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  • Writer's pictureVivi Anne Hunt

Kai and Silas Character Art: Behind the Scenes and Book Swag

Hi precious peeps.

I wanted to show you how much fun I had commissioning character art for my first book - Kai's Healing Smiles, which is being published on September 13. Yayyy.

Okay, so focus on the art...

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 openly looking for work and their pricing and examples of their work. I immediately noticed @Ruart17 - the artist I ended up hiring to do the character art for my book - and I hired her on the spot.

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 Kai and Silas, the main characters, as I wanted a portrait of them together, and she asked about a pose that she could work with. As you can see, I found a ton of pictures of men and women - there were no gay couples in that pose so I had to improvise - where the woman (in this case the smaller individual) is hugging the man (the bigger individual).

I decided that this pose was perfect for Kai and Silas because while Silas is all gloomy and still grieving the loss of his wife, Kai is open and happy and slowly healing Silas with his smiles. I just wanted to show their dynamic on the portrait, and I think we succeeded!

Info about the characters:

The pose I liked:

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 do what's easiest for you.

3. The first iterations.

I couldn't decide exactly which pose I wanted for Kai and Silas, so Ruart offered to do 2 iterations - which was SO helpful - so I could choose which one I like best. As you can see below, I chose the second variation, and I am so happy I did.

(Not that the other one isn't great too!)

4. Adding color.

After she was done with the doodling and I approved the design - I could have asked for changes, but honestly, she just made the perfect, so there was no need - the next step was to add colors and a background. She asked me about the general setting of the portrait - which could have been Starbucks, but I didn't want it to be too busy - and she asked about the coloring, which I provided, and after that, she sent me this beauty:

5. The final result.

Finally, Ruart added the simple background and the light which I always imagine around Kai, as he is healing Silas' heart. I also asked for a couple of tiny changes, but overall, when I saw the final product - I remember, I was at the beach - I couldn't help but SQUEAL.

Somehow this stranger, this beautiful talented person, knew exactly what they looked like!

Kai's Healing Smiles character art behind the scenes MM romance book

6. Ordering swag!

When I saw how beautiful the character art was, I went a little crazy and ordered a bunch of book swag I could then send people who win my giveaway.

I came up with: big postcard, business cards, big and small stickers, a bookmark, and pins (the pins have not arrived yet, but I'll add them to the swag packets when they do).

If you want to watch me unboxing the swag and gushing, watch this video.

If you want to WIN a signed copy of my book + the swag, just enter the giveaway.

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 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 Kai and Silas?

If you want to read the book, you can order it on Amazon (there's ebook & paperback), you can also see what readers are saying on Goodreads, and if you're not ready yet, you can read Chapter One on this blog and see if you like my writing style and the characters.

Thanks for reading. See ya later. :)

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