(I apologize in advance for all the links.)
I put a lot of images on this blog, but I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever acknowledged how huge an influence some images are on my writing â€“ particularly fantasy images. I donâ€™t know if this is a result of a lifelong love of comics and graphic novels, or if my love of those things developed out of a love for fantasy images. Early on it was unicorns, dragons, fairies, that type of thing; later, superheroes and action; later, just any wonderfully imaginative art.
Iâ€™ve realized that Iâ€™ve taken a few pieces and used them to set a mood, if you will, for my current writing, and to provide inspiration for the settings. Much like a soundtrack, but a visual one (and also more helpful to me, as I canâ€™t write with the soundtrack I compiled for this story). I also did this for the HOT SPELL novella, but that was with Poeâ€™s â€œThe City in the Seaâ€ poem and a few other art pieces. I might post those sometime, but right now Iâ€™m focusing on the WIP.
Almost every image suggests a story â€“ the clinch suggests a love story, I guess, but the images on the covers are often so similar any suggestion of originality in the story seems to be lost. I think that might be why Iâ€™m gravitating toward covers like those found on URBAN SHAMAN (for example). I think thatâ€™s also why I donâ€™t really like the â€œhero/torso striking a poseâ€ covers: they donâ€™t say anything to me, donâ€™t tell a story. They donâ€™t inspire me to make up a story in my head to fit the image.
But here are some that do (if you click, you get a larger image; some of the images Iâ€™m just linking to the artistâ€™s site for copyright reasons):
This is an image I found (strangely enough) while looking up info on a female romance cover model, and the process of creating a cover (thatâ€™s a future blog). Anyway, the site is great (the haven, by candylyn) and sheâ€™s created plenty of wallpaper images from comic art, fantasy art, movie/actors. Iâ€™ve set this image as my desktop at home (that wonâ€™t last long now that the in-laws sickness and traveling to India is over; I write over at their house while waiting for dinner, and I donâ€™t think I want them seeing this on my computer. They worry enough about me.) Iâ€™ve seen another version of this image, probably an earlier version, where she is holding a huge blood-splattered gun, but I like this one best. Itâ€™s the expression in her eyes, as if sheâ€™d been thinking, trying to come to a decision, and finally made itâ€”and sheâ€™s about to set out and do whatever sheâ€™s decided. Projection on my part? Definitely, and it doesnâ€™t hurt that my heroine looks something like this, that the background suggests a dystopic, hellish setting. Inspiration and mood-making galore.
I do like Luis Royoâ€™s art in general. Some of it is too pin-up for me (the image of the blond warrior-woman holding a sword and with a blood-tear? Blech. Me likey this one, though: NOT WORK SAFE!. Iâ€™m totally gonna write a story about a slave-man making out with a chick in the rain.) Iâ€™m not much for â€œposeâ€ art. But this desktop? This is pure Lilith.
And I canâ€™t write a story that includes Hell without Hieronymous Boschâ€™s Garden of Earthly Delights.
Bosch is one effed up dude, really. Similarly, the artwork of Michael M. Hensley and, specifically, his Descent into Hell.
Of course, I also have reference pictures that arenâ€™t fantasy: the houses and apartments where a few of my characters live that I downloaded from San Francisco real estate websites (taking into account their income levels and neighborhoods); the San Francisco Sunset District, Hedingham Castle and its layout and floor plans, Roman ruins near Colchester, England, London during the Great Fire of 1666, and others. Some images must be rooted in reality, but they still tell a great story. I have more, but I gotta get back to writing.
A story Iâ€™d love to tell someday? Right here.