Book Design for “Beautifully Broken”

I recently did the cover and interior design for Celeste R. Warner’s book, Beautifully Broken. It was one of those crazy hectic, last minute emergency projects, so there were several sleepless nights and plenty of euphoria afterward when it was delivered to a very happy client. This project was a ton of fun, and you can purchase Celeste’s book here for only $5.57!

Here’s the cover I was able to design.

Celeste's Portfolio Cover Spine Adj

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Book and Design for “Timelines”

As a professional writing major at my college, seniors have to compile their best work from over the last four years into a bound, designed book. It’s been a project I’ve been waiting for with bated breath ever since I learned about it.

Older students told me as a sophomore to save every paper I ever wrote, keep teachers’ notes, and to be thinking about a theme that can tie everything together. Back then, I couldn’t imagine picking out a theme that could encompass all my writing: after all, I liked to write about different things, and some of my stories were vastly different from others.

But as my senior year came upon me, I found the perfect theme. My stories revolve around either hope or memory. Many of them look to the future with either a warning to society about our faults, or an expected adventure just out of reach. And when not writing a social commentary on America’s morals, I’m pulling nostalgia from the cracks of my mind.

I thought “memory” and “hope” were much too generic for my theme, but finally it hit me: I also write about time. Time looking forward to the future or back to the past. “Hope” and “Memory” go hand in hand with time.

The final book was named Timelines, and you can purchase a copy here for $6.97!

Over Christmas break, I got the jump on designing my cover. This is what I came up with:

Timelines Cover Blurb Cover

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Cover Design for “Up the Ladder”

I was able to design this cover for Pamela Collazos’s book, Up the Ladder, which you can purchase on Amazon for $5.00! She asked specifically for a simple, vector-like cover made from only artwork, as opposed to my usual style of using photography. This was an incredibly fun project, and I really enjoyed the process.

The concept for the cover came from the idea of the biblical Jacob’s ladder. Pamela described her book’s theme as the idea of climbing this ladder to Heaven to gain enlightenment from God, then bringing it back to earth to share with others. Using that idea of enlightenment, I illustrated lightbulbs hanging from Heaven. The seeker for knowledge must climb a ladder, much like she would to change a lightbulb in her home. Through this image, I was able to convey the idea of Jacob’s Ladder, the quest for enlightenment, and receiving wisdom from God.

Pam's Portfolio Cover V2

Cover Reveal and Designs for Author Zachariah Wilhelm

I’m about to mention Zachariah Wilhelm’s awesome new book, A Spark of Light, which is now available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Inside you’ll find a collection of short fiction and essays that center on the universal theme of light in a world of darkness. Also, if you want to keep up with his current projects, you can visit him on his website!


In college as a writing major, we get to the end of our education and have to compile a portfolio of all the best work we’ve done in our core writing classes. What’s even more daunting is this: we have to print it in a physical book form, complete with a cover.

Most writers are not graphic designers. We imagine all the cool book covers we’d like to see with our name on them, sure. And we might actually attempt to design a few, but for people at PCC, they typically syphon the project off to a graphic design friend to better focus on the content (since that’s the main part that will be graded).

My portfolio is next semester, but half my class is doing theirs this semester. Eager to practice and attempt a book cover myself while helping my fellow writing friends, I asked Zachariah Wilhelm, who sat next to me in Creative Nonfiction, if he had a cover designer yet. He said no, and the design was due in two weeks.

I volunteered. And boy was I ever excited.

This is what we came up with in the end. He wanted the spark to have severe contrast with the darkness around it, since that’s a strong theme he has throughout his stories: that spark of light in the darkness, that flicker of good in a world of evil. We also wanted to try to connect some of his pieces together with the cover, so we decided to rely on a dark forest and a tire swing, both of which are mentioned in the book.

Zach's Book Final Flattened.jpg

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Not With My Watch (Short Story)

This was a short story I wrote for my Advanced Creative Writing class. The goal was to write a literary story that focused on characters and description more than plot and action, but still manage to balance all aspects well. While our teacher told me that no one has attempted a science fiction short story for this project, she was in full support of me trying to write a literary sci-fi, referencing Ray Bradbury and George Orwell.

While I ended up sticking more to spiritual and “paranormal” (for lack of a better term) than sci-fi, I feel it’s safe to say that the story content hasn’t been done at PCC’s creative writing classes. The story is inspired from a concept my roommate and I are developing about a guardian angel watching over a young troublemaker throughout her entire life. In the original story, Eitan, the angel, is tasked with guarding her from the moment she’s born, keeps her out of childhood dangers, coaxes her to Christ, protects her from wayward rebellious stages, boyfriend problems, eventual marriage problems, and ultimately sits beside her during stages of cancer and taking her home.

This story focuses mainly on one section of this would-be larger story (and animation if we were ever to go through with our plan). Eitan is a character who’s appeared in several of my short stories (originally a response to Frank Peretti’s exquisite novel This Present Darkness), but as of now, this story takes place at the beginning of the canonical timeline.

Eitan and the other angels in the story appear similar to demons because they once were the same creature, which explains the rams horns while the demons have goat horns. Their ears are sheep-like while the demons are more swine-like. Angels have bronze skin and demons have pale skin.

Not With My Watch


The parkway leading to Highway 27 was mostly abandoned at this time of night. The only vehicles that did pass, tires thundering over bridges and echoing through the underpasses, belonged to those who were returning from a brutally tiresome day’s work, a late taxi from the understaffed and woefully inefficient local airport, or from an unexpectedly long evening of gaiety and frivolousness that parents wouldn’t approve of. Every twenty feet or so the parkway attempted and failed to show off its winning personality by displaying its wide collection of travelers’ trash. Gum spots the size of silver dollars cemented themselves to the shoulder’s asphalt, aluminum beer cans in the shape of pancakes twirled with each pass of an eighteen-wheeler, and the local gangs thought it would be a special kind of genius to graffiti the “55 MPH” speed limit signs. The only signage that successfully avoided wayward teenaged boys was that of the “No Littering” notices. Instead, a shrine of cracked beer bottles was laid at its base.

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VBS Airship Paint Job

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For VBS (Vacation Bible School) at my church, I was commissioned to paint an airship for the steampunk theme. I only had a few brushes, black, light brown, and dark brown paint, but I had a ton of fun creating it. The pipes are just PVC spray painted, the gears are cardboard (courtesy of our church secretary), the wing is an easel with cloth draped over it, and the giant balloons are, well, giant balloons.

The boat itself was named the Gangfield, which was randomly a name I chose based off a character I read in a book once. It felt airshipy enough.

 

How to Make a Professional Cover Photo Without a DSLR Camera

When I launched my blog last Christmas, the most comments I got were directed toward my cover photo at the top of the screen. Friends that were heavily into photography and videography nodded their approval, and several asked just exactly how I did it.

Well. I’ll tell you it definitely wasn’t with a Canon Rebel and a light studio, that’s for sure.

Imagine a nineteen-year-old college student alone in the house and an ambitious project in her head. Oh, and a random pile of boxes, books, and her brother’s school supplies stacked on a chair across the table. Imagine a large hole puncher propping up her iPhone on the top of the makeshift tower. Yeah, that’s my “studio” for you.

DSLR Thumbnail

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