Behind The Cover Art





     How often have you seen this comment by readers?

 “I was drawn to the book because of the beautiful cover.” Or sometimes, you see this. “The story was great, but I almost didn’t pick it up because of the ugly cover!”

Writers labor over a manuscript for weeks, months, and sometimes, years. Once it’s accepted by a publisher, their “baby” goes through several processes before it finally hits the shelves. One of the most stressful of these steps is choosing a book cover. First, you have to decide which artist will be able to bring your vision to life. Do you want it drawn or Photoshopped? Do you have a preference for colors? Should there be nudity, or should we take a more subtle approach? What type of background did you envision? What do your main characters look like? Did you wish to convey passionate love or not? The questions are endless, and most writers provide more information than necessary. It takes a skilled artist to sift through the jumble of words and pull out the key elements of the story to create the perfect cover to showcase our work.

Join me in acknowledging the men and women who provide their expertise to make our cover art the best it can be. Other than the initial round of applause when a book releases, they don’t get enough kudos, and I'd love to help change that. Each month I’m going to showcase a new cover artist to give them the online time they deserve. It’ll also serve as an opportunity for you, the reader, writer, publisher, and aspiring artist, to pick their brain. Feel free to comment and ask questions. At the end of each month, one winner will be drawn from the list of visitors to win a $25.00 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.

It's my pleasure to present Allie Cooper as this months featured cover artist.

You’re a relative newcomer in the cover art scene so a bit of a mystery to most of us.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ever since I was a kid I liked to draw. I remember drawing pictures for my friends in school and I always thought that one day I would write children’s books and illustrate them. It wasn’t until I was out of college (the first time) that I thought about doing graphic design work. So that’s what I’m going to school for now. I’ve been married for 9 years and I have two young dogs that and a full time office job that keep me on my toes.

How did you get into this field?

A longtime friend has been editing/proofing and heard about authors needing covers for their books and asked if it would be something I would have an interest in doing and, of course, I said yes.  So he’s put me in touch with the clients I’ve worked with so far.

Do you have a degree in graphic or fine arts?

Not yet. I’m still working on it. I go to school part-time so it will be a couple more years, but I love learning something new every day that I can use to create.

Are there any cover artists out there who have inspired or influenced your work in any way?

I’m not familiar with many other cover artists. I am incredibly new to this field, so I’m still trying to get a feel for the whole thing.

Does any genre appeal to you or are you strictly m/m?

I’m interested in any genre. Like I said before, I always thought I would illustrate children’s books, so I’m happy to work on book covers for any genre as long as I am able to let the creative juices flow.

Do you prefer drawn or photo shopped covers?

I have literally been working with Photoshop for 17 years, so I am incredibly comfortable with the program and with graphic design of any kind. However, I am also a visual artist, so that appeals to me, as well. I think there are merits for both. Photoshop is easier to throw something together quickly, whereas hand crafted covers can be very specific to an idea.

Most of us wear several hats.What are some of yours?

Wife, dog-mom, aunt, artist, student, teacher, writer, cook and friend.

People often ask me where I draw the inspiration for my stories and my standard answer is “everywhere.” Where does your inspiration come from?  Is it the book blurb, the writer’s specs, or none of the above?

Generally I take inspiration both from the book’s subject and from the writer’s ideas for what they want. My goal is to create a beautiful cover that the writer loves and thinks fits their book perfectly.

Would you like to do this full time if you had the option?

I would love it. Eventually I will work on my graphic design full time, whether it be book covers, logo work, websites or something else. I’m happiest when I’m creating.

Book covers, like fashion, are trendy.  What have you noticed out there lately?

The good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve seen spectacular book covers that draw the eye, that are understated and subtle and get the idea of the book across beautifully. But unfortunately, I’ve also noticed that some seem to have been put together by someone who does not have an eye for design. I’ve noticed that typography and fonts seem to be taking precedence over illustrations and images, too. Typography is so important and I love to see book covers that can be read on a thumbnail or from far away.

Would you like to see something different?  If so, what?

I think that minimalistic styles are underrated and should be used more often. It often doesn’t take much more than a great title to peak the reader’s interest. Accompanied by a simple image or illustration, the title in a fantastic type would look spectacular.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Designing full time, creating works of art that writers are proud to have attached to their books.

Here are some of the preliminary designs that were offered to the author before the final was picked.




















You can contact Allie here:
Allie Cooper
www.alliecooper.net
allie@alliecooper.net


Comments

  1. I can't imagine the difficult choices that authors must make in choosing a cover, but like you said at the beginning it can sometimes make or break whether a reader will purchase it or not. I try not to be "prejudiced" and look beyond the cover to read the synopsis of a book, but sometimes it's hard to do. Good Q and A session. I really enjoyed it!

    Later,
    Daphne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to read, Daphne! A good cover is so important and I'm so glad people appreciate that!

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  2. I confess that - even though I know it shouldn't - a bad cover often dampens my enthusiasm for a book. Ebooks not as much because I don't have to see the cover every time I pick it up, but on a paperback it really does make a difference. So I truly appreciate the hard work that goes into making a terrific cover and admire those that can do it (my stick figures would not be sexy at all!)

    Thanks for your insight!

    Kat

    condrons1997 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think even well done stick figures could make a great cover! Thank you for reading, Kat!

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  3. I'm one of those people who would pick up a book because of the cover, though I haven 't not purchased a book because I disliked the cover, if I know the author or the story sounds fantastic, the cover dosen't matter and mode of a nice bonus :-)

    fehureads at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we are all guilty of judging a book by it's cover initially. I also sometimes judge a book by it's title. But that's why the cover is so important! Thank you for reading, Fehu!

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  4. I try not to pick books because of the cover but do find myself avoiding those with cartoony style artwork because it makes me think of childrens books. Most of my books however are chosen because I have read the blurb somewhere and been intrigued by it.

    ilona
    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A good blurb is just as important as the cover, and as I said above, so is the title. Thank you for reading, Ilona!

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  5. A cover does send a clear message about a book! There is one author, whose covers do him and his books a disservice! I almost want to come out of retirement to do his covers for him. Whew, I won't have to, because of new designers such as Allie Cooper! Good type makes or breaks a cover, so take as many type classes as you can!
    Urbanista
    brendurbanist@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it so heartbreaking to see a terrible cover on a book you know is wonderful? I've taken a bunch of type classes and I'm really grateful for the insight they've given me. Thank you for reading and commenting, Urbanista!

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  6. I admit, I am a cover whore. If they're authors I've never heard of, I'm most likely to skip it due to it's cover. If they're authors I've heard of in one way or another I give all their books, covers aside, a try. But yeah, the majority of my book purchases rely on covers. :P lol...

    Judi P
    arella3173_loveless@yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't blame you, Judi! I do the same thing, often enough. But I also have to be drawn in by the title and blurb, so those are extremely important, too. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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  7. I like how you're interviewing the cover artist. The cover is just as important to the reader as the story summary when buying a book.

    Cynthia
    schan26.wisc@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree with you more, Cynthia! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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  8. I do like the more minimalistic covers, though I suppose they take more thought to get the message across with less image!

    Suze
    Littlesuze at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suze, they sure do. But that's a challenge I really love, when I can figure out what sort of image or typeface is going to really speak to the reader! Thanks for reading!

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