All posts by Sjusjun

About Sjusjun

Sjusjun is an experienced illustrator and graphic designer.

Blotches of digital paint

Wow! It’s April :D Hope you had a lovely Easter.

My birthday is this Saturday, I’ll be 33. For practice purposes and for fun I made this digital paint portrait in a single evening. The reference photo I used was me at 31. Time flies!

This is me at 31

It looks a bit unfinished, but I like that look sometimes, where you can still see the blotches of (digital) paint. This is also why I love looking at concept art. It’s amazing what artists like Aurelien Fournier can do with colour, textures and light.

Things to do in 2015

2014 has been a great year. I still need to cross off a lot on my mental to-do list, but I’m pretty happy with everything that I have accomplished so far. With the support of my partner, my friends and my family, this was the first full year I dedicated solely to illustrating. 2014 was also the year I met new people, new clients and that also led to new cool challenges. One of the highlights for me was working for GriDD, I made a lot of illustrations for different companies that I unfortunately can’t show, top-secret! :). I also had a lot of fun with the book covers I did for Gwen Gardner (One of my first official clients) and Katharina Gerlach. I also made birthday cards, portraits, comics and logo’s and much more.

For 2015 I still plan to rework my website. Mine is definitely behind on the current times! So next to my illustration work that’s a priority. I also hope to do a lot more free work. Best wishes to all, let’s make this a great year!

vandaag-kopie-small

Secrets of Secret Keepers

Here is the third book cover of the novella trilogy titled Secret Keepers by Gwen Gardner. This is by far my favorite one, it also has the most detailed bits of the three covers. On the cover you see Hazel, a witch who helps the main character Indigo Eady. She also has some secrets of her own. In this post I’d like to show you more than just the end result. I guess you could say I’m also revealing secrets :) So please scroll down to view the sketches and the different stages of progress.

First, here is the finished cover, click to view a bigger version:

And this is how it all started, with a rough grey scale sketch. As you can see the idea is still the same in the end result, the end result just looks a lot better (I hope ;)!

sketches

I always save multiple drafts and versions of an illustration. So a lot of space is taken up by ‘concept A’, ‘concept B’ and so on till I start running out of letters. Still, it’s necessary to do this, because you never know if you need to get back to an older version of the illustration. In the finalization of an illustration I often tend to leave it alone for a day or two. Being away from an illustration is important. It gives you a fresh point of view. Here’s the adjustments I made before and after my ‘pause’.

Hazel adjustments

To make the changes more clear, I’ve made an animated gif. The difference is also important in Hazel’s eyes. She looks much more ‘blank’ in the early version.

secretgif

Hope you liked seeing how this book cover illustration came to be. Secret Keepers is now available on Amazon.

Book cover reveal Ghostly Gallows

I promised to show two more book covers. Here is the cover of book 2, Ghostly Gallows:

Ghostly Gallows cover

Gwen Gardner and I discussed this cover a lot. The first idea was to have a much darker scene. There would be gallows from which ghosts were hanging. We weren’t sure if the subject matter would fit the target audience. So we chose another scene. Hannah, a young seventeenth century ghost, looking for clues in an old underground archive.

Prior to drawing I did some research. We all know the Halloween style ‘Serving wench’ costumes, which includes a sort of mob cap and a sassy bosom revealing costume. This isn’t entirely accurate of course, but it was quite hard to find the right sources, especially from the seventeenth century. Serving staff wasn’t often the subject matter of paintings. The movie ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ helped me get the right century and cap style. And the paintings by Gabriël Metsu and Johannes Vermeer helped me with the outfit.

Detail of Hannah

Here are some more detailed shots of the cover. I used several textures for the peeling wall. There’s also vermin and and a rat:

Some more detail

Detail of a curious rat

The cover of book 3 will be in the next post!

Book cover trilogy

To draw a trilogy of book covers is very challenging. Especially when there is a lot of time between the first and the second/third cover. The first cover was made over a year ago, and the other two these past months. I’m constantly trying to work on my style. Trying out new things, enhancing my personal workflow (the amount of brushes I’ve accumulated, both made by me or others, makes me dizzy sometimes!). The first of three books with my cover was recently released by writer Gwen Gardner. It’s a supernatural tale called Second Death. It’s available for purchase on Amazon. Now that it’s published I can finally show you the cover!

And here it is:

Second Death cover

I hope to be able to post the other two covers soon. The third cover is my personal favourite :) Please stay ‘tuned’!

Illustrations everywhere!

As an illustrator I know how useful illustrations can be, but often clients surprise me (in a good way :) by their wishes. One of these assignments was designing a pattern for a legging. Something combining orange and pink. I designed a bright and really unique pattern involving big lilies on an orange background. You can find (and buy) it at Aparteleggings.nl

I’ve been doing more stuff, like bookmarks, book covers and logo’s. I wish I could show you, but I’ll have to wait for my clients to do the big reveal first.

Partners and other news

Illustrations can be used for so many different things: Websites, books, animations, graphic design and more. At the same time I want to keep my focus on illustrating as much as I can. This is why I’ve added partners, to the menu above. Partners are people I can choose to work with and who I fully trust. They love what they do and are good at it. Illustrations don’t just stop at a ‘static image’. There’s so much more you can do with them! If you’re looking for ideas and solutions to do more with your website, publications, brand or identity please contact me or use the contact information on the right side.

In other news, I’ve been working on a redesign of my own website. I’m not in a hurry, since I still like my current website. But I do think it could need a little bit more colour. Also, the magic word nowadays is “responsive”. and that’s something that my current website is not. Here’s a small taste of what’s to come:

preview
Fish and cat meet each other in this new design

My very first design of Sjusjun.com incorporated goldfishes, then the cats took over. Why not have both? :)

Book blog tour: Swordplay

For the wonderful writer Katharina Gerlach, I illustrated part of her book cover (the girl and the wild magic that surrounds her) for Swordplay. Everything else, including typography was done by Katharina herself. The writing style of Katharina Gerlach is imaginative and quick witted. I took an immediate liking to the main character Moira. I loved sketching and illustrating all the little details.

I’ve noticed that ‘Book blog tours’ are quite common in the writing world. This is my first time hosting one :)

Cover of SwordplayAbout the Book

CSI with magic but without the gore

Despite her obvious lack of magical talent, nineteen year old Moira Bellamie apprentices with the Gendarmerie Magique, the magic police. She puts all her effort into solving a burglary at the National Museum where antique weapons have been stolen, to keep the hard won job. Falling for her partner Druidus wasn’t part of the plan. When more and more people are murdered with one of the stolen weapons, Moira must tame uncontrollable magic, or the people she cares for will die, her partner first and foremost.

For lovers of Fantasy and Mystery from 14 years up

Availability:

eBook on Amazon: German or English and Smashwords: German or English, other retailers will follow. Paperback in German or English on Createspace (Beware: postage), Amazon (no postage) will follow soon and can be found through the eBook pages.

About Katharina

I’ve been telling and writing stories all my life, but only two year ago, with the success of eBook publishing, I became an Indie author. I never looked back. Sure, my manuscripts have found praise with traditional publishers, but no one had the courage to publish something they couldn’t neatly stuff into a labeled box.

Well, just like my books, I don’t fit one box. I’m the daughter of a forester and a studied forester myself. I’m sister to three brothers, and a mother to three daughters. I’m a tomboy at heart and simultaneously tidy and chaotic – I can’t be any different with my Muse (the creative part of me) dragging me in one direction and my Editor (the neat, logical side) pulling in another.

There are three things in this world I love more than anything: my family, stories (mine and those of others) and nature. The best thing that can happen to me is when someone I don’t know leaves a review for one of my books telling me how much (s)he liked it.

Can’t wait to read Swordplay? Join the giveaway and win a copy of this book! Oh and check out the interview with me :D