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Old 12-29-2012, 09:58 PM   #1
LBlankenship
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Character portrait wallpaper

This was a kinda-crazy idea I had, so I should throw it past some people...

I heard about character trading cards in romance writer circles. They're like baseball cards, but for story characters. Nice art, trading card size, etc.

But they involve printing costs, of course, and getting them to the readers. I'm on a super tight budget and I haven't gotten to many conventions to give cards out. So I was thinking about how to offer them electronically and I just didn't see any reason to limit myself to a little card if it was going to be a JPG.

So, character wallpapers. I commissioned these character portraits along with my cover art for Disciple, Part I and I was looking for something fun to do with them.

Currently, these are 4:3 for desktop and laptop screens, space left on both sides for Mac or PC icons. I'll make up a 4:3 vertical set for phones/iPads/etc., too.

Links -- these are to the full-size papers:
Kiefan
Anders
Kate

Thoughts? Design crits?
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:00 AM   #2
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That could be fun and maybe generate some interest.

But I'm a little confused by the images. The first two characters look exactly the same to me. The anime style also doesn't match the sophisticated look of all the other media you've posted in the past.

The character drawings are very nice and professional looking though.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale Haut View Post
But I'm a little confused by the images. The first two characters look exactly the same to me. The anime style also doesn't match the sophisticated look of all the other media you've posted in the past.
Hmm, how to differentiate the boys more clearly... I have an idea... Thanks for the feedback. I agree, it's a very different style.

The other 55 people who've looked at the thread have no opinion, I guess? Anybody?
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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Now I feel badly, having looked at your samples and not commented.
The reason I haven't commented is that I have nothing technical to say, and, other than that, the idea doesn't interest me. I can't see wanting a wallpaper of a book I read once.
Even if I could get a wallpaper of something I like and enjoy, say one of the Josh Kidby really-detailed Terry Pratchett covers, I don't think I want to see it every time I look at my desktop.
It's not a one-book world, and I just don't get it. You have to load the wallpaper, and then to change it you have to mess around with stuff, and either you -pfft- delete it and it's gone, or the thing is hanging around my computer somewhere.
I prefer a landscape that 'takes me somewhere', but doesn't tie me to anything.
Maybe I am not the target audience. Perhaps a person who likes the little cell-phones with the images you can skim through on the bus would be more receptive. Or at least, less of a dinosaur.
Sorry.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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The reason I haven't commented is that I have nothing technical to say, and, other than that, the idea doesn't interest me. I can't see wanting a wallpaper of a book I read once.
Fair enough. I'll admit the idea of character trading cards seemed a bit... well, it would be driven primarily by the artwork, obviously. Or maybe it's the physical aspect, like a bookmark.

Something to think about. Thanks.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBlankenship View Post
The other 55 people who've looked at the thread have no opinion, I guess? Anybody?
Just lurking.

Actually, I do this exact thing all the time--the character cards and wallpapers--but just for my own amusement, and to kick-start the muse if I'm stuck. I never realized it was widespread. Probably because I don't move in Romance circles.

As such, I have nothing to add except that pretty pictures are pretty.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:12 PM   #7
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If the artist allows the work to be used as a background, bare in mind that once the artwork is copied and saved, the user can do whatever they want with it, other than use it for background. You have no control over your artwork once it leaves your hands, unless you take certain precautions.

Many artist put watermarks on artwork on line that they allow their fans to copy and save. That way there is no question on who owns the copyright to the artwork and it also makes it hard to use for something else. Sometimes, the watermark is very intrusive, and other times it is not and many users crop them out, depending on where they are located.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBlankenship View Post
This was a kinda-crazy idea I had, so I should throw it past some people...

I heard about character trading cards in romance writer circles. They're like baseball cards, but for story characters. Nice art, trading card size, etc.

But they involve printing costs, of course, and getting them to the readers. I'm on a super tight budget and I haven't gotten to many conventions to give cards out. So I was thinking about how to offer them electronically and I just didn't see any reason to limit myself to a little card if it was going to be a JPG.

So, character wallpapers. I commissioned these character portraits along with my cover art for Disciple, Part I and I was looking for something fun to do with them.

Currently, these are 4:3 for desktop and laptop screens, space left on both sides for Mac or PC icons. I'll make up a 4:3 vertical set for phones/iPads/etc., too.

Links -- these are to the full-size papers:
Kiefan
Anders
Kate

Thoughts? Design crits?
I know nothing about character wallpaper or whatever, but I will give you my take on the visuals.

I agree, the two males are too much alike visually. You need something to delineate the two. I enjoyed the pop of green on the third. More color would be good. Your background/Desciple logo is reflective of your novel cover, right? But you needn't be beholden to that--you're talking about a different animal now. Who wants to look at a tan backdrop all day?

You have the logo thingie in the background. I suggest you play around with colors there. I agree, it may be a good idea to perhaps designate a different color palette for males and females.

The blurbs, bottom right, were interesting content-wise, but not visual-wise. I expected something more reflective of your logo, and smaller in size. Right now, they are too pronounced, taking my attention from the characters.

As for rendering of the characters, no bad. As I said, though, I'd suggest revising the looks of those two males as they're really similar.

Cool idea. I don't know if it would fly, though, for anybody except a die-hard fan of your work.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:29 AM   #9
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Revisions:

Anders
Kate
Kiefan

Hewing more toward cards, so that I can post them alongside character interviews and have them function as portraits in thumbnail form. If people want to click and embiggen to read the fine print, cool.

Matched the logo to the book, put more emphasis on that than their names, shrank the quotes down. And rejiggered it all to 3:4 rather than 4:3, so... less boring background.

First interview goes up on the 4th, so I'm hoping to have these ironed out by then.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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For what it's worth, I like the new layouts, with less bare background!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:57 PM   #11
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I like the first and third drawings. The second is done well from a technical standpoint, but the pose doesn't strike me as sufficiently dynamic for what looks like he's about to take some dude's head off. There's not a lot of weight to the pose. It looks like he's posing for the camera, rather than captured in the middle of an action shot, if that makes sense. Even his expression has sort of a "Can I stop making this face now?" quality to it.

The character design is good, though, and your sense of anatomy is spot-on.

Also, I haven't seen any of your other work, but you could stand to benefit from adding more variety to your line widths. Changing up the thicknesses alone would help add some more life into the pictures.
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