I’m too cheap sometimes to invest even in my own career, especially when it’s for something I believe I can do myself. Now sometimes you have to go to a pro, and sometimes you don’t. I suppose you have to trust your own instincts or trust that your friends will tell you when that is the case. So far no one has said to me, “Cat, you ever think of hiring a cover artist?” so I’m going to make the assumption I’m doing at least okay on my own. The tool I use to create banners out of the bookcovers done for me by the talented cover artists paid by my publishers, as well as the actual covers I create myself for my self-pubbed titles is Photoshop. Here are 2 banners I created from my Samhain bookcovers.

I will be totally honest, when I first purchased Photoshop it was an exercise in frustration. I was totally lost. Even now I know the program is capable of doing so much more and I am barely scratching the service with my incredibly basic, novice skills. What I do know how to do I learned thanks to an old video author Mandy Roth made which walks the viewer through how to use Photoshop to make banner ads. A huge thanks to Mandy because through her I learned how to use so many of the valuable tools in Photoshop, including the blur button and the eraser.

Crossing the Line by Cat JohnsonI still wander around lost in the Photoshop program, but with it I have managed to create things I’m proud of. My favorite cover is for Crossing the Line. I used 2 separate images I purchased at a stockart site. The “ship” photo and the “couple” photo. With enough fading, blending, erasing and blurring, and thanks to the similar color stories of the 2 separate photos, it came together into one cohesive image.

In Photoshop, I’ve also done designs for Romance Trading Cards to order direct from the printer. That saved me a bunch of money. I’ve done designs for other promo as well, including banners, notepads, bumper stickers and buttons. The program has paid for itself many times over and it gives me the freedom to be a control freak and handle things myself.

5 responses to “TOOLS OF MY TRADE: #5 PHOTOSHOP

    • I actually have a bookmark with my Cat Logo on it I made up years ago (before the cowboys). But bookmarks are one of those promo items that authors debate all the time. My experience has been that anything paper like that gets thrown in the trash. Of course, I’m an author and I come home from the many conventions I attend a year so loaded down my house would explode if I didn’t pick and choose what to keep. Perhaps readers are different. I know some collect them. There’s also the reality that I sell probably 75% of my volume in eBook and only 25% in print because I only have a few paperbacks out right now. (That’s just a guess off the top of my head). So my readers are really more eReader people, which is why they like my stickers for their eReaders rather than a bookmark.

      Thanks for stopping by, Krissy!

  1. Awesome covers Cat! I love it! I think they are beautiful, and they grabbed my attention, and I know that others will like them too. Your good at it! Looks professional to me. Looks wonderful to me…*S*


  2. I truely bow down to you Cat, I have photoshop and am afraid to even open it after the first time I did it. I’m also a visual learner so it’s better for me if I have hands on teaching.