Monday, May 10, 2021

Designing Book Covers

Lucas Schneider asks: 
What would you say is the most important thing to consider when painting book covers?

Think beyond the point-of-sale function of the image.

Sure, it's important to get the potential reader to pick up a copy in the bookstore or to click on the image online. That's the main concern of the publisher, the art director, and the sales force when they think about your cover. Of course it should stand out from the competition and it should accurately convey the spirit, style, and type of the book.

But that's just the start of how the reader will relate to the image. The cover image also has to offer something to the reader while they're reading the book and after they've finished it. 

In other words, it has to be a poster that invites them into the adventure, and it must sum up the experience of the book after they've read it. 

Plus, it's important to keep in mind that the image will live entirely independently of the book, as you share it without the type on social media and in your portfolio.

For example, I wanted the painting for Glory Lane to present the odd situation of some American kids encountering a whole planet full of aliens far weirder than they are. The image is loaded with details that go beyond that moment in the book, making it fun for the reader to explore later. 

You obviously don't want to give away the story, but it's essential to communicate the genre, the main characters, and at least one provocative situation. 


Gareth Jones said...

I love a good book cover :) I think the book covers I remember most are by Josh Kirby for the Terry Pratchett Discworld series of novels. Seeing them as a kid really made me want to read the books (and I did!), they were incredible:

Yogasurfer said...

What size or sizes of sketchbooks do you use? I did a lot of searching and do like the plein air easel & clips used to attach the sketchbook. Are those available for purchase or is it a DIY? Love your artwork and generosity with the many videos. (FYI - I worked for the SONY executive responsible for 'building' Sony Imageworks and hiring Ken Ralston. Interesting times.) L. MacEwen

doforanimals said...

Interesting. I like the idea of giving the readers something to explore and find interesting AFTER they've read the book, as well.

Recently I bought a hardcover of a book (rather than an ebook) because of the cover. The book itself turned out to be disappointing but I'm keeping it on display so I can keep viewing the cover, lol.