I… have not made a mistake, and yet

subhead: One way the sausage is made, if you can’t draw but need to hire someone who can

Now that book 4 of Therapist is almost ready, I turned toward preparing the omnibus edition. This will consist of all 4 novellas in the series, packaged together for print and possibly ebook.

I’ve really liked the individual novella covers I’ve commissioned so far, but a wraparound cover for a paperback is an entirely different kettle of fish. I knew I’d have to start fresh, because as far as I can tell, the cover artist for 1/2/4 isn’t doing complicated-background stuff right now. (Hey, I could be wrong!)

Anyway, I laid out the combo package for print (which is just a long, tedious, but IMO satisfying process in Word) and got the template for the cover from Amazon. This is a layout graphic based on the size of the finished paperback, not only the trim size (trade paperback, etc.) but the width of the spine, which is dependent on the number of pages. So. I added this to the reference document I’d put together, which is a description of the kind of vibe and scene I’m looking for, the art I already have of the character who appears on this cover as well, and examples of similar art that I’ve found out there online. [I always dreaded this process because I thought I had to have preexisting art of the characters, but so far the ref docs I’ve assembled seem to have worked for the artists I’ve commissioned, even when I didn’t have preexisting art. So I think it’s working??]

I posted on r/artcommissions last night, which is a lively community at the slowest of times. I woke up to 56 comments and 7 direct messages from artists, and I think some more came in today. Now, I’m sure some people throw their hat in the ring whenever they can even if their style isn’t what was asked for, and I kind of don’t fault them for that. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and all of that. Plus, I posted a budget that I honestly think is commensurate with the scope of the project, and not lowballing probably helps my chances.

But um. I am currently eyeball-deep in fantastic art portfolios. I wish I could hire them all. Honestly, though, I am going to bookmark every single one and keep them in mind for future projects. Y’ALL ARE SO TALENTED, I CANNOT HANDLE IT.

My old sneaking impulse to commission some more Healers art is bouncing around my brain, too — not for covers, just to frame and hang in my house. I commissioned a piece years and years ago when I was tabling at anime conventions, but so far that’s the only Healers visual media that exists besides the amigurumi I made (because I’m a sentimental dork). The space right over my writing desk is all vaporwave-ish space stuff currently (the vertical poster here and this Lego set), but we are assembling a fantasy-nerd gaming room, so y’know. It could also go there.

Anyhow, I’ve got some art to look at, woo hoo.

Edit to add: Watchlist-wise, we finished Bocchi the Rock! — recommend, alarmingly relatable — and I just watched the first episode of Land of the Lustrous. Boy, this series is pretty. Also, let’s note that I have rambled here before about wanting to write about a character that everyone inherently/instinctively dislikes, even though they haven’t done anything particularly wrong; they just have something naturally repellent about them. I’m like this IRL, but so rarely see this type in fiction (people are just as repelled from fictional characters like this, I guess). It’s a very lonely feeling. (The What We Do in the Shadows TV series has one, but he thrives on others’ discomfort. While this is funny, I do not thrive on being this way IRL. It really, really sucks.)

Enter Cinnabar from LotL, an alien who uncontrollably exudes literal poison (mercury, to be exact) and is exiled from the rest of their species because of it. Hi, Cinnabar. I don’t think this will end well for you, but I’m paying attention.