Why, yes, I studied art in college. But I learned to draw naked people by hand.

…not on a computer.

On Friday, I received a design concept from the cover artist I hired and I squee’ed like a teenaged girl. I was so excited–it’s exactly what I want, and there aren’t any naked male torsos or heaving bosoms included. Which makes me happy.

I also signed up for a Goodreads account, something that’s about five years overdue. I read a lot of reviews there, I’ve just never bothered to sign up for an account. Like joining Facebook and Twitter, I was a wee bit slow on the uptake.

I’m a total ebook convert–I bought my first-generation Kobo the day it was released–and I’m a romance junkie. When I was mulling over my options with Supernova (do I submit it to a publisher or do it myself? How do I go about doing it myself? Am I completely nuts for wanting to do it myself?) I studied the covers at bookstores, both at the Chapters up the road from my apartment, online bookstores, and Goodreads (I’d already made my decision subconsciously). And I noticed a lot of the same stock photography.

Here’s the thing, though. It isn’t as if the same five royalty-free images are used over and over. I think there are a few dozen, if not a hundred, images I’d recognize if I saw them somewhere. I just read a lot of books to the point where I’d click on a title at AllRomanceEbooks because I’d seen the same model on two other ebooks in my Digital Editions library, but this time he was blond (and then the extent of my romance habit hit me…).

Like the title says, I studied fine art in college. In the interest of full disclosure, I never intended to go into fine arts as a career, but it garnered less mockery than studying creative writing (although I took courses in that too) and I figured I could apply what I learned to my zines, photography, and bookbinding hobbies. Fine arts just seemed like an acceptable thing for a writer to study, and there was less chance of me dropping out of the program due to lack of interest (it was my second crack at college, having dropped out of a law clerk program a year or so earlier).

While I can draw the human figure and keep it proportional and looking somewhat like the subject, I’m not a great visual artist. I find graphic design outright intimidating. I’ve tried my hand at a couple of basic graphic design programs, and it’s beyond me. Authors who design their own covers, no matter where they’re getting their images from, and make it look professional get mad admiration from me. I can’t do it.

I still love where my first cover is going, though. And I love it even more because I don’t have to design it.

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