A chat with Tom Edwards Pt.1

Illustration by Tom Edwards. spaceship fighting. All rights reserved by Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards is one of the most sought-after artists by authors today. A talented illustrator who, after a stint as a concept artist at Codemasters, a UK based games company, decided at the start of 2015 to break out and begin a career as a freelance artist.
I was delighted when he took the time to answers a few question, hope you’ll enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. And thank you, Tom!

You have some fantastic artwork, how long have you been doing this and what is your favorite part of your job?

Thank you. I’ve been painting for years, but professionally about 7 years. I love the freedom I have, and being able to work with a lot of different people.

If there was one thing you could tell to writers who approach you for work, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of asking for exactly what you’d like on the cover.

Tom is the consummate professional. Not only is his artwork top-of-the-line, he is communicative and clear, he keeps his deadlines, and he both listens to the input I give him and offers his own insights as to what will work best. I’ve worked with Tom on three book covers, and he has exceeded my expectations each and every time. His ability to translate a written brief into a captivating image that tells a story and excites the reader is truly exceptional. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have worked with someone so talented and professional. I offer Tom the highest recommendation I can possibly think of.
Ira Heinichen, Author of Starstuff

What should writers know that would make the process easier and faster?

Try to have a good idea of the brief. Include a description of the various elements, possibly from the book.

Tell me about your premade covers.

The premade covers we’re actually an idea from my partner, Nat. It was basically a way to give authors a cheaper alternative to a professional quality cover. I try to make them generic in the sense of details. I think this allows them to be used for a lot of different sci-fi stories.

What are some examples of your latest and greatest covers?

2018 has got off to a great start. I’ve worked with Jasper Scott on his upcoming Broken Worlds: The Revenants. This is yet to be released (Note: Release date April 18, 2018.)but is available for pre-order:
USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0793H3WKG/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0793H3WKG/

I’ve also worked with Scott Bartlett on his latest Ixan Legacy novel, Pride of the Fleet

Illustration by Tom Edwards Illustration by Tom Edwards

Both of these clients have been with me for a few years now, and I’ve done quite a few covers for both, especially Scott.

How long does a cover normally take from start to finish?

Around 5 – 10 working days. Some take me longer depending on detail and changes, and others take a lot less. Jasper needed the new cover quickly, so I managed to get that one done in 3 days.

All images, copyrighted by Tom Edwards

How to get it done – Shut up and work

Delicious looking cheese spread

Some humble suggestions…

It worked for me anyway, so I’ll share. ¬†Getting your book, your game map, your art project complete is to:

Plan/dream

  • Depending on your personality, this could be one and the same. I’m going to go with that, as that is how I do it.
  • Sketches, or jot down notes. As I work, I have notepad open on the side. Humble Notepad, simple, format stripping notepad. I put in ideas, links, notes, follow-ups. Of course, if I need fanciness I’ll jump to excel like sheets or other doc formats. Sketches PSD or plain old paper.
  • See possibilities. Put on hold the negative part of your brain that says “This is idiotic!”, “NEVER”, “NOOOOO.” They are just ideas you can always reject them at a later date. Keep your mind open.
  • Shut up. Just work. Don’t splatter your new idea or project on social media. Don’t put everything down because you JUST GOT to tell your friends.

Execute

  • Shut up, don’t tell anyone about. Possible exception your pets, houseplant or very supportive partner/friend/whatever. Why? They won’t post about or wonder if you’ll get it done this time around.
  • Your energy should be focused on creating. Not yakking about it. Period.
  • Come at a stand still, but not done? Return to step one. ¬†Plan, dream. Don’t get discouraged. Allow for your original idea to morph if needed. A lot of ideas you begun with won’t make it to the end of the journey.
  • As you work your drawings, paintings, or models. The characters in your novel, the scenes in you short story will evolve. Keep an open mind. They might be going in a better direction than the one you had planned.
  • What will make to the end of the journey with you, will be what mattered? What really spoke to you.
  • Plan/Dream/Shut up/Execute, as needed until you are done.

Are you done?

  • Now, you can tell everyone about it.

Minor exceptions to the, shut up and work, rule.

It’s the 21st century, I know. Being social, informing your readers and/or fans of your progress is part of your marketing strategy. I get it.

But if you are a new writer, artist or developer. And you haven’t managed to finish a single project, then you don’t have your discipline down yet, don’t waste your energy on sharing about your work until you are about 80% or 90% done.

What I noticed over the years is that what you really truly care about has to be nurtured. Talk too much about it, and it sucks the energy from it. It gives you the impression that you are working on it. But it’s just an impression.

The image? Nothing to do with the article, but when you are done writing your book or completing whatever needs doing, have a treat. Image courtesy of Steve on Pixabay