Commissioned Cover 1, part 1 - Viking Visual Art Tutorial

This morning, I received a message from @iamraincrystal, asking if I could create a book cover for her. After working out what she wanted, I estimated this would take 3-4 hours of my time. Professional covers run around $600 each. This is why I started designing my own in the first place. This need has taken my Gimp and DAZ skills up quite a number of notches, though I would not consider myself a professional by any means.

Bless her, @iamraincrystal agreed to let me blog about the process as well.

This first part represents roughly two hours of my time (one hour for character creation and one hour for posing.) My goal was to have several options as to outfit and position ready for iamraincrystal when she woke up. (We are, like, 10 hours apart in time zones.)

1. Designing the character

The character is a caucasian woman with long hair. (The guide illustration provided was blonde, so I made her blonde.) She is to be shown in silhouette holding a gun or a knife in preparation to defend... (We'll deal with the background later.)

I began with my Genesis 8 female (for her good expression control) with the "End of Summer" hair by Patti Mann.

I think this hair style is a good one for a woman who is meant to be taken seriously, but is still in touch with her femininity and sensuality. Her hair isn't really messy, but is being blown by the wind, while she doesn't lose her serious demeanor. She's one I would like defending my people.

(Note: the colors on the Daz preview screen aren't always a great guide to how they'll look on the render.)

Now for clothing... She's only going to be shown in head-and-shoulders, so I don't need the whole body (which definitely saves on time when it comes to posing!)

2. Clothing

This is where I need @iamraincrystal's opinion... I have four options that I found as I ran down my clothing options. These ones spoke "heroine" to me... (all outfits are by DAZ this time.)

option 1 - "caped heroine"


The sleeves can be removed if you prefer @iamraincrystal.

option 2 - "fair corsair"


On this one, the cape can be removed, as can the armbands.

option 3 - "dark storm"


The armor on her shoulders can be removed - as can that collar thingy if you prefer...

option 4 - "bardot" - something slightly more sensual


I wouldn't recommend changes to this top other than color if you want.

Do you like any of these, @iamraincrystal? Note: colors can be changed if you prefer. If you don't like any of them, I can dig again, just let me know a bit more of what you want.

3. Posing (with gun)

I checked my personal weapon inventory and found a gun that I liked and a couple of okay knives, but none of those really felt right for this cover, so this is what I went with.


At this point, I've got my camera set up to capture an image and doing my actual posing work from the "perspective" view.

I also turned off the laser in the "surfaces" tab, since she's supposed to be guarding/defending, not in an attack situation.

Head/shoulders view doesn't really give me the lower hand in the image (great, because I don't have to have the right hand perfect - if @iamraincrystal likes the final pose, anyway...)

The upper hand, however, is going to be fun as it's very close quarters and she needs a supporting grip on the weapon.

Each joint is separately controlled from the collar and shoulder/arm to elbow/forearm to hand, to each joint of each finger. It's a precise art which looks bad if it's not done just right. (Or close enough to avoid collisions, anyway.) Here are a couple of captures as I did this.



Contact without collision is difficult. And no, I'm not claiming a perfect grip on this... just something that looks reasonable as part of the overall picture for the cover.

Angles to choose from

Need @iamraincrystal again here...

Full front


Left Side


Right Side


Again, ignore the fact that the hair (in particular) doesn't look perfect yet - it will render fine, I'm certain (I've used this hairpiece before, in fact.) I just want to know which angle you like best...
And then, considering that the sunset light is going to come from behind her, do you want it directly behind her or to one side or the other? (Answer in comments or on Discord - as you like.)

More to follow as I put this cover together.

All work done by myself on: Photoscape, Gimp, Krita, and/or Daz 3D Studio

Past A'mara Books tutorials:

DAZ 3D tutorials (not A'mara Books related):

Organizing Daz 3D Studio content , Creating New Clothing Textures for Daz 3D , Testing 3rd Party Content in Daz 3D

Photo salvages:

Droplet, Bellis Daisy, Baby Blue Flowers, version 1, version 2, 2-Spot Ladybug, version 1, version 2, Bridge Over River Kennet

Coloring Tutorials & Mini-tutorials:

Zen colouring #43, Zen colouring #39, Zen colouring #38, Zen colouring #37, Zen colouring #36, Zen colouring #35, Zen colouring #34, Zen colouring #33,

Butterfly Colouring #11, Butterfly Colouring #10

Destruction Island Night Magic, Birds Over Sunset Waves , Starry Happy Little Rock , Winter Baker

Halloween Artwork:

2018 - Pumpkin Patch Harvest
2019 - Haunted Pumpkin House, Jack-o-Lantern Forest Cemetery, Shadow in a Misty Forest

Miscellaneous Artwork:

Painting Wooded Easter Eggs

Lori Svensen
author/designer at A'mara Books
photographer/graphic artist for Viking Visual
(Buy my work at RedBubble, TeePublic, PicFair and DeviantArt.)
verified author on Goodreads
(Buy my books at Books2Read and at LBRY)
find me on Twitter

Join The Best Natural Health Community on Hive

Discord Link

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