I’d like to introduce you to the twenty-eighth interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. He is Ken Dawson. I debated whether to make this part of my author series or to make it one of my bonus interviews. It’s really both because Ken is an author and a graphics designer.

QUESTION: Hi, Ken! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a graphics designer and illustrator?

ANSWER: Hi Susan! Well straight after I left school I went on to study graphics, art, and animation. After my years of university I was fortunate to land a job for an advertising company where I’ve spent the past ten years. Although graphic design is my trade, my real passion lies in illustrating and writing.

QUESTION: How did you get involved with Holland House Books as a design consultant?

ANSWER: I met Sammy (of Holland House) on and struck up a friendship with her. She later invited me to produce the cover and trailer for a charity steampunk anthology. I think Holland House were pleased with what I’d done because after that they asked if I would like to come on board as their design consultant. For which I gratiously accepted.

QUESTION: What is it like to work with the authors on book trailers, promotional items, and general design? What is your favourite part of the process? What is your least favourite part, if there is one?

ANSWER: It’s great working on these projects alongside authors as you get a real insight and understanding to their work and world. My favourite part is obviously seeing the end result and getting the feedback from the author. You can only hope you’ve remained true to their vision and that they are happy with whatever work is produced. I wouldn’t say there’s much I dislike about the process, except when I run out of time and coffee.

QUESTION: Your artwork is amazing. How do you come up with ideas for book covers, posters, etc.? What medium do you use in your work? Is it all digital?

ANSWER: Thank you. As bizarre as it sounds, most of the inspiration for my own work comes from daydreaming, staring into space whilst listening to music. Also studying many many other artists, contemporary and traditional is a major source of inspiration. For the book covers and promotional artwork, I, Holland House, and the author will thoroughly discuss ideas until we all agree on one to go with.

I used to work mainly with physical media such as pencils and acrylic, but the process became too time-consuming and messy. I’d have to spend a day stretching paper on wooden boards then find space to put them all to dry before starting. Now I work almost fully in digital, using a trusty Wacom tablet and Photoshop.

QUESTION: Of all your artwork, is there anything you are most proud of?

ANSWER: I guess at the moment I’m particulaly proud of the work produced for Dean Lombardo’s novel ‘Space Games’.

QUESTION: You also write novels and screenplays. What inspired you to start writing? What kind of stories do you write?

ANSWER: During doing art at college, I used to draw and paint fantasy worlds and put short descriptions to them. Eventually the storylines behind them grew until I felt I could try write something based upon them. I’m determined to try my hand at most genres, although I tend to stick to stick to fantasy and science fiction.

QUESTION: Do you illustrate your own books? What is that like?

ANSWER: Time-consuming! Ha! It’s great being able to put images into a book you’ve written as I think you’re able to show the reader exactly what you’re trying to portray. Yet I know a lot of readers prefer to use their own imagination. I don’t think I’ll illustrate every book I write. Mainly due to the time it takes.

QUESTION: In your writing, are you a character/story builder or an outliner or do you use some other method?

ANSWER: I think I just start writing from a small idea and then just see where it leads, trusting that twists and story arcs will plot themselves as I go along. The set of novels I’m working on at the moment ‘Tapestry of Fates’ began simply with the idea of a young girl heading to university and getting dragged into a huge war. This has expanded to the point I have many novels planned around it.

QUESTION: What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?

ANSWER: I think what I love the most is building up the characters and putting them in situations to see how they react. If the writing flows easily then I believe you’re really in touch with your characters.

QUESTION: Which do you prefer: graphics design or writing?

ANSWER: That should be a difficult question, but it really isn’t. Writing is what I live for. Now if you’d asked writing or illustrating, then I’d struggle to answer. Ha!

QUESTION: Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your work. Thanks!

Twitter: @KennyDreadful
Book Cover Design Service: