I wrote a piece of short fiction a few months back about a rat and his discovery of something shiny in a dark alley. It was essentially a piece of anthro fiction, but it leaned more on the animal side of things when it came to that. The rat’s name was Fango and the brunt of the story was how he dealt with his new item and with those who wanted to take it from him.
The original cover utilized a penny as the object and I wanted desperately to illustrate both that and the fact that the main character was a rat. However, finding good pictures of a rat in a sewer was a fruitless endeavor. Flickr had a few pictures of animals under it’s creative commons license, but those pictures were often either an image of a rodent in somebody’s hands or in a cage or the images weren’t high enough resolution. Eventually, I bit the bullet and took a somewhat lower resolution image of a rat in a dark and dirty setting. It wasn’t a sewer, but he was depicted as coming out of a pipe and once I cropped it, the image seemed to work about right.
At the time, I was still getting the hang of title fonts and letters and was experimenting with textures. It took a few passes, but the end result was the picture seen here. I inserted a penny for good measure and at the time, I didn’t think it was that bad. Although, as time passed on and I worked on more and better covers, it was clear that Shiny Things needed an overhaul desperately. Actually, it wasn’t until my beta readers unanimously selected that cover as the one needing the most work that I decided to go through with it.
Realizing the market of free rat images likely hadn’t improved much since last year, something had to be done. At the time, I recently redid the cover of Beyond the Beyond using a public domain piece of art as a base image, so I looked into Wikimedia Commons for rat prints or paintings that were in public domain. As it turned out, more than a few existed that qualified as public domain.
The images below took several passes and I did not employ my usual saving protocols to show a progression of the transformation process. This is more of a before and after pic…more or less.