- Graphic Design Professional -
Today I welcome another creative person. The world is full of them, but some are better than others. This particular creator is from Miami, Florida, and she designs book covers - Tamian Wood. Throughout this interview you will see examples of her amazing work. Welcome, Tamian ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COVER DESIGN JOURNEY.
Hello fans and followers. I'm Tamian Wood, Graphic Designer and Book Cover Artist with Beyond Design International, based out of Sunny South Florida, USA. I design book covers and other related marketing materials, for independent authors and publishers around the world, in a variety of genres.
-- Looking back, I realized my very first toe dip into graphic design was when I created the logo for our Junior Achievement company, Sunbelt Fashions, back in high school. Junior Achievement was/is an association meant to teach young people about how to run a business. Sunbelt Fashions sounds a lot swankier than it actually was. All we really did was screen print a few T-shirts - but it was fun, and I did learn a little bit about business, between sneaking out for a smoke, listening to some very loud head banging music and flirting with the boys.
You’d think I was already set on that path, but really, it took me FOREVER to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. For years I had an aching, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that felt like I needed to create something beautiful. After all manner of odd jobs, (see the partial list below) I started working for a company that created slide presentations. I was the bookkeeper, but the girl who created the slides started teaching me how to use the software, and oh BOY was that FUN! I HAD to figure out how to get more creativity in my life.
Years went by and I learned more and more and I started doing some freelance work on the side here and there, until the company I worked for downsized and I got laid off. A blessing in disguise really, because it afforded me the opportunity to go back to college and finally get my degree in Graphic Design. Even though I had already been working in the field, it shored up my confidence to know that I really did know what I was doing, and I had a piece of paper to prove it.
WERE YOU GOOD AT DRAWING AS A KID?
I was, but I had a bad art teacher shoot down an “abstract” assignment as “WRONG” and lost my passion. To this day I find it hard to believe that someone could call something “abstract” wrong. Bad teachers have no idea the long lasting harm their criticism creates in young impressionable minds. I believe that’s why it took me so long to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A DESIGNER?
After the 12 years I needed to recover from high school, and countless dead-end, uninspiring jobs, a misguided Computer Science degree, I finally found my passion in creative expression, and earned a second degree in Graphic Design.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A COVER DESIGNER?
I had an astrologist client tell me that based on my charts and such, that my purpose (dharma?) in life is to make others shine. Wow! What a lovely purpose! I love that I get to create beautiful - and sometimes purposefully NOT beautiful - things that make others shine.
It is my joy -- and my dharma -- to bring to life the words of others and make their work shine! But I also do all kinds of other print work including bookmarks, promotional materials, trade show banners (for book signings… wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) and even billboards (for when my clients get really famous).
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A DESIGNER?
DO YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF, OTHERS OR BOTH?
I work for myself, but I collaborate with others to include things like web site development, video trailers and e-book conversion to my services offered.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A DESIGNER?
-- petrol station attendant, secretary, sandwich maker, pizza order taker (they wouldn’t let me make the pizzas) manicurist, accountant, cashier, retail sales associate, tech support rep,…and the list goes on, and on – did I mention it took me FOREVER to figure it out?
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED SCHEDULE?
I always say, I work when there’s work, but I draw the line at 2:00am on rush projects. That’s just WAY past my bedtime, and nothing good can come from that.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
At the risk of not being able to exit the room from enlarged head syndrome, I’ve chosen 3. ;-)
“The whole reason I bought that book was because of the cover!”
“Gorgeous!!! I want to read the Book now!”
“The book is selling well. At the huge New Orleans conference, everyone loved the cover. The bookstore owner there put it right up front [because] of the cover design.”
I chose these three not because of the warm, fuzzies they always create for me, (though that’s a bonus too) but because they tell the story of what a professional designer can do for your book. Get YOU noticed.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
“I was willing to pay you for good work, but this is beyond the pale.”
One of the only jobs I started without a contract or down payment because the client was in such a RUSH and had to have it by the weekend. Pretty sure she was fishing for ideas and just didn’t want to pay. I’m still watching to see if the cover comes out with my design or something close to it.
HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
Yes, I’m excited to say! I designed and laid out the cover and interior for a literary magazine for three years. The magazine itself won 102 awards while I was at the helm. I personally won around 35 awards for a variety of things like cover design, logo design, story Illustration, photography, best overall design, typography, etc. I won’t bore you with them all, but if you are interested, you can find them all here http://www.tamianwood.com/Awards2.html - The one I’m most proud of is the 17 Annual Florida Print Awards – Best of Category.
WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
For me, that one award was an unimpeachable source of confirmation that I wasn’t deluding myself. I really could design, and design well enough to impress.
OTHER THAN DRAWING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
My darling husband and my furry, four legged son (and, depending upon any given day’s events, not necessarily in that order, my plethora of VERY good, soul mate friends and anything to do with the water… Fishing, scuba diving, boating, snorkelling, or just plain sitting, listening to the waves roll in.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I LOVE my job so much I hope to keep doing it LONG into the future. I know that sounds cliché, but it really is soooo true. I can’t imagine not doing what I love.
I’ve included a few of my favourite cover designs here, (some in various stages of completion/publication) but if you’d like to see more designs, my web address is www.BeyondDesignInternational.com for the latest and greatest, follow me on Pinterest and Facebook.
Feel free to stop by and click “like” to see the latest cover designs as they happen.
Thanks so much for making it to the end. Live long and prosper.
Clancy's comment: Well done, Tamian. I admire anyone who can draw anything better than stick figures. Excellent covers.