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Dylan Drake

Dylan Drake - Designer

Coppell, TX, United States

I have 15+ years experience designing engaging book covers, formatting beautiful interiors, and converting your manuscript to eBook format.

Overview

I am a book cover designer with a passion for illustration and typography. For my digital illustrations, I work with a Wacomb tablet, which allows me tons of freedom and is much more forgiving than working in traditional media. I also enjoy working with pen and ink, and create intricate interior illustrations for chapter headings, maps, and frontispieces.

When I first begin a project, the single most important thing for me is to first understand the audience. This comes from my graphic design background. Before I even pick up a pencil or crack open my machine I first need to know who the book is written for. Oftentimes the author might not even know, which is why I like to read the manuscript before I begin concept development. As my background is in traditional publishing in marketing and product management roles, I have a unique set of skills - both creative and business savvy.

My design process: At the beginning of a book design project, I send my clients a simple questionnaire to help me understand how they view their book. Then I read the manuscript or book for myself and discuss the design direction with the author. Once we agree on a direction, I ask them to send me visual examples of the style of art they envision. I also do my own visual research, gathering examples of current design trends and the covers of similar books together, then start sketching and brainstorming. I always submit at least three design directions for the author to choose from, and go from there. However, if the client is not satisfied, I do not charge for additional concepts or revisions until I give you just the cover you want.

Often I’ve found that authors have a hard time being their own art directors—simply saying they don’t like something doesn't really help the designer. So I ask a lot of questions about specific aspects of a design to see what it is they like and don’t like. It’s tough, but I do my best never to take anything personal—something I learned throughout my career. Design is so subjective—I could be in love with something that the client just doesn’t “like,” and it could be simply our different backgrounds and tastes. Maybe they just don’t like ice cream and I really thought ice cream was the best thing to put on the cover because I like it. So I try to remember that even though I’m the artist, it’s not MY art. It’s a collaboration.

One of the pillars of a well-designed cover is choosing the right font, or choosing to create a hand-drawn title. Nothing screams poor design like using a cliche font on your cover. It really is a pet peeve of mine. I love typography and have an extensive collection of fonts that I draw from for my designs, depending on the application.

In my heart I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, a bit anti-establishment. Publishers and agents are in it for the money and they aren’t too keen on taking a chance on an unproven idea. That’s why I believe in the independent publishing revolution. Everyone has a story to tell, and should never have their dreams of being a writer shot down because they received a rejection letter. Nothing inspires me more than seeing an independent author create a successful book. I truly enjoy helping them make that happen!

Services
Languages
English
Fiction
Adventure Crime & Mystery Fantasy Historical Fiction Horror LGBTQ Literature Romance Science Fiction Thriller Women's Fiction Young Adult & Teen

Certifications

  • Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design

Work experience

Freelance Graphic Designer

Dylan Drake Design

December, 2007 – Present (about 9 years)

Services: Book cover design, Book interior design, eBook formatting, Digital Illustration, Pen & Ink Illustration, Photo Manipulation, Beta Reading, Catalog design, Magazing design, Copy writing and editing, Web design & development; Email design; Social Media Marketing; Web Analytics; Logo, Advertisement design; ; Powerpoint presentation design; Packaging design; Photography and Videography. Clients: Author J.D. Lakey, Author Kit-Bacon Gressitt, Author Jean Nicole Rivers, Author Jackie Shemwell, Silver Dolphin Books, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, Thunder Bay Press, Helix Leisure, Enada Neutraceuticals, Oh-Bee Honey, iTan Solariums Inc., Silver Spring Networks, eBoost Constulting, Monzavi Consulting, Strive Personal Training Studios, Baker & Taylor Marketing Services

Product Manager

Silver Dolphin Books

January, 2007 – December, 2008 (almost 2 years)

Responsibilities: Product development including cover and interior design and editorial; Analyze customer sales data and identify strong titles in order to grow business; Execute and maintain current safety testing of all product; Manage inventory of over three hundred titles and maintain adequate stock levels for a wide range of customers. Accomplishments: Improved design of product by utilizing knowledge of visual communication in product development; Reduced expense and increased efficiency by initiating a drop shipment program direct to customers.

Marketing Coordinator

Advantage Publisher's Group

January, 2005 – December, 2007 (almost 3 years)

Responsibilities: Design and manage production of catalogs; Create sales materials for reps; Source and produce marketing collateral; Organize and execute trade shows; Assist publishers with product development; Write and edit copy for print and web catalogs; Photograph products; Brainstorm and implement marketing plans; Research new markets. Accomplishments: Reduced expense by designing catalogs and sales materials in-house; Cut overall cost of exhibiting at American International Toy Fair by thirty percent; Increased sales through targeted pre-show marketing to trade show attendees; Implemented and managed internship program.

Assistant Buyer

Advanced Marketing Services

September, 2002 – December, 2004 (about 2 years)

Responsibilities: Meet with publishers to choose best books for warehouse clubs; Present books to warehouse club buyers, Order and track shipment of books to customers; Project and monitor sales; Manage inventory and research discrepancies; coordinate with shippers, carriers, and warehouses to exedite receipt of freight; Source new titles for customers. Accomplishments: Acted as primary buyer for cookbook category during buyer transition; Increased sales by delivering successful presentations to customers; Streamlined department workflow by initiating team meetings to synchronize processes.

Portfolio (5 selected works)

Black Bead: Book One of the Black Bead Chronicles

J.D. Lakey

Best Seller: #1 in SciFi Colonization, Bestseller: Top 5 in Science Fiction 1/30/2016 Editorial Reviews: "Mesmerizing page turner" "A thrilling ride from start to finish!" If you liked Avatar and Ender's Game, you'll love Black Bead! On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behin... read more

Best Seller: #1 in SciFi Colonization, Bestseller: Top 5 in Science Fiction 1/30/2016 Editorial Reviews: "Mesmerizing page turner" "A thrilling ride from start to finish!" If you liked Avatar and Ender's Game, you'll love Black Bead! On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behin... read more

Bhotta's Tears: Book Two of the Black Bead Chronicles

J.D. Lakey

Life under the dome is simple. Work hard, follow the rules, be safe, do what is expected of you and you will be rewarded. Easy. But the Blackwind Pack has two problems: Tam - the alpha - aspires to greatness, and Cheobawn - his Black Bead Ear - is profoundly gifted, with a psi ability so advanced the elders of the village have yet to understand it. Following their nearly disastrous first foray... read more

Life under the dome is simple. Work hard, follow the rules, be safe, do what is expected of you and you will be rewarded. Easy. But the Blackwind Pack has two problems: Tam - the alpha - aspires to greatness, and Cheobawn - his Black Bead Ear - is profoundly gifted, with a psi ability so advanced the elders of the village have yet to understand it. Following their nearly disastrous first foray... read more

The Devil in Canaan Parish

Jackie Shemwell

The Devil in Canaan Parish is a southern gothic suspense novel set in south Louisiana in 1957. It tells the story of Bram and Sally Palmer, a middle class couple trying to keep apace with Sally's wealthy relatives, the Landrys, who own most of Canaan Parish. One night in late July, a tropical storm hits the small town of Techeville. Ira Meyer's shop is robbed and a stranger, Melee Mouton, arri... read more

The Devil in Canaan Parish is a southern gothic suspense novel set in south Louisiana in 1957. It tells the story of Bram and Sally Palmer, a middle class couple trying to keep apace with Sally's wealthy relatives, the Landrys, who own most of Canaan Parish. One night in late July, a tropical storm hits the small town of Techeville. Ira Meyer's shop is robbed and a stranger, Melee Mouton, arri... read more

Scifi Bestseller: Black Bead: Book One of the Black Bead Chronicles

J.D. Lakey

Bestseller: #1 in SciFi Colonization, Bestseller: Top 5 in Science Fiction 1/30/2016 Editorial Reviews: "Mesmerizing page turner" "A thrilling ride from start to finish!" If you liked Avatar and Ender's Game, you'll love Black Bead! On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind... read more

Bestseller: #1 in SciFi Colonization, Bestseller: Top 5 in Science Fiction 1/30/2016 Editorial Reviews: "Mesmerizing page turner" "A thrilling ride from start to finish!" If you liked Avatar and Ender's Game, you'll love Black Bead! On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind... read more

Scifi Bestseller: Spider Wars: Book Three of the Black Bead Chronicles

J.D. Lakey

Winter is a time of quiet industry under the domes. At least it should be. Calamity is stalking the tribes of the high forests. The storms have killed too many of them, man and animal alike and now the bennelk warn of a new threat coming at them from out of the Wastes. Follow Blackwind Pack on their third adventure as Cheobawn and Connor use their wits and their Luck as they explore the wild w... read more

Winter is a time of quiet industry under the domes. At least it should be. Calamity is stalking the tribes of the high forests. The storms have killed too many of them, man and animal alike and now the bennelk warn of a new threat coming at them from out of the Wastes. Follow Blackwind Pack on their third adventure as Cheobawn and Connor use their wits and their Luck as they explore the wild w... read more

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