Welcome to the world of Zar, one of Tellwell’s gifted in-house illustrators. As one of our newest team members, Zar has quickly become a top choice among authors looking to bring their stories to life. From his unique approach to working with authors to his expert insights on what to look for when selecting an illustrator for your book, this post is your chance to get to know Zar and discover how his talents can elevate your storytelling.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I am Eleazar Daligdig, also known as Zar and @zaroncanvas on IG, Twitter & Facebook. I am a visual artist & illustrator, the CEO of Zar on Canvas, an art director/illustrator of Dungeon Diaries, and a former art teacher at Artissimo Arthouse.
‘Tis the season to be jolly indeed! Meet Tellwell design-team member Gerardo Basilio. Read on to hear about his approach to book-cover and interior designs and how he adds whimsical or colourful touches to them!
Tell us about yourself.
I am Gerardo Basilio “GB” Faelnar. I have lived in Zamboanga City for almost 20 years and decided to become independent by going to Cebu after working in a startup in Zamboanga for a year. I graduated from Ateneo de Zamboanga University, where I was given a basic introduction to InDesign. The IT courses were more about web design and computer animation, so I put my feet in deep water when I applied and got hired by Tellwell.
I am really thankful to the design team for giving useful tips on solving certain obstacles I encountered since day one. Also, just throwing this out here, I have a twin!
What did you do before joining the Tellwell team?
I was an in-house web designer for a US-based company before joining Tellwell. Every design my employer needed was done by me, but no books. My first book-designing experience was with Tellwell, and I still find it fascinating to read the unique ideas that authors want to incorporate into their designs. I look forward to reading more creative briefs with out-of-this-world ideas.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy creating cover designs and hitting the right expectations as requested by the author. I also enjoy creating creatures or characters for illustrations that are not common (putting life into something that is not yet discovered, imaginatively speaking).
I enjoy the times when an author asks me to if they can put my name on the book cover or interior. But most importantly, I enjoy making authors happy.
Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
When I go out on errands or buy groceries, I try to find time to go to bookstores and look at the trending books. I browse through the internet to look for inspirations, too. I visit Pinterest, Dribbble, and Canva, and search for the top cover designs of a specific year/style. Also, re-reading the book description and author biography gives me outside-of-the-box ideas.
What type of book covers do you absolutely love doing?
I am still looking for a genre to focus on, but I keep in mind that using only one specific hat will hinder me from growing. By adapting to other genres I am able to create a variety of covers, which is a must-have skill for any designer. This skill can be applied to other mediums as well.
So, to answer the question specifically, I like doing photo-manipulated covers, as it helps sharpen my Photoshop skills.
Why is it important for an author to take their time to consider and review the interior of their book?
Even though the interior may look perfect now, there will always be a tiny error (it may be an extra period or space, or a missing comma) that the designer or editor might have missed. Taking your time at every step of the process will definitely be worthwhile, as you learn new things about book publishing and in return help Tellwell staff better understand the story behind your book.
What advice do you have for authors working with a book designer?
Keep instructions/description short and concise
Expect colours to be different from your original file submission
If you have a detailed costume for a character on your cover with a specific pose, a creature that no one has seen yet and so on, then its an illustrated cover
Properly plot corrections/instructions on revision PDFs
How does interior design help elevate a book?
A well laid out interior can help readers understand the content of a book better. Even small details when added on plain text, like an image or icon, will greatly help readers visualize an object or character better. Using different font sizes and styles will give hierarchy and help with flow for the readers. The striking effect that the author wants to exhibit will still be there even if there are no pictures.
What are some of the favourite projects you have worked on?
Premium covers: I can create my own designs while honouring the author’s requests, so hopefully they’ll like my idea better than the original concept.
Illustrations projects, especially my first illustrated book, entitled Cheeky Dog Duke.
We’re always excited to celebrate our incredible authors and highlight their glorious achievements.
This November is another incredible month for quite a few Tellwell authors. Make sure to read through and experience recent author celebrations including award wins, media mentions, events, and incredible reviews!
Starting strong is Author Al Rosen. We are proud to share that his book, Avoiding Swindlers, received an excellent review from Reader Views.
Taking a complex topic and simplifying it for the average reader is no easy task, but the author has used his decades of experience as an investigative accountant to boil down a series of examples, wording it in a way that captures the urgency in layman’s terms.
Detailing how companies are getting away with misleading financials and, at times venturing beyond audited statements to real estate “get rich quick” scams, this book educates investors on what they need to look for in each to avoid getting swindled.
If you’re looking for your next go-to read, make sure to grab your copy of Avoiding Swindlershere.
Make sure to check out Unhallowed, written by James D Thorn.
For young detective Ozwald Shields, becoming a police detective was all that he had ever dreamed about from the time he was very young. Nothing could prepare him or his veteran partner, Terry White, for the journey they were about to embark on with the discovery of their first victim in a string of gruesome and horrific murders that were about to occur.
Join these detectives on their spine-chilling journey on the hunt for such a dangerous and sadistic killer. Will they catch and stop this murderer in time? Immerse yourself in the story of Unhallowed as this first time author, James D. Thorn, takes you on an intense tour throughout the neighborhoods of Boston to find out.
Looking for your next story to read by the campfire?
Make sure to check out In BlackBurn Hamlet: Mommaletti’s Ghost, by Paul Toffanello.
The story of Mommaletti’s Ghost is about a man who becomes a ghost outside of Nonno’s Pasta Shop and thinks he wants a serving of spaghetti. If he doesn’t get it, he chases little kids to their homes, and they had better make him some pasta, or else!
If you’re into a captivating tale from the past . . .
. . . take a look at Plenty to Hide by Moira Leigh MacLeod.
It’s 1948, and Mabel is happily juggling the demands of being a wife, a mother and the owner of the town’s most popular bakery. Life is full and good.There is a wedding in the offing and plans for a special homecoming, but things quickly begin to unravel.
A violent attack, a tragic accident, dirty politics and a shocking secret that forces Mabel to confront a troubling moral dilemma, combine to create a page-turning narrative that is, at times, playful and fun; at others, shocking and sad. As she did in her debut novel, The Bread Maker, and in its sequel, Or So It Seemed, MacLeod’s latest work grips readers with its surprising twists, colourful characters, powerful imagery and rich dialogue. Readers will feel as if they stepped into a bygone era, eavesdropping on the lives of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. A beautiful story about love, loss, deception and depravity, Plenty to Hide will keep you guessing what’s next for Mabel and the unforgettable cast of characters who come to life on the pages of this rich and moving tale.
Make sure to check out In a Raven’s Shadow, by Peter Browning.
Torment is a terrible thing; it festers and consumes and is nurtured by each ugly experience. The teacher is a product of his past—left embittered by events best forgotten. He is a loner, avoiding any social contact that might inflict pain or distress. His classroom is his refuge, an island of solace, a place where he can embrace the innocence and kindness missing in the outside world. When one of his favorite students suffers a gruesome death, he reaches a breaking point. But will a new dark path destroy him?
‘The raven gave a loud caw, flapped his wings and took to the air . . . this was an invocation impossible to ignore.’
Are you wondering what new books to add to your reading list? We’ve got you booked!
Two of our talented Tellwell authors are hosting giveaways this month, which means that you can add two new titles to your digital bookshelf for free. Check out these September giveaways!
Looking for your next epic and thrilling adventure?
Make sure to take check out Beginning of Arrogance: Book 1 of A Paladin’s Journey by Bryan Cole.
Paladins are nothing but trouble. Stories about paladins are everywhere, noble warriors riding magic steeds into battle against terrible foes. Champions of their gods. Heroes to everyone, except those who already have everything. Paladins are notorious for upsetting the balance of power, to the detriment of any who don’t worship their deity.
So when Krell is called to service by the capricious god of the seas and skies, ReckNor, those with wealth and power can’t help but be concerned. ReckNor hasn’t called a paladin in years, and his nature is ever-changing and erratic. The fact that Krell is also an uneducated nobody with a stubborn streak as wide as the sea turns their concerns into fear.
All of which matters less than the threat clawing its way from the waves, ready to turn the ocean red with spilled blood . . .