Crow - The Awakening Book Cover Redux

I redesigned my book cover from scratch. 1600x2400px. The base-mesh was developed in Daz Studio and exported to Blender. Materials reworked in Gimp, fur and hair materials created in Gimp, and typography created in Inkscape. Final composition assembled in Gimp. The figure rendered in Cycles at 2000 samples on CPU for 20:37hrs. SS on skin and hair BSDF used on fur and hair.

Nice work, she looks great. How you doing with the book, when is it due to be released. My daughter loves anything about werewolves and such so I will tell her to keep a look out.


Thanks! I credit a lot of advice from this forum to helping develop her look to match what I saw in my head. The book itself has been out since June 5, 2014. I became dissatisfied with the original cover and redesigned it. I hope it gets a good reception.

I plan on following the basic motif for the next 5 books in this series yet to be published, plus develop a similar look for a second related series I’m currently writing. I hope that turns out well. The book is at

Hi Mike,
I’m absolutely new to gimp as I just got it and went through a couple of newbie tutorials to learn how to navigate and do a couple of simple projects.
I was wondering if you could teach me how to do this kind of imaging and making the fur material, or guide me in the right direction to what tutorial videos I could watch?

I also looked through your DeviantArt gallery and…Wow:eek: Just wow. I’m learning how to become a graphic artist and I pray to become good at modelling people like yourself. Thank you for being here on Blender Artists and DeviantArt.

Thank you for posting this image and what you used to create it. Again, it’s a really amazing for a Blender render and what gimp can do. You just showed me the amazing potential at what I can do with it.

gmmonllor ^J^

That’s a thought provoking question. I’ve been doing digital art since the DOS NeoPaint days, and have been using Photoshop since version 2.5. I worked as a graphic artist while going to Art School too. A lot of what I do today rests on a pretty wide foundation. I’ve never gone through any Gimp tutorials and haven’t really seen much in that regard. I think hitting up a Gimp forum might be smart. Or if you can spare $10 a month, subscribe to Photoshop CS and learn that. I use Gimp because I don’t have that spare $10. But then, for my purposes, Gimp is a phenomenal tool.

Blender, on the other hand, has TONS of tutorials. A lot of the methods transfer to other 3D editing packages conceptually too. I’ve got I bit over 300 gigabytes of Blender tuts in my video library alone. Tons of useful stuff. DL them (or watch them if you can’t DL them) and go through them step by step. In those tuts you’ll get practical needs to apply Gimp to. It’s hard to just open up Gimp and go… make a picture. I mean, you can. If you’re adept at drawing and painting. But it’s easier when you open up Gimp because you need to paint a UV map. So hit up those Blender tuts. That’s a good start. And draw obsessively. Learn 2D painting in Photoshop/Gimp/Krita/etc… a Wacom Bamboo tablet is a nifty tool to have for that. Get used to creating art digitally - but don’t forget your analog roots.

I used the diffuse textures to give that subtle pattern to her fur. I experimented with some rendered effects in Gimp until I came on a pattern I liked and I worked that into a base skin diffuse map that fit the UV of the model. Her hair is actually from a modified image of chipped bark. Her actual skin maps came from Daz 3D. I ended up modifying them too, creating normal maps, tweaking the bump maps, cleaning up the diffuse maps, etc. Of course, for her, the only flesh that really shows is on her lips, nose and eyelids, so there wasn’t too much work to that. Most of the work went into the fur.

I’m currently working on a project involving a human and have been neck deep in it working to make a realistic result. When I get to a decent milestone I’ll post in the WIP forum. My node groups have evolved a lot with that project.

Regardless, the quality of end result that Blender produces has come a long way. I’ve been doodling with Blender since the NeoGeo days, before it was open-sourced, and it’s been an exciting journey watching it evolve. It’s a fantastic tool. So is Gimp. That said, I have seen near photo-realistic portraits from a pencil and paper. In the end, it’s the artist that is the most important component in the artistic process. So invest heavily in yourself with time and practice and exploration.

Beautiful, clean and makes it very professional !

Anyway, a lot of luck for the future because you are talented :slight_smile:

PS: Is there a book of paper instead for kindle ?

DOS NeoPaint? That’s probably been out before I was born, haha!

Now I’m just starting the art’s and digital art at the age of 20. Probably shooting myself in the foot for not taking it seriously when I was younger but, I’m dedicated to 3D art and learn the tricks of the trade; if my studies start to lighten up soon.

Could you suggest a Gimp forum that I could or should join? I’m new at this forum so I’m a bit nervous to go and searching for the right forum to go to. I have been to many Blender tutorials and I love them, it’s just a bit difficult once in a while to find the one that’s good to understand and follow but, it’s all just in the eye of the beholder to find the right one in my opinion. Now, what is DL and what does it mean? I have seen many tutorials where they go into Gimp which I’m really glad now that I have Gimp.

For drawing tablets, I have a Monoprice 10 x 8 graphic drawing tablet and love using it on SketchBook Pro 6 (which I need to update it one day, haha). I also use it for my studies and online classes since it’s much more cleaner to see than using a mouse. Now what do you mean by analog roots? I’m still new to the arts so, it’s a bit of a foreign for me :spin:

Haha, I’m actually trying to do a model of a Steampunk Prawn. I haven’t been able to get to in-depth with it due to my studies. I was wondering if you could actually give me some advise once I start getting the model down and saved. I did sketch it with the help of my dad, and I’m hoping to get them done soon. Would you mind it if I come to you for advise with modeling and such?

I want to thank you for finding time to responding to my questions and I hope that your human project goes great.
Adios my friend ^J^

Thanks!!! I’ve been focusing on cover art for my series, but am hoping to expand out from there to conceptual art around the little universe I have created. Lotsa images floating around in my head… :slight_smile:

I have a Createspace file started for Crow - The Awakening, but the Crow series of books are epic. Huge. It’s hard to get them down to a size where I can sell them for a decent price. I think with severe tweaking of font, font size, margins, etc, I managed to shrink book 1 down to around 450 pages but the rest of the books in that series are even larger, except for the sixth book which will be the shortest in that series - only around 160k words.

I have a new series I have started that is comprised of shorter novels, only around 100k words as opposed to the 230k to 300k epic novels that makes up the Crow series. Those would probably do better as dead-tree editions than the Crow novels, at least price-wise. Plus it’s job security for my art too. :slight_smile:

I used NeoPaint back in '94, IIRC. Moved up to Photoshop 2.5. That and PageMaker. I think I still have my "The Photoshop Wow! Book for 2.5 too. Those were some interesting days. I learned a lot from that book and from experimenting and practical application as I almost immediately started doing flyers and stuff for work as well as photo retouching.

I like 3D art too. But bear in mind that 3D art incorporates a LOT of 2D art. Textures, matte paintings, etc… Not to mention audio and video if you do animations too.

For me, a sketch-book, or painter’s canvas is analog. It’s good to break out the pencils or paint or whatever, even as a digital artist. Even clay. If you notice, a lot of Blender’s movies have clay sculpts of their conceptual art in the production of the movies they make. They also have a lot of character studies in pencil, water-color, etc. An entire spectrum of media ends up being involved in the finished 3D product.

I am not an active participant in any Gimp forums, personally. Sorry. Don’t hesitate to ask around. Hopefully someone following this thread could recommend a good one.

In modeling from scratch, you’ll want to sketch the front, side and rear perspectives of the object you wish to produce. Kinda like drafting - keep the proportions consistent. Then scan those in, import as planes into Blender and attach those to the appropriate views so they are backdrops as you re-create it in 3D. That’s pretty much standard practice, methinks.

DL == download. I download all my videos because my DSL sucks. Youtube doesn’t like it and I have had to find various downloaders over the years to keep up with the changes they make to prevent downloading, unfortunately. But it’s the only way I can view the video in any constructive way. If you have a fast connection, viewing online is good too. BlenderCookie’s Citizen account does give you the opportunity to download the video and .blend files, however. And sometimes I’ll see a download option at Vimeo. Whatever makes viewing the tutes easier for you. I’ll replay a section many times, often. Or skip back and forth to sections I need to help with a particular issue. That’s only really practical if you have a really fast internet connection or if the file is on your PC.

Wow! I’ve never heard of it till now, from you haha :slight_smile:

I would love to do animation, my ultimate dream is to either work for Pixar or DreamWorks Animation Studio’s. Probably might not happen, then again, it might. Only have to wait and see what the future has in hold for me.

I actually need a new sketch book because I only have 3 clean pages to sketch or draw, right now I’m using printer paper at the moment. But I love to sketch so…yeah haha. Well now I get what you mean by analog! I need to practice how to do a good perspective drafts because I’m not great at keeping proportions even which I need to practice.

I hope that I get time to start modeling and sculpting. I have done a velociraptor by following a tutorial, but never finished it due to schoolwork and the teeth being a pain in the neck. I think Blender doesn’t want me to finish it For helping me sculpt my prawn, I’m actually watching that same tutorial so I can remember how to set up the sculpting, add the mirror modifier and remembering how to save the blend file. I did start on it early last month (in May) and when I saved it and closed it, my reference picture that I was using disappeared on me. So I have to se what I forgot or didn’t do so I can restart my project again.