Anatomy of a Book Trailer
It’s a pleasure to have Kyle Floyd on the blog today. Kyle is the artist who designed and drew my book trailer for my first novel, Relics. Which will be released May 1, 2013 by Crescent Moon Press.
Working with Kyle was an interesting, fun and rewarding collaboration! He is such an easy artist to work with, bringing his ideas to table and making my book trailer look better than I could have ever hoped. I’m always in tremendous awe of people who can draw. I cannot draw stick people. Seriously.
Since I couldn’t afford to do the “film” style of trailer, photos seemed the obvious choice and what most other trailers out there seemed to use. But I wanted something different and decided original art might be a fun change from photos.
Read on for more about Kyle and “Relics – The Book Trailer.”
Kyle was recommended to me by one of my friends and beta readers. We initially exchanged emails where I explained what I was looking for, sending Kyle several book trailers to watch as examples. I also needed a logo for the podcast MythBehaving and hired Kyle for that. He delivered an awesome one, as you can see here on our podcast site, MythBehaving.
Next we tackled the trailer. I wrote up a script, explaining what I wanted for slides. Kyle and I met and we talked about artistic styles. Originally we talked about digital art, but I also love the “watercolor” style of art I’d seen in Guild Wars 2, a popular MMO. Kyle and I decided that would be the style for the trailer.
There was also one set of special effects that I wanted. It was much easier explaining those when we were face to face and I could use my hands.
We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on the trailer and I’m so very pleased with how it turned out.
Now let’s shine the spotlight on Kyle!
Maer: Kyle, would you please explain how you took the script and turned it into the wonderful visuals used in the trailer?
Kyle: First off, thank you for having me. This was an awesome project to work on, especially since it was my first chance to get my feet wet in the “film” aspect of design. It was also my first multi-illustration project, and it was a little daunting at first, I admit. I decided to approach it the same as any design project: first research, then sketch and sketch and sketch until I find the looks, poses, angles, and shading that fit the mood of the script. Once the groundwork was laid, it was all about experimentation, working and reworking the images until everything fit.
Maer: What inspired your color choices?
Kyle: I’ve always loved the way that light plays when shined through crystals and gems, such as you’d see in a museum display. There’s a mystical quality to it, the way it dances from warm and cool, unpredictably. You can really get lost staring into it, and I thought it was a great way to bring the portal to life in an interesting way, and to cast light on our character, Gabriel, in a way that revealed only enough to catch his form. I think it worked out well.
Maer: Since this was your first book trailer, how much of a learning curve did you have to take all of the elements and combine them into the trailer.
Kyle: Not only was this my first book trailer, this was also my first crack at serious digital illustration. I’ve used traditional media plenty, but using a computer drawing tablet took some getting used to. Let’s just say I’m happy to be computer savvy, because much of the learning curve was leveled by knowing how to navigate the software I used.
Maer: I particularly loved the special effects you used, such as the lights to show the pulsating of the portal and the wings across one of the last pictures. Where did you get the ideas for those and how did you incorporate those ideas into the finished trailer.
Kyle: A lot of my solutions come from just setting a goal, and experimenting until I find something interesting. I definitely knew that the portal needed some effect to show change, other than just one slide having a larger portal than the previous. I tinkered around with a lot, but the solution wound up being very simple. In a slideshow, when two slides transition into each other, the images take on each other’s properties for a short time. Therefore, bright lights will double their luminosity during the transition. It turned out to be just the effect I was looking for. As for the wings, I needed them to help make our character the malicious being he is. Drawing inspiration from other evil angel-type characters, such as one from the game Diablo, I played around with design and lighting until I found something that contrasted menacingly with mystical mood of the previous slides.
Maer: Was anything particularly fun to work on?
Kyle: After all the sketching, the digital illustration phase of the project was a lot of fun. There is just so much you can do with the medium, and there are plenty of incredible digital artists out there who are happy to share their knowledge online for free.
Maer: What was the most difficult element to work on?
Kyle: Hammering down a design for Gabriel was probably the most difficult part of the project. He needed to be menacing and imposing while maintaining the sort of elegant poses that ancient being might have. I think character design in general is a challenging task, and while it was difficult, I was happy for the challenge and the opportunity to learn.
Maer: What is your process in creating a project. Do you have any rituals you follow?
Kyle: Yes, I always start with research and put all my inspiring finds into a folder. Any visual reference I need goes into this folder and I when I’m done I just start sketching. Anything that comes to mind goes into a sketch folder and I refine them down later to until I have a set of solid ideas that are interesting, unique, funny, or whatever I’m trying to achieve. Then I go digital, scanning my refined sketches in and beginning to play with colors. It’s all refinement from there, and I’ll usually keep working and reworking right up until the deadline.
Maer: Do you listen to music while you create and if so what inspires you?
Kyle: Oh yeah, music is essential, especially when there is a certain mood I am trying to illustrate. Thankfully the internet is teeming with every kind of music there is. I especially like to listen to epic movie scores when I’m drawing, they pump me up.
Maer: Thank you so very much for taking the time to chat with us today, Kyle. And a very special thanks for giving me a unique and beautiful trailer. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Kyle: Thank you very much, and it was my pleasure. You’ve also given us a unique and interesting story in Relics, so thank you!
It was a fun collaboration and one I hope I gt to have for Book 2! If you’d like to get in touch with Kyle, you can email him at the following address:
kfloyd.design at gmail dot com