Vivi Anne Hunt
Character Art for To Trust and To Touch: (Behind the Scenes and Book Swag)
Hi precious peeps.
I wanted to show you how much fun I had commissioning character art for my second book - To Trust and To Touch, which is being published on December 13. Yayyy.
The same artist also made the character art for my first book, Kai's Healing Smiles, and you can see the process and the result in this article.
Okay, so focus let's do this...
1. Finding the artist.
I don't know how other people find their artists, but I did it on twitter. There's a #commissionsopen hashtag where you can see who's looking for work, and then you can check out their profile, see examples of their art, pricing, etc. I noticed @Ruart17 a few months back, and I hired her to do character art illustrations for 2 of my books.
2. Sending details.
I don't know how all the artists work, but this is how Ruart and I did it.
First she asked me for all the info and visual information for Alex, the main character, and she asked about a pose that she could work with. This was harder for me to put together for some reason, so we ended up going back and forth a lot. Totally my fault.
Obviously, you can do this on Pinterest, but I just grabbed a bunch of images from depositphotos - since I use it for covers - and plopped them on a canvas in Photoshop. That was the easiest for me, but you can use Canva if that's easier for you.
3. The first iterations.
We already had the pose - Alex leaning against the wall (in front of the club), and all those hands reaching out to grope him (*shudders*), so Ruart did a quick sketch and sent it to me, to see if I wanted any adjustments. I wanted his hair changed and his shoes different. Also, I wanted the vine tattoos to be spikier, like barbed wire.
(He's wrapped in these tattoos because he doesn't want anyone to touch him.)
4. Fixing Alex.
The more I looked at Alex, the more I realized - this is just not him. He has muscles, but he's wiry, skinny, unhealthy. Hunched shoulders, like the world weighs on him. He doesn't look like a bulky, healthy person, but the opposite.
So I had to ask her to go back to the drawing board and fix him, and she was super gracious and did it without complaining. For an extra fee, of course. :)
You can see below how much more accurate the illustration became when she removed some of the mass. She also elongated the torso later. That was done really quickly, and I was super happy with the quick turnaround.
5. Adding color.
After she was done with the doodling and I approved the design, the next step was to add color. I did mention that there could be dim red lighting from a lamp, but what she came up with was too red, so I just asked her to tone it down, and she did.
Overall, this illustration took longer than the first one - for my previous book - but I am just as happy with it, and the process was great, as always.
I think I was less clear with this one, which meant that the illustrator didn't understand what I wanted. When you work with someone, make sure you communicate clearly and in detail.
In my case, I just didn't see it clearly in my head, which is why I fumbled a bit.
But we still figured it out!
I am so grateful to Ruart for her endless patience with me. She's a star. :)
5. The final result.
Finally, Ruart fixed the coloring and some tiny details I needed changed, and we were finally done with the illustration of Alex.
This is Alex.
He works at a sex club and curses like a sailor. He's a bad boy with an attitude. Basically, a brat.
Just don't touch him.
6. The swag and the giveaway.
When I got the illustration, I was ready to order a bunch of swag as well - cards, stickers, pins, bookmarks, etc. I added an additional design too, based on the cover.
To celebrate the book launch, I am throwing a giveaway, where 1 person can win a signed copy of my book + all that swag.
If you like the designs, join the giveaway, it's international!!!
7. Thank you!
I want to thank the amazing Ruart for drawing this beautiful illustration!
You can find her on twitter, Instagram, and ko-fi.
I also want to thank MOO for helping me design my swag and being very timely with their deliveries. The resulting swag was beautiful and professional.
And that's it! So, do you like Alex? :)
You can watch, but you can’t touch.
Alex performs at the infamous adult club, Kink World. He’s only in it for the money, and he has one rule: no touching. He doesn’t trust anybody that much. However, a chance encounter with a man who is the very epitome of the word safe may change all that. A man who runs a charity for abandoned queer kids, who has a five-year-old daughter, and who is unlike anyone Alex has ever met.
After years of focusing on raising his daughter and running his charity, Sigh’s status quo is shaken up when he meets a man covered in vine tattoos outside his brother's club. The young man stirs a longing he has ignored for far too long. However, he seems unwilling to let anybody in, so Sigh faces an insurmountable challenge to overcome these barriers and find some way to connect.
Will Alex ever let someone touch him? Will Sigh find somebody to fill the emptiness? Will the men find a way to heal together?
CW: SA, PTSD, unaliving, drug abuse, mature language, content, and violence