Today on the blog, I’m joined by a very talented friend. As well as being a talented writer, Claribel Ortega is the founder and mastermind behind GifGrrl, a really amazing company.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, a gif is a moving picture! Like this:
Oh hey! It’s my book! Looking sharp!
I adored this gif, and I wanted to talk a little bit more to the creator! Without further ado, I’ll jump into the interview!
CD: Tell me a bit about yourself and GIFGRRL.
CO: It really all started as something to do for fun. I loved watching the covers of books come alive and seeing the authors reaction when I made them a gif. Eventually though, I realized that I could do that and also pay my bills! So I started GIFGRRL and now it’s pretty much a second (third??) full time job.
CD: What do you love about creating the gifs and trailers?
CO: I’ve always loved video editing. It’s been a hidden but well cultivated talent which started with my dad’s giant 1980s camcorder and some low-budget windows editing software. Making gifs/promo material is more than just trying to sell a product to me, it’s about telling a story. Maybe not the full story, but a tiny slice of what the book is trying to say. Bringing things to life, characters, book covers, the spirits of dead punk-rockers, are just a few of my favorite things.
CD: What’s one book you’d love to make a trailer for?
CO: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but WANT by Cindy Pon comes to mind as one of the best I’ve made so far. It just really captures the theme of the book, the colors and the motions were all on point. I also adored STARFISH by Akemi Bowman because that cover is just SPECTACULAR and it was so much fun to work with!
CD: Are there any challenging parts?
CO: Time management! I am a full-time book marketing human and author on top of running GIFGRRL. In just over a month I’ve already gotten over forty individual and two giant bulk orders. It’s a lot for a grrl to take on, but I have coffee and the cuddles of my doggo to help keep me going. Can you tell us a bit about the process? First, I stare at the book cover. Then I light candles and pray to the GIF-Gods™ – then I read the synopsis and stare at the book cover some more. I eat some snacks. Usually cheese-puffs. Sometimes I ask the author questions. I gather stock video/photos that capture the feel of the cover for me and start editing/manipulating them to further match the tone. I search for fonts that are similar to the one on the cover. I put it all in a blender and eat another cheese puff. One I have all the materials and my fingers are orange, I start putting it together. I then cut, and edit, and stare until I’m happy. One gif can take anywhere from ten minutes to two hours, depending on how involved I get.
This is the BroodyBook Illustrator’s webcomic!
CD: What inspires you?
CO: Many things! Music, books, chasing a sense of completion/fulfilment through art. Cheese-puffs.
CD: What’s your favorite part of the process?
CO: When I get an author’s cover and the ideas start flying at my face. The best feeling is when I just know what I want to make. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get my vision to match the end product, but I enjoy figuring out how to make it all come together. And then of course once I deliver the final product to the author and they tell me how much they love me! Being able to help people who are graphically challenged or have no idea HOW to build buzz for their books brings me joy. I just like helping people.
Thank you so much for a wonderful interview, Claribel! And remember, you can order your own gifs from this talented artist here: Gifgrrl.com