Cover Story 2

Here is the design path for my latest book “Designed for drama”

Started with an idea to use a clapper board.


but it wasn’t quite working.

Tried some ideas around praying hands (these are from Oral Roberts university).


Never worked.  Thought about a simple design around a movie reel of some sort. Then  found an image of a movie film strip that had some dynamics to it, added a person praying, some lighting effects (evoking the light of a projector), and some interesting fonts: a blueprint one that I adapted and a starwars one someone had done.


Couldn’t get a commercial quote on the Starwars one and in the end I decided that the blueprint one looked too scruffy. So I used frees ones and filled the large font with a blue grid to hint at design. Bought the stock image of the movie film at higher resolution, re-did the lighting more carefully and bingo.  I’m happy with that.


For the back I found a free image of light illuminating smoke. Altered the color pallet to be more bluey to match the front cover (harder than it might seem). Then added text.


Trouble was, they both looked rubbish when the book came back from the printers.


Apparently the conversion to CMYK (needed for printing) was responsible. Only now, at the end, do I understand. gimp is good but not not that good. It does not do real-time CMYK, ie you can’t work in it. You can only export it and see what it might look like.

A quick experiment using this site seemed to show that red colours were less susceptible to fading and changing in the conversion process so I did a quick mock up of a hotter version. I also zoomed in on the person a bit more to give the prayer prominence. It also seemed to give the image more dynamism.


I then had a sleepless night worrying about the font size being too small and the blue grid jarring with the orange. Next morning I came up with this:


Pow! So much better. More impact. More dramatic. My concern now is what it will look like when it is printed and will there be much horrid color banding going on?

Nope, printed great. Just not sure about the small writing of the subtitle. What about this:


Not sure. The white rectangle is too big or the text needs to be in capitals….


Yeah, thats better.

Here is the back cover:


A bit plane but will do for now. Really, I need some quotes from people saying nice things about the book but no one has read it yet.



“Often depression of spirit and great misery of soul are removed as soon as we quit our idols and bow ourselves in obedience before the living God” Spurgeon

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”  From UCB word for today

“In Nepal and much of the the third world people are rich in networks (in friendships, love and family) but poor in net worth. We are the flip. We are rich in net worth but poor in networks. We are actually, here, the third world of love, the third world of kindness, the third world of family, the third world of friendships. ” Peter Ulric Tse 

“[preaching is] finding fresh ways to remind people of what they already know” Piper

“To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible is offensive assumes, if there is a God, he wouldn’t have any views that upset you.” Tim Keller

“It is easier to crush the egg than kill the serpent” Spurgeon

“Men despise religion; they hate it, and fear it is true” Blaise Pascal

“They say the pen is mightier than the sword until it hits you on the head and then you find out what the sword is all about” Phil Campion (ex SAS soldier)

Leo Tolstoy considered Shakespeare’s plays as “trivial and positively bad”.

“With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely… It would be positively a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him.” George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Shaw “was the first person to be awarded both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award, receiving the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature and sharing the 1938 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film version of Pygmalion.” Wiki


The God Choice


“The way to be in the world is to orientate yourself towards the highest possible good you can conceive of because its not as if you have anything better to do”

This was one of 5 points that GeenStijl puts to Jordan Peterson as a summary of his philosophy. (another was “minimise your persona, cultivate your essence, and live in its closest possible proximity”).

I like the first quote because it captures something I am currently exploring and writing about in notes for a future project “The God Choice”. If there is a God, (see The God Puzzle) then which God is the real God?

One key deciding principle, I think, is that to the extent that we are seeing straight, the most glorious concept of God must be closest to the truth. If we see two concepts of God and it turns out that the duller one is the real one then, again, if we are seeing things right, the deity of the lesser existent God is impugned by the greater, all be it imaginary, vision of God.

Further, the mind that conceived of the greater being becomes somehow more magnificent than the lesser God that actually exists. Its an idea that seems related to ontological argument but for me while proving less, seems more persuasive.



Habits of effective artists

Love this guys tutorials on Blender. His tips here are great too and of broader relevance than just art.


1) Do daily work.
Don’t do a few long stints. Lots of smaller steps trumps a few long jumps.

2) Volume not perfection.
Don’t let perfectionism in one project slow down your output in others. Doing lots of other projects can actually increase the chances of doing something special in another. I know that sounds like quantity over quality but there is some truth in it. We grow in producing and working at both.

3) Steal.

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from” David Bowie

“Good artists copy, great artists steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”  Steve Jobs

“The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal” Pablo Picasso.

Good theft  vs bad theft

Honour vs degrade
Study vs skim
Steal from many vs steal from one
Credit vs plagiarise
Transform vs imitate
Remix vs rip off

4) Conscious learning.
Don’t just practice. Practice, but practice what you are consciously learning from various sources.

5) Rest.
Stephen King says any novel should only take 3 months for the first draft. Then leave it for six weeks and don’t look at it.

6) Get good honest feedback.
“What separates the superstars from the average: they seek criticism, and actually listen to it.” Alex Alvarez who founded the Gnomon school “the MIT of visual effects”

7) Create what you love.
Things you are really interested in. I agree with this. “There is enough red tape in life”. If at all possible, do what you love.







If it doesn’t come bursting out of you, in spite of everything, don’t do it. Unless it comes out of your heart and your mind and your mouth an your gut, don’t do it. If you have to sit up for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter, searching for words, don’t do it. If its hard work just thinking about doing it. Don’t do it. Unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket. Unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder. Don’t do it. When it is truly time, if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and then it will keep on doing it until you die. Or it dies in you. There is no other way and there never was. A poem by a writer  Charles Bukowski  – It’s a great quote, and very inspirational,  but it’s not 100% correct of course. Often great artists have always agonised over blank canvases or pages or blocks of stone before producing something amazing.  From here


“There is a secret that real writers know that wanabe writers don’t. Its not the writing part that’s hard. Whats hard is sitting down to write.” Steven Presfield  (Author of historical fiction)


“A lot of students focus on making realistic lighting … I’m aiming for fantastic believability. You get enough of realism. You can 3D model a house and it looks totally realistic but it’s just not interesting, so add something with character with style. Make something that’s better than reality. Make a world that people desire to go to” Jeremy Vicker who is who works at Pixar (I like the above quote because it illustrates that we are looking for a world beyond this one, a better one, a heavenly one).


“the professional knows that the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work sets in motion a mysterious process that produced inspiration. The amateur waits for inspiration. The professional knows it will come after he starts.” Steven Presfield


“Numbers are digital, maths is analogue” – here


Happiness is found,
not in comfort,
not in pleasure,
not in riches.
For all these I have had in bitter anguish.
not in distraction,
not in amusement,
not in addiction.
For in constant busyness our hearts languish.
not in security,
not in possessions,
not in position.
For all can fail without warning or whim.
not in recognition,
not in praise,
not in adoration.
For fickle and feckless is the love of men.

From here


If death was the end of all, the wicked would have a good bargain in dying. Socrates

“You can’t be a non-believer in your actions. [Sam] Harris’s metaphysics is fundamentally Christian, so he acts out a Christian meta-physics. But he says, ‘well I don’t believe it’. Well, yes you do because you’re acting it out. You just say you don’t believe. it” Jordan Peterson

“For one can fall victim to possession if one does not understand betimes why one is possessed. One should ask oneself for once: Why has this idea taken possession of me? What does that mean in regard to myself? A modest doubt like this can save us from falling head first into the idea and vanishing for ever.” Carl Jung paragraph 72 of the 2003 Routledge edition of ‘The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature’.


“People don’t have ideas, ideas have people”, Jordan Peterson Quoting Carl Jung 



A few more quotes:


“I am not what I think I am. I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.” – Charles Horton Cooley 

How can I explain his silence to the people who have endured so much? Priest in Silence

“the weight of your silence is terrible” Priest in Silence

“am i just praying to nothing because you are not there?”  Priest in Silence

“I was as poor as it’s possible to be in this country. I was a single parent. I remember 20 years ago not eating so my daughter would eat. I remember nights when there was literally no money.” J. K. Rowling

There was an actual policy in the US called MAD. Mutually assured destruction. (Me)


When watching a film, “We don’t cry when something is sad… We cry when something is more beautiful than we expected it to be” – Alain De Botton