Please introduce yourself for the readers.
Hi guys! My name is Loraine van Tonder. I am 25 years of age and I live in South Africa with my husband and two adorable kids. I am a freelance digital artist / graphic designer, Graphics Manager at Burning Willow Press LLC and the in-house cover artist at Crimson Cloak Publishing.
Book covers are your most obvious endeavour. Is that all you do?
Not at all. I am extremely flexible in what I do. Although I create book covers most of the time, I have created corporate identities for local businesses, audio covers, gift tags, tattoo designs, t-shirt designs, party pintables and much more on multiple occasions.
Making book covers is not something people often talk about as a career. It’s more something that writers want. How did you start?
I didn’t start out creating book covers until I started working with Burning Willow Press in 2015 when its founder and CEO, Kindra Sowder, created a cover art contest for one of her many books. I won the contest, and since then, I’ve been working with them to create covers for their many, amazing authors. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity she gave me.
You probably have a lot of demands and deadlines to meet then. It can be hard to start a piece when you have pressure to be creative. What is your inspiration?
Oh, I have loads! There are so many great artists out there, but other than that, music inspires me as well. I work best when I have my headphones on and some good music tuning out the rest of reality.
Do you work better stressed or relaxed, sad or happy?
Relaxed and content, without interruption.
How long have you been creating your digital art?
I started out in 2010 when I was residing in Ireland for the year, after that I did a one-year graphic and advertising design course. Since then, I mostly taught myself what I know by watching a lot of excellent tutorials and by just practicing a lot.
Is it all created on a computer?
Mostly, yes. I do have pencil sketches, but 99% of the time I use technology. I use my laptop with Photoshop CS6.1 and my Huion Tablet.
Do you have any tips for beginners?
Never get discouraged. Even if you feel like your art sucks, just keep practicing. We all start out as beginners and sooner or later you will be the artist that others look up to and use for inspiration.
We can’t all focus on our art all the time though. Are there any other activities which influence your art?
I enjoy reading and writing as well.
What projects have you worked on in the past? Anything famous or successful?
The covers I made for the Miss Hyde Novellas and the Executioner Trilogy by Kindra Sowder are doing really well. There are actually a lot of books that are doing really well.
What’s your current big project?
I am currently busy with the cover for the second instalment in the POW! series by Peter Oliver Wonder, as well as a cover for Clive West’s novel titled “Job Interview Success”. I am also busy creating an identity for a friend’s business called “Sip’a Licioua”. Lastly, I am busy preparing to start on the cover for the third “Crossroads in the Dark” anthology by Burning Willow Press. They are all big projects to me, equally important.
Definitely a busy person! With all that work I’m sure the time will fly by, but do you have a 5 year plan?
Hmm… I will be happy if I can turn my freelance work into a full-time job, but I guess you never know what will happen in the future.
I noticed as well as to order, you do pre-made book covers, which authors or publishers can buy if it suits their novel. That’s an interesting idea, both to stay active as an artist and to keep the money coming in. Talk us through the steps of creating a piece: how do you harness that initial inspiration and develop it into a fully formed picture?
Like I said before, music inspires me best. If I don’t have a lot on my plate, I will tune into a good song, get lost in it and just start creating whatever comes into my mind. I will start out with a simple image and then just form it into whatever it wants. Sometimes a piece turns into something completely different than what I had intended, but it looks even better. I create pre-made covers when I have some free time, but I am always open to commission work.
When you work with a commission, how do you accommodate a writers wishes? What’s your process?
When working with an author, I’ll firstly ask them for a detailed description of what they envision on their cover. If they don’t have an idea of what they want and give me free reign on the cover, I will create something that fits the book, like a scene out of the story for instance. After the first cover draft, I give the author the opportunity to comment on the design, in case they feel it needs a few alterations or changes. After that, it’s simply a matter of trial and error until the author feels content with his cover. It is, after all, the author’s opinion that matters the most.
Do you hide details or even jokes in the background of your pictures? Any secret stories about pictures you’d like to share?
A picture always has a story. Whether it is filled with dark emotions or light humour, there is always a story to be told when looking at a piece of art. Sometimes while creating non-commission work, my emotions will unintentionally slip into the artwork. For instance, I once created a piece of a fallen angel looking down into a mirror and called it “Remember who you are”. I guess I was feeling a little lost at the time.
As you get more successful, I’m sure bigger commissions will start rolling in. If you could illustrate for any book or story, what would you like to illustrate?
Oh, I would be stunned if a famous writer like JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer requested a cover from me. I am a fan of their books and it would be such an honour to create something for them.
Can you give us any previews of upcoming work?
Hmm, let me think… I can’t share book covers without permission from the authors and I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers. I guess you will just have to keep an eye on my facebook page or website if you want to see new work. Haha … well since it’s the holiday season right now, I have to admit that I have been slacking a little. Sorry guys! BUT, there will be a lot of exciting and new changes in the coming new year. Yay!
Thanks Loraine. I’m glad to get a variety of artists on here and it’s been great to get an insight into how you create yours. It’s all pretty similar really. How many artists don’t work with music playing? I know I do.
If you want to keep an eye on Loraine, her social links are below, and if you have any more questions then leave them in the comments and I’ll pass them on.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LorainevanTonderDigitalArt
Deviant Art: http://raine17.deviantart.com/