Darlene here. Woo-hoo! It's new release weekend! Today, I'd like to introduce you to the talented designer behind the cover of my new contemporary romance, "Something Good." Please welcome Marisa Shor of Cover Me, Darling!
When you get to the end, leave a comment here or at my Facebook author page for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Thanks for stopping by!
Tell us a little about your journey to becoming an artist/designer/photographer. Did you always know that’s what you wanted to do?
Oooh this may be a long answer (sorry!) It was pretty much known from elementary school that I was on my way to an art field. I also come from a long line of artists on my mom’s side of the family. My grandfather is an AMAZING photographer, and can draw a portrait, in only pencil, that looks like a black and white photo. My Mother works mainly in pastels, pencils, and water color, and was the head of the art department in my home-town. So with knowing that I was going down the art path, I actually had to transfer schools after 5th grade in order to NOT have my Mom as a teacher (she taught Junior High and Senior High Art History, Drawing and Painting, and various other classes). One Uncle has been a graphic artist since before computers existed; another Uncle is an amazing musician, my great grandma was a crazy crochet artist, and worked with cloth works. See? LONG line. I’ve always been into photography, and as soon as I had my first computer, Photoshop was installed. After my first year of college as a photo major, I decided to double major in photography and graphic design. I came out with a Bachelor in both fields.
How did you get into the book cover business? Do you do other design work also?
I’ve met a lot of amazing authors through my blog, I’ll Be Reading. A few of them knew that I was a graphic designer by day, and asked why I wasn’t designing book covers. So I started asking myself the same thing, haha. Cover Me, Darling was born, and I have loved every second since! I am a full time freelance graphic artist and photographer. I was in the 9-5 world of graphic design for years, and after 4 years with the last company I worked for, the art department was cut, and I was laid off. It was THE best thing to ever happen to me. I went out on my own, and haven’t looked back.
Do you have a favorite design style or technique? What do you enjoy most?
PHOTOGRAPHY! PHOTOGRAPHY! PHOTOGRAPHY! It’s my passion. I adore my models. And I love how I can break all the photography rules with cover photos. I mostly photograph people, from newborns to weddings, and each picture has to be “right” in those fields. The lighting needs to be right, the composure needs to be right, all the general photography rules. But shooting photos for covers? I get to break those rules. I get to be creative, toy with lighting, mess with color, shoot with motion. Love it!
Where do you get inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes on the spot. During photo sessions, I’m known for asking a model to bring specific clothes, and then keeping them in whatever outfit they show up in, because I liked the shirt color, or I liked a necklace. I try to scout new locations for each session, because I know the scenery will be different, and it will give me a certain type of feel that I want to mirror. During design work, I get a feel from an emotion of the image, or a certain color, and then base it around that. Most of my premades were made from playing with a picture in photoshop, clicking the wrong button by accident, falling in love with the color it just created, and taking it from there. Refer to my “Paper Dolls” template, and my “Elixir” template. They were both images that I KNEW I wanted to use on premade designs, but I didn’t know how, until I just kept messing around with editing until I went “THAT’S IT!”
You recently renovated your office. Tell us about your work space.
I have a pretty awesome view of my front yard, haha! My office, is a home office, and it has my desk with my iMac G5 (aka, where the magic happens! lol), a futon, a chair, and bars for my backdrops. It works as my photo studio, art studio, and design space. The walls are lined with books. I always have music playing! Usually an alternative iHeart Radio station during photo sessions, and Yellowcard and Mae while I design covers!
When are you the most productive? Have you ever got out of bed at night to try out an idea?
Definitely after 8pm. It’s MY time. The little man has just gone to bed, and the husband is in the shop catching up on his own work (he owns his own company as well). So I would say between 8pm and 2am are when I get the most work done. I have DEFINITELY gotten out of bed at night to try something new. Actually, just last night I did that.. haha.
What’s your favorite program to work in? Have you gone totally digital, or do you still occasionally like to use pen/paint/paper/etc?
When I was in college, I loved Adobe Photoshop and hated Adobe Illustrator. Then when I was out of college, I was forced to work in Illustrator for my first design job. I ended up loving Illustrator. Now I work in a combination of both. I still love to draw and paint. For drawing, I mostly stick to pencil.
What would you say is your specialty or strength?
Definitely photography. It’s what I’m most comfortable doing, and what I’m the most confident with. OH! And juggling our 4 year old, 2 crazy dogs, work, marriage and the house? I’m an AWESOME multi-tasker J
For some people, a creative outlet is a hobby. Since it’s your work, what do you do for fun? Do you have a hobby?
This IS my outlet! Seriously. If I’m having a bad day, or if I just need to get away for a little bit, my camera is right next to me. The whole reason for the double major in college, was because I knew if I was forced into working with photography every day as a “job”, I wouldn’t be as passionate about it. So I figured I would learn all that I could about photography, and design, and then work in the graphic design field, but keep taking photos. Cover design takes the aspects I love from BOTH fields, and combines them. The normal every day design that I freelance, can get repetitive.. size this logo, create this business card, type and lay out this brochure (sigh). But what I’m doing on covers, is what I was always doing when I needed a break.. getting creative. But, if I’m not glued to my computer, or have my hand on my camera, I’m spending time with my family. My family is my world. Oh.. and the beach. The beach is my sanity. I grew up on Long Island, 5 minutes away from the water. Now I live in NC, and the beach is a good few hours away, but the second my feet hit the sand, I am instantly relaxed.
We often hear about writer’s block. What about artist’s block? Does it strike? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh yes, absolutely. Fonts kill me, sometimes. It’s like I know what I want it to look like, and I just can’t get it right. So I have to step back, take a break, eat some chocolate and go back to it. If I still can’t get it to work how I want it to, then I leave it overnight, and go back to it after I get some sleep.
What’s your favorite color? And what’s the most fun thing you’ve done with that color?
Pink and blue! I try to add pink in to everything I wear haha. If I’m wearing jeans and a black tank top, I definitely have on some hot pink flip flops. I also tried to convince my husband to paint our entire house in shades of blue (he talked me out of it, thank god, I think it would have looked strange..). I try to hide pink in random things around the house, he still hasn’t noticed some of them ;)
Do you have a favorite artist? How has that person influenced you?
Okay.. I have two.
1 – The well known artist? Would be Ansel Adams. His photos make me want to travel the world. He had to lug around this HUGE camera, just to get a perfect shot, not knowing if it was even going to come out the way he wanted it to (film days!! Ps.. I miss film..). He went to some of the highest points, and the most random locations, just to try to get the most amazing shots, and he nailed it. I have multiple books of his work on display in my office actually.
2 – My absolute favorite artist? My mom. Seriously. She is an AMAZING artist. She instilled creativity in me from the second I could hold a crayon. I will always remember, “doing art projects” from when I was little. When I decided (at an early age) that I was going to major in “art” in college, instead of accounting (which I was told by multiple people would be “the right career move”) she backed me 1000%, and supported me the whole time. She was, and still is, completely honest when something isn’t working for me artistically, and will give me pointers on what will make it work better. I will never stop learning from her. I have her to thank for my love of art, and my grandfather to thank for my love of photography.
Share one thing that most people don’t know about you.
I’m a crazy animal person! No, I’m not a crazy cat lady, I swear, but if I could volunteer at the Humane Society or the ASPCA all day, I would. I’ve never been without multiple pets at one time. I’ve had everything from dogs and cats, to fish, to hamsters, rabbits, and hedgehogs. Currently, we have Roxy (Golden Retriever, 7 years old, aka our first baby), Zoey (Australian Shepherd, 8 months old), and 10 fish. We are currently in the process of setting up another fish tank.