Today 2 Wild Women is pleased to welcome multi-talented Tina Lynn Stout who brings a wealth of experience to her position as a cover artist for The Wild Rose Press. Of course, Kat and I are a tab biased as Tina created the covers for our Class of '85 titles as well as those of other TWRP authors in the Dearly Beloved series. Welcome, Tina.
Please tell us a bit of your background, including where you’re from. I have been everything from being a preschool teacher to an administrative assistant. I have always enjoyed art and photography. Growing up in San Diego County I have always had year-round distractions, but one of my favorites is cover design.
What made you choose art as a career? This is actually my side gig. I took a graphic design class and fell in love, but I didn't have a degree to get out there and do it as a professional, so I did some free-lancing and really fell into this position. A friend of mine was working for TWRP and said if they ever have an opening, I will recommend you. I really NEVER thought it would happen, but one day she emailed me and said, I have recommended you to do cover design, you have to contact them and give them what you have done. I was scared to death, but went for it. That was 4 years ago. I still love it.
How does the process of creating a cover begin? I first read what the author has in mind and then my head starts to go. I search the stock photo sites for visions and start compiling. The 'move tool' in Photoshop is my best friend. I enjoy fitting it all together. For me, it has to tell a story on the cover first and then I tie in the title and authors name. BAM...and sometimes, the re-edit, re-re-edit, is better than the mock-up.
What made you choose this particular field of art as a profession? From crayons and coloring books as a child until now, I really enjoy arts and crafts. I have to have a creative outlet, but it doesn't pay the bills, at least not for me, so I continue to work.
We’re sure you as an artist, just as writers are often asked, where do you get your ideas. So . . . where do you get your ideas? I really try to listen to the author. Sometimes, however, it is evident they really don't know what they want and I piece together the feel I get from the synopsis that they create for me and the characteristics of the hero and heroine. I try to imagine a scene and work with it.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with designing covers—or do something different? I enjoy what I am doing. I think I wish I was younger and would have gone to school and jumped into the a creative field, but I have no regrets. I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for 5 years and then teach at the preschool where the kids attended. After that I got to go get a 'Big Girl' job. When the cover design position opened up, it was icing on the cake.
We won’t ask which cover is your favorite, but which cover—of all you’ve done—has a special place in your heart? My first genre was English Tea Rose, 1800's, very difficult to come up with different photos to use, challenging to say the least. I was really wanting to push out of the box and try other lines. I was allowed to do that and it was a blast. But it is hard to choose. I like different ones for different reasons. There have been some I didn't like, but the author loved. that is when the 'Eye of the Beholder' comes into play. I didn't answer the question, I just can't.
Which one of all you have created is the most memorable, and why? My first cover. I was so excited. I think I sent it to all my friends and family. When I saw it on-line (this was before Facebook) I was like a little kid! Good times!
Let’s talk about diva authors. How do you handle the person who is never pleased?
This is tough. Part of me understands, it is 'their baby', their creation and they have a certain idea in mind and I do respect that. On the other hand, they have to respect the fact that though Photoshop is pretty magical, I can't always find what they want in the stock photo banks and manipulation isn't always perfection. When a heroine has to have auburn shoulder length wavy hair, wearing a crimson period gown from the 1800's and a topaz necklace with diamond encircling the stone and she needs to be riding a white stallion..IT IS HARD, people, it is really hard! I cut off heads, superimpose a necklace, change the color and put a white horse in shadowed in the background. And see how that is received.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Last year, when I was unemployed due to a laid-off, I was feeling old, frustrated, out-of-the-loop and useless (pity-party table of ONE) God told me "Be Beautiful". The outer will wrinkle and sag, that is when the inner needs to shine. I started volunteering, I babysitting for free, did random acts of kindness, I worked on my art and photography whilst looking for work and it was amazing how much better I felt about myself and situation. I have since found a job and my mantra is still 'Be Beautiful, always'. I am pretty sure I am going to get that tattooed on my arm eventually. It saved me from self pity.
Who in the field is your idol? Why? Two people were so supportive when I first started, Kimberlee Mendoza and Rae Monet! I can't tell you how much they helped when I was stuck. They were patience and kept me encouraged. Each of them brought elements to the table where I ate it up. Thank you Ladies, you ROCK!!!
Tina, Kat and I thank you very much for visiting us today and giving us words of wisdom for our next cover[s]. You rock, too, woman!
To see more of what Tina Lynn Stout has created go to: http://tinalynnstout.weebly.com/