it is going to take to get the desired effect, the kind of fonts to be used and how much of styling they need. The price ranges from $250.00 to $550.00 again.
What does that price include? (amount of revisions, font, alterations to the image, brainstorming sessions?)
That price includes everything that a pre-made artwork includes. In addition to that, it includes finding and selecting just the pictures that fit the author’s description of the character to be on the cover. I also ask for an overview of the story and character description so I can come up with ideas of my own to suggest to the author for the cover. After the idea gets a go ahead, I start working on it.
Sometimes you run specials….how often do you do that and what is a “normal” special for you?
The specials running right now are the ones I did quite a while ago, more like practice artworks So I don’t mind selling them for a lesser price because they aren’t as detailed and time-consuming as are the more recent ones. I will certainly run specials in future as well for artworks which are ‘quickies’ but still turn out to be good enough.
Have you ever worked with an Author that was simply impossibly (no names)? What do you do when you come across conflicting ideas?
Luckily, all the authors I have worked with so far have been really nice and very co-operative to work with like yourself.
I’ve read your contract, but for those who haven’t, can you explain what you ask of an Author before starting their cover?
In case of a commission, I ask for at least 50% of the payment upfront so I can start working on the artwork. Once it is complete and we’re both happy with it, I send a signed agreement to the author and ask for a signed and scanned copy back. The agreement includes the rights to use the artwork for all kinds of promotion related to that particular book. It also is exclusively sold to that author so I cannot sell it to anybody else for commercial purpose. For right now, my art is royalty free to be used. In case of pre-made artworks, first and foremost we go with the agreement. Once done with that, follows the payment from the client’s part and the completed book cover from my end.
What is your favorite genre to work with? Do you have a preference?
I’d have to say that I love fantasy, dark themed work will come a close second, all in all any art that includes people . These would be my preferences but I do not mind taking other kinds of works either like dragons, zombies, landscapes etc.
What are some of the high challenges that come with working with clients over the internet as opposed to face to face or via phone?
The biggest challenge is to not be able to get a prompt response from the client sometimes. It takes a few days at times to get simplest of things further.
Closing remarks…anything you want to just say or tell us….now’s the time!!
I just want to say that it is really amazing to be able to collaborate with other artists (writers) to bring the magic of imagination to the world. I hope my art on your cover grabs a lot more of people’s attention so you have a lot many readers. I am really looking forward to doing a lot of book covers! Art is the best thing to ever have happened to me. My all time favorite quote which goes to all the artists and writers:
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. – Twyla Tharp.
Thank you for doing this interview Ashley, cheers!
(You can reach Renu Sharma at email@example.com or view her work portfolio and images for sale on her Facebook page :))
I feel this is the perfect opportunity to show you what Renu can do. I’m officially releasing the rekindled cover THE MILESTONE TAPES.
THE MILESTONE TAPES is written in a series of months rather than chapters, giving the reader the sensation of time and what the passing of it means. The season of fall plays a key role in the story. As we all know, when autumn comes the leaves fall, the nights get longer, the air grows a little colder and life changes. For both Mia and Jenna, fall means the end of life as they know it and the beginning of a new reality. With Renu’s image and skill, she was able to bring that to life for me–and hopefully–for my readers as well.
Artist Credit: Renu Sharma