Friday, October 11, 2013

Shades of Pink Interview - Magz

After giving you teasers of the stories included in the Shades of Pink Charity Anthology in September, this month I'll tell you a little more about the authors involved. I interviewed them with questions about their contributions, their writing life, their works in progress...

Today... not an author, actually, but our cover designer, Magz.

Kallysten - First off, thank you for designing the cover of the anthology for us. I think you did an awesome job keeping it classy and relevant, especially seeing how diverse the stories in the anthology are! Do you have one rule or principle that guides you when you design a cover?

Magz - You’re welcome! I’m happy to be involved in such a big project for such a worthy cause.

To be honest, if I’ve been poking and prodding at a design for longer than a couple hours and it still doesn’t look right, I scrap it and start again. There’s probably a step I missed, a layer or texture I could’ve added and didn’t, that would’ve made it work – and because I missed it and likely have no idea what I missed, no amount of swearing at Photoshop will turn the project around.

K - We’ve known each other for… gosh, a good dozen years by now, and I’ve seen your ‘design style’ evolve and grow in leaps and bounds. Do you ever look at older projects and think, ‘Oh it’d have been better if I’d done this differently’? How does one become better at graphic design? Any tips you care to share?

M - I look at all of my old projects that way. In my opinion, no matter what the project, there’s always room to improve somewhere. Sometimes when I look at some of my oldest graphics, I’m sort of horrified by Past Magz, but I’m happy to have had the opportunity to practice – and that’s the key.

Practice all the time. Make stupid little graphics for your blog or, as Past Magz did a lot, for your LiveJournal. Design things for websites. Make flyers for local events. Look up tutorials that’ll teach you techniques you couldn’t do before. Don’t expect to immediately profit off what you learn, but use it anyway. For example, I just learned to do comic book style graphics a couple months ago, for a CD label for my nephew’s birthday, and he was stoked with the end result. I didn’t earn any money for it, but I did earn a little adoration from him.

K - Other than covers, I know you’ve designed posters for various events. What was the most interesting project you ever worked on?

M - I was in the Italian Club in college; the professor in charge of the club found out that I knew the basics of Photoshop and put me in charge of PR. I managed to rope a friend into being a hand model for one of the posters; she made a very typically Italian hand gesture, I made it into a poster, and we increased our membership by about a third (it was a very small club).

K - You post a lot of gorgeous photos online. What’s more fun, taking a picture or manipulating it so it becomes something else?

M - That, I think, depends on the photo. Stock photos like the ones I use in your covers are very easy to manipulate – I can see where I want it to go before I start to work on it. But if I’m taking candid photos of family members, or taking landscape shots… a lot of the time I don’t want to mess with the beauty that my camera managed to capture.

K - Two frequent subjects of your pictures are your kittens. Do you want to share how they got their names? Are they the type who come site on your keyboard to watch you work on the computer or do they try to entice you away from that work?

M - My boyfriend had his cat’s name (ScratchFury, Destroyer of Worlds) picked out before we’d even heard of our kittens, much less adopted them. He reads PVP -- -- and at one point one of the comics featured a kitten with that name.

My kitten’s name came later, as we were driving home from meeting them for the first time. I’d picked out a feisty little girl kitty who quickly displayed her preferences for chewing on toes and beating up her brothers in the name of protecting her sunbeam – and thus, she became Boudicca Nomtoes when we brought her home.

K - Anything else you’d like to share?

M - I’m tempted to share the secret family recipe for fruit squares… but I think that might exact consequences. So… no. No I there is not. :D

K -  You evil woman!

Magz's cover designs can be found on

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