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WANTED: for artistic debauchery!

Today's guest is the marvellously talented artist and author Anne Cain. Just take a browse through the top e-publisher sites and you'll see evidence of her lovely artwork on book covers. There are plenty of readers' favourites and award-winners, too :). I'm honoured and thrilled to have her here today to share some of her work. And maybe in 2010 I might get a chance of one of her covers for something of mine *heh*.

these are some of MY favourites

Anne's blurb: As a freelance graphic artist, I work for several print and e-publishers, as well as private clients around the world. Whenever I'm not doodling away in a sketch book or chained to the PC, I spend too much time reading yaoi and watching anime. I'm also a writer with a passion for gay romance. I love making new friends on LJ, so if leave a comment or add me to your Flist, I'll happily return the favor. ♥

some of Anne's own books

Anne's talking today about inspiration and motivation - and offering a Free Download to one lucky commenter :).


WANTED: Anne Cain, for artistic debauchery and chocolate addiction

Occupation: Artist, designer and illustrator by day, author by night. Full-time nerd. She creates covers for a number of online and print houses, including Loose Id, Dreamspinner Press, Sourcebooks, and Dorchester Publishing.

MO: Photoshop, color pencils, pastels, and photography.

Weapons of choice: Dell XPS and Wacom tablet.

Useless mutant power: the not-so-super ability to always forget where she puts her keys.

Latest novel: Beautiful Boys, Loose Id.

Works in Progress: Pawprints: Packmates and Erid, release dates: 2010.

Latest book she has read: Astonishing X-men: Gifted, by Whedon and Cassaday.

APPROACH WITH CAUTION - Anne Cain has a tendency to ramble when provoked.

I dunno, Clare...maybe it’s not a smart idea to let me run around unsupervised on your blog. I tend to stir up all kinds of trouble with pictures of semi-clothed guys, and the goodies I give away usually have too much kissy stuff going on and/or cat boys... ;) So just to give fair warning, everyone who comments will be entered to win a free download of a novel in my entire backlist or a signed copy of Happy Yaoi Yum Yum, which has some pin-ups illustrated by yours truly. Whee!

Cover illustration for ”All For One”, coming soon from Dreamspinner Press. (c)2010.

Since I get to run amok on Clare’s blog for a while, I thought I’d share something kind of fun with everyone. :) First off, we’ve all had those moments when our personal Muse decides to hitchhike to Cancun for the weekend, right? Even if you’re not an artist or a writer, there’s something in your life that you (usually) love to do, but there are some days when you just can’t get yourself enthused or motivated enough to do it. (Daily exercise routines come to mind...*cough*) Thankfully, I always have plenty of different projects on hand to keep a mental block gum up my work queue when it comes to art. If I’m stumped trying to find a good visual solution for one assignment, I’ll take a break and work on a different one until the answer presents itself. What also helps to keep things nicely shaken and not stirred is to work in a wide range of styles and subject matter so each project is fresh and exciting. Sometimes I’ll illustrate something in a manga style, or I’ll mix photos with digital paints, and so on. And when I need to take a break from illustration and design in general, I regularly head to the easel to work on fine art projects. A still life a day, keeps the Muse ready to play...

”Mujer”, A portrait from late last year, 19”x25”, conte on paper. (c)2009.

It’s the same deal with my writing, though I’ll confess to letting writer’s block derail my storytelling much more easily than I do with my art. I’ve tried chugging through a story to bang out the words, cleaning it up later. But afterwards the story usually feels very forced--my struggle is right there, in between the lines, and it makes for a very stale, not-so-fun read. I think I’ve slaughtered at least three Works-In-Progress using this approach over the past year. (Also, this phenomenon of trying force something that doesn’t want to cooperate isn’t limited to writing. If you keep an eye out for it, you’ll spot in music albums and movies too. I just tried rewatching AI: Artificial Intelligence the other day and it’s painful to sit through--you can feel Spielberg struggling to make his film style work with Kubrick’s and it is awful, awful, awful.)

So what do I do to help get past a creative block with a story? I reach for my sketchbook, that’s what! I’m learning to chill out and let a story find its own path to completion by drawing the characters and getting to know more about them in the process. A lot of the sketches are pure junk, but it’s a fun exercise and I do learn a lot about the guys (and the occasional gal) I write. And it’s a great stress reliever to just doodle without consequence! We all grow up drawing and coloring as kids, but somewhere along the way, a lot of us forget about the joy of doodling. Today, we are going to rediscover that joy--hopefully. ;-)

Female character sketches for a story I was workin’ on. (c)2008.

I’d like all of you to reach for a piece of scratch paper or maybe dust off an old sketchbook, and just draw something--anything. Who cares what is and what it looks like, as long as you have fun doing it. It would be really, really awesome if you share the sketch with us here, but if you don’t feel up to Show and Tell, maybe share with us some other stuff you do when your creative energy needs a recharge. :)

Doodles for a Dexter web comic/doujinshi idea I’m still cooking up. (c)2009

~~Anne Cain~~

Anne at Live Journal.
Anne at DeviantArt.



Today's Quote:
"New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time." James Agate

Today's Daft Google Searches for 'Clare London':
"Make paper Christmas trees from old magazines and junk mail" hmm...not sure my skills are up to this :)


Follow this month with Clare (look at the goodies so far...):

Jan 08 : Jessewave shares her love of bright, shiny guys but wonders - tongue in cheek - where the less shiny ones are!

Jan 01 : The New Year is ushered in with the release of the Immortal Fire anthology IN PRINT.
Jan 02 : author Chrissy Munder wonders whether following current affairs in our writing is delightful or just dates us.
Jan 03 : author Madeleine Urban describes how her characters hijacked her brain...a willing victim!
Jan 04 : author Theda Black describes how her writing has been influenced by everything from a bionic penis to the power of Pan.
Jan 05 : author Josh Lanyon shares some exceedingly good books with us and asks about *your* recent reads.
Jan 06 : author K. Z. Snow questions what all the fuss is about authors 'making shit up'.
Jan 07 : Josie aka 1more_sickpuppy compares her life and friends online and off.

Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Email me at clarelondon11 @ hotmail.com and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: pictures credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.



( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 9th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
Oh wow - look at the Musketeer cover! Whee! I'm not a fan of the yaoi style--but I recognise the skills - but I really love the way your historicals are going--it's the way that they should be moving along. (by that I mean the genre in general, not your art!)

I can't draw at all - I wish I could. I SEE things in my mind's eye, I know what I want for a cover and can usually describe it well enough, but entirely unable to portray anything. I came up with the idea for Standish - and this is the cover I have in mind for Junction X (if I can ever sell the bugger...)

Great post - thanks Ann.(and Clare!)

Edited at 2010-01-09 10:47 am (UTC)
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Erastes! :D I'm really having a great time doing historical illustrations lately, and I've started looking at a lot of the artwork from those periods for inspiration. There's some Caravaggio in the color schemes "All For One" (the musketeer cover) and in the earlier book in the series, "Checkmate". Hopefully, that adds a little more historical flavor to the artwork.

Being able to clearly 'see' what you want in an art piece is sometimes half the struggle. And you do get your ideas across very well! Your concept for "Junction X" is dramatic and catches the eye.
Jan. 9th, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)
Great post, Anne and I just love your covers :).

I can't draw for toffee, not at all. My Mother-in Law art teacher keeps telling me that everyone can draw, that it just takes practice, but I just don't get a sense of enjoyment or pleasure or fulfilment out of doing it.

It's interesting though that for you it's a source of inspiration or to wake up the muse. I find that if I'm struggling with an idea, it's best to leave the keyboard alone and go and do some mindless task, or take a bath, or go for a walk. Then whilst I'm doing that my brain is ticking over ideas and I usually find it comes together when I go back to the lap-top.

Thanks for sharing your lovely drawings and I'm looking forward to seeing what other commentators produce.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Aww! See, I know what your Mother-In-Law means because it is true--anyone can draw and there's no such thing as bad art if it brings the artist personal joy and satisfaction. But that's just it: if it's not fun, then don't force it. :D You're already creative in a very powerful way through your writing, and I bet in other ways too. (Making a damn good cup of coffee, for example, is an art. I kid you not.)
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Like almost everyone else in the world I can't draw worth a damn, but I do enjoy your drawings on your website as well as your cover art which I admire muchly.

You are an extraordinarily talented artist and a large percentage of the covers on my site have your name on them. Too bad art is not something that can really be taught to a no-talent like me.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
You're too sweet, Wave! And also too hard on yourself! *pokes* There's no such thing as a 'no-talent', because as a teacher once told me, art is about expressing your thoughts and ideas anyway you want to. :D Illustrators and designers have to worry about making things 'pretty', but art itself is sooo much more than that.
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
Okay, listen up, Anne. You have way too much talent for one person. You're like a one-woman monopoly. I don't know which government I have to petition to get this talent broken up and spread around (specifically, in my direction), but I'm working on it.


You go, girl.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Bwahahahaha! I'll say it again, KZ: you're awesome. :DDD
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
LOL that wasn't rambley!! (Best kind of trouble with semi-clothed men!)

But I agree forcing through your block doesn't always work (atleast for me) I do much better skipping ahead (or onto something else) and then going back to it.

*stares at her sketch book* it's been soooo long since I drew anything... Maybe i'll have a go...
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
Do it!!!! Pick up that sketchbook and show no fear! Doodle something! :D
(no subject) - thought_ribbons - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thought_ribbons - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 10th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thought_ribbons - Jan. 10th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 10th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
i've found over the past year and some, that when i really, truly like a book cover, it's one done by anne. she has some of the best lines on her characters, so evocative.

grabbing a sketchbook to derail writer's block sounds ideal - for someone who has some sort of artistic talent. ;) the majority of us have to find some other means. but, i think the key you point out is, find something else to distract your mind and don't focus on what you can't do, but more what you can. and have fun with it.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, m'dear. ♥ And you're absolutely right--even if drawing isn't a person's thing, any kind of different activity can help recharge the brain's creative batteries!
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
I'm still just drifting through the beautiful covers posted here. Lovely, lovely stuff. I tend to avoid my own sketchbook as when I open it up there's all these eyes staring back at me *shiver* (nope, nothing Freudian there at all).

It's so sad and true that as we grow we lose our joy in crayons. One year I received this coloring book as a gift and loved it.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I love coloring books! That Art Deco one looks beautiful and fun, too. Do you still have it? :D
(no subject) - chrissymunder - Jan. 9th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 10th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your sketchbooks with us, Anne! Hmm. I haven't pulled out a sketchbook in a long time. Obviously it's time. :)

To recharge my creativity, I like to go for long walks, camera in hand, trying to see hidden mysteries around me.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Photography is so, so much fun! Do you have any pictures from your last walk? I'd love to see them! :D
(no subject) - egret17 - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - egret17 - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
I wish I could draw like that. You are really talented. It's cool that you have an outlet to help you write. I usually read or watch a movie. :)

Thanks for sharing!

Jan. 9th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for coming by, Jambrea! I'll confess to using movies as a way to recharge also, or I'll pop in a DVD while I'm working on a project for inspiration. I'm doing that with a series of Nuada illustrations I'm painting for emmyjag--I have Hellboy 2 playing in the background and I'll look up from the drawing I'm coloring whenever I need live-action inspiration for the prince. ;)
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Your one sketch reminds me a bit of Ryuhei up there. :P

Erid, release dates: 2010

OMG did you sell this? *hopes hopes hopes* That early draft you showed me last year was very very cool.
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yeeeeeuuuuus...and no. XD Which means, that if I can't finish the MS within the next month, it's not coming out this year. Crack the whip on me, Ms.B.
(no subject) - b_sheridan - Jan. 9th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
Lost my first post, let's see if this goes any better...
I don't like noise when I'm writing, so if I need distraction, I dip into another WIP that better suits my mood, or read a book I'm looking forward to. Though if I have TOO many different projects on the go at the same time, I can lose track of what head I'm meant to be in! LOL

And here are some rather naive attempts at manga / cartoon that I've done in the past. Too little time and not enough patience to ever learn better! The colouring and animation was done by friends, I only did the outlines :).

Jan. 9th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
Squeee! These are so sweet, Clare! I love the two cuties getting cuddly in the animation, and kitty boy is ADORABLE.
Jan. 9th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
*pokes* must that finish book!

Just popping in to say hi, since you already know how I worship you♥♥♥ My library is literally wallpapered with the pretties you've very graciously done for me, and you never get mad at my incessant begging for MOAR!ARTSES.

Towel Boy and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. He likes sleeping above my bed *nods*

Jan. 9th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, (((((EMMY)))))!!!! It's always my pleasure to make stuff for you--I know you give these boys a good home! :D And, you're just awesome. Nuff said.
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 23rd, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
As you know, Anne, I am one of your most favorite fans, but other than that, I consider you my friend, so I am thrilled by your success and all that you have done.

I am amazed at how versatile and talented you are. Each character that you have done is unique, and beautiful. And it is not only your men that I love and think are gorgeous, but your women, as well.

I hope that you will continue blessing us with your beautiful works of art and your writing. Plus, your new creation "All For One", looks absolutely Yummy, and I cannot wait for it to come out!! \(^▽^)/

As an owner of several of your art creations and all of your books, I can say to those that are just now discovering you, they will certainly not be disappointed by everything that you come out with, because the stories are innovative, exciting, intriguing and full of sexy men!!

Good Luck in whatever you do, but I certainly do not have to say that because I know that you will be successful in all that you do in the future!! *smooches* ╮('◡'✿)╭
Jan. 10th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, Pugsley!!! You always have such kind words to say, and you are such a sweetheart. I'm so happy you enjoy my art and stories--readers and friends like you are the reasons I love what I do so much.

Annnnd, you are also a very talented painter yourself, m'dear! The work on your deviant art page is beautiful. ♥♥♥
You're a winner! - annecain - Jan. 23rd, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 10th, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Ah Anne... You're so insanely talented. Love ya bunches!
Jan. 10th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)

Now, c'mon...share some of your pretty drawings with us. I've seen you rock a few sexy guys in pencil. ;)
(no subject) - libras_art - Jan. 10th, 2010 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - annecain - Jan. 10th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - libras_art - Jan. 10th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pugsley - Jan. 10th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - libras_art - Jan. 10th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 10th, 2010 05:31 am (UTC)
Mujer is breathtaking! {{{{Anne}}}}, I knew you were good, but that is great! Love,
Jan. 23rd, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you, JM! I've been getting in touch with my Fine-Arts-self these past few months. ♥♥♥
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