Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview with Katie of Sophistikatied Reviews

This week I got the amazing opportunity to interview Kaite of Sophistikaited Reviews. I talked with her about her awesome book blog, remarkable graphic designs and wonderful taste in books.

Katie's mock movie posters for Need by Carrie Jones, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton 

Would you mind introducing and saying a little about yourself for my readers? 

Hi readers! I'm Katie from Sophistikatied Reviews and KD Designs. I'm twenty-one years old. I'm an aspiring novelist, a huge bookworm, popcorn addict and an avid cartoon watcher.

Why made you start designing mock covers and posters for books like The Dark Divine by Bree Despain and Need by Carrie Jones?

I was looking for something fun and different to do on my book blog; something that had never been done before. After making a mock movie poster for Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and posting it on the blog, it just kind of hit me how this could be my new feature. So every week since then, I've taken books that I love (and even some that I don't!) and gave them a movie poster/new book cover. It seems to be really successful! 

It's very successful with me! I love looking at fanarts for books. (There are never enough!) Seeing artists drawing/designing is always cool, they advertise wonderful books and encourage people to read more. I've started reading the Wondrous Strange series because of your art. :) 

Did you take any classes or look at any tutorials before starting to design or are you self-taught?

I've been doing graphic design since I got my first computer at age thirteen, and I taught myself. I look at tutorials every now and then to learn new techniques, but for the most part my skills came from playing around on the program.

Looking at all of your fanart, it's hard to pick just one to like. However, being a curious person, I have to ask, which of your pieces is your favorite? Or the one you had the most fun working on? 

I think there's more frustration than there is fun when it comes to making my pieces, but I definitely have favorites! I think some of my faves are Sisters Red, Firelight and The Hunger Games! I'm especially proud of myself for those three.

Now, as a designer do you look for specific scenes in books to illustrate or do you try to come up with a design that reflects the book as a whole? 

I try to take the book as a whole and go off of that, but if I can't do that, I try to recreate specific scenes. In some cases, I'm able to do both, like my piece for The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan. In that poster, I reflect the book in general while depicting a certain scene right down to the setting. I love when my imagination allows me to do that!

Could you tell me a little about your designing process? Like selecting the images and right effects for the final product? 

First - the images; essentially the most important step in the process. I search stock sites for hours and save images until I feel I have the right ones. Next, putting them together, which is exactly how it sounds. After that, the effects. I try not to go overboard on the textures and brushes since I try to have some professionalism to my work, but if I need them, that's when I use them. Finally, the text; the title and the movie credits. And that's about it!

How long does it take on average to create one of your pictures? 

It's usually a 5-6 hour process if I don't procrastinate. But some have taken me as short as fifiteen minutes and as long as three days!

So, I have to ask the two most important book blogging questions there is... What is your favorite book and What is the best book you've ever reviewed? 

I guess those questions kind of go hand in hand. I could never pick just one favorite book though, there are tons! Brightly Woven, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Sisters Red, Graceling ... there's so many! And if I love the book, reviewing it is always a great experience! 

I love those books too! Reviewing books involves a little bit of work, but you're right, loving the books definitely makes it more fun.

 I noticed your blog is going almost to three years old now, that's just amazing! How does it feel to have gone on so long blogging? Did you ever have any doubts about how long you would be doing it? 

Thank you! It feels amazing! Wonderful! Accomplishing! I'm very proud of myself. I definitely had doubts about how long I'd be doing it. When I first started it, I kind of wrote it off as something I'd do for two weeks and then tire of. But I made so many great friends in the book blogging community and had so many great opportunities that I stuck around - and I'm so glad I did! Sometimes book blogging feels like a job, but the greatest job ever!

That's just completely awesome to me! I can't wait to make friends with book bloggers like you. :) I'm very glad that you never stopped working at reviewing, otherwise we would be out one seriously cool blog.

You run a weekly feature on your blog called "Fanart Fridays" and I was wondering why you started the section? A chance to show off your amazing pictures perhaps? 

Okay, I'll be honest, I did want to show off a little. ;) But it was mainly started to make my blog stand out. I wanted to do something that no other blogger was doing and using my skills every week just seemed like a good idea at the time!
It is rare, usually only fansites contain fanarts and it's difficult to access them sometimes. I think it is important to have a something special to make you stand out, to really make your blog your own. I'm still trying to find mine.

What is your favorite part of running a popular review blog and why? 

The people! Oh my gosh, I can't even form words to give justice to the amazing people I've met and befriended! It's like living in a small town where everybody knows everybody and we're all friends!

That's definitely a good reason to do this! Being able to make friends with someone who shares your passion, books, and have a conversation them is always fun and exciting.

Finally, do you have any advice for new bloggers like me, just starting out? 

Focus on the content, not the free books. Seems harsh, but if you pine for galleys and ARCs and free books right off the bat, you're going to be very disrespected, disappointed and you'll most likely lose interest more quickly. Buy books! Go to the library! Borrow from a friend! And my second piece of advice - make a Twitter account and start interacting with other book bloggers! They're some of the most amazing people ever and they're definitely always willing to help a newbie blogger in need! 

Thank you for the advice, I'll be sure to take it!

Once again this was the fabulous Katie of Sophistikaited Reviews, be sure to check out her blog and graphic design site, KD Designs. She makes buttons, bookmarks, blog headers, postcards and many other things! Her work is spectacular, as you can see, and she is raising the money to go to BEA this year! Please give her a chance!

-Happy Reading, 

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