I want total control of my project…what exactly does that mean. In trying hard to express that Blue Lines if a labor of love, and the project that I feel is 100% me, meaning that the content, and expression of this work conveys my feelings, and thoughts and the story I wish to present.
In trying to keep this thinking in place, roughly 3 years ago, in late 2006 I had an idea for the book cover of my manuscript. Although at this time, I do not remember the true inspiration that guided my to lay out the initial template, there was something that I had seen that prompted my action on the cover. During down time I was playing around with a picture that I had of a woman’s profile, using that basic paint accessory that comes on a PC.
In creating a book cover, I wanted to have a clean cover image that did not technically pigeonhole my work into a specific genre…other than fiction (maybe love story, who knows). In doing so, I wanted to create a captivating inviting image, but also a presentation that also was very much a part of my story and the effort of Blue Lines.
Well in creating the first mock up, I took the picture, and cropped the image just to create a silhouette of this profile shot of my subject. The process, using that paint program was very crude, as I slowly traced my way around the outline of my subject, and cut the other background elements of the picture from the original picture. I must stress, this is/was a picture I took myself, as I do not want to be responsible for trying to get rights to something that is not my own intellectual property. In wanting a clean book cover, I laid the silhouette against an empty white background, with the thought of finding the correct font for the placement of the book’s title. The initial version included the silhouette against the white background, with the title Blue Lines in the color blue across the middle of the image. I personally felt that it was too empty, and that the title placement was not clean. Later I moved the title to the foot of the image, which personally felt like a better placement for me, but still the image was too open and empty.
I sat back trying to think of what would add to the image, and wanted to add some element(s) that would echo my manuscript. Around the same time, I had been compiling a folder full of what I called “Blue Words,” which were poems that I had either written prior to writing Blue Lines, or while writing the manuscript that appeared in the manuscript. Thus I had my “eureka” moment with this project. I would place 1-2 line verses of these different pieces of prose behind the silhouette to frame the female image. The raw original image was roughly completed in that initial day. I was extremely elated with what I had done that day.
Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived. No, I did not lose the image, or save it incorrectly. When “playing” around and the end result being that you created something that one really likes, you don’t think about things like the correct size for the image for reproduction, etc. Thus the process was doubly painstaking: 1) I used a program that was not really built for the amount of work that I would put into creating this image that I would decide perfectly fit my work; 2) the image was so small (that I could not enlarge it, print a quality copy, or attach it to my work), that once I was complete, and came to the conclusion that upon completion I would have to recreate the entire process from scratch.
Starting the entire process again, forced me to recreate something I thought was perfect from scratch, which was time consuming and tiring, especially because the original could not be exactly recreated. However, it allowed me to take in constructive criticisms from friends, and correct them in later versions (7 versions in all). One example being, that although my photograph was of a woman, I was told that the silhouette did not look as such, thus I used more of the source image to include the bust in the later versions (#6 and #7) of the book cover. The later process did take much longer than the initial first attempt, simply because in being forced to begin again, I had to account for sizing, and I attempted other techniques, some using more elements of the image of my subject, and cleaner crops of the rough silhouette. (FYI, the “proof” image is not the final copy, but only a reproduction of Cover #2).
The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of my protagonist a young California woman KLW, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life. A period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.