The Drawing Challenge Update, the Making of a Book Cover, and the Parable Award

So, over the past few weeks I had decided to crazily add a goal to my already-packed life...to draw something every day for a month. Well, I haven't succeeded. I have drawn something for about 5 days from each week, so while I haven't met the challenge goal, that's still better than no drawing at all. And honestly, now that I'm working on book cover elements, I'm counting sculpting toward the challenge. I made it up. I can do that.

You see, since I am published through a small press, I can choose to take as much control over my cover design as I feel I have the chops to manage. As always, I've bitten off more than I can chew. My current project involves sculpting a crazy stone-bladed dagger that figures into the climactic danger in Valor's Worth, and it currently looks something like this:
Completely impractical in terms of use, but hey, it's job is to intrigue readers, not actually be functional.

Once it's dry, I'll be repairing it, which is inevitable, with the way air-dry clay tends to shrink. And like a real knife maker, I didn't run the tang all the way through the grip, so I knew there would be some degree of separation between the blade and the grip. (Again--for display only, not use. Not even extensive handling, really.) Once the repairs are finished, I'll build a pommel that looks like a ram's head (I think...still deciding), wrap the grip in either wire or a leather lace, paint the blade in a stone texture, and add beading. That should dress it up sufficiently. The beading should be the easy part, especially since I've already tried my hand at that in building last month's chalice.

Then it's on to scroll tubes and diagrams and a handful of other set decorations for the photo shoot. It may be that I can't paint, but it looks like I'll have my artistic fingers in this cover by hook or by crook.

In other book cover news, I've also opened the Parable Award for Excellence in Cover Design to reader/author/publisher suggestions. Being entrenched in my own cover, one could say I have cover art on the brain. Well, the corner of my brain that isn't working on conference registration and logistics, house renovations/packing/moving, my kids and husband, my day job, or (soon) edits on Valor's Worth. But over the next month, if you haven't already, I'm taking suggestions of covers my committee should consider for a $100 prize and recognition as the best cover in Christian Speculative Fiction for the year 2012. So if you know of a cover that is deserving accolades, go read the article I linked to and submit your suggestion right away!

So, what are your thoughts on the pieces I'm pulling together here for my own cover? Remember, friends don't let friends have bad cover art. I'm counting on you to tell me if I'm headed in an awful, cheesy, confusing direction with all this!

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