Monday, December 15, 2014

Where to Find a Great Book Cover Artist

They say don’t judge a book by its cover–but we do. The cover art has to grab our attention while conveying the tone of the story or a scene from the narrative. And if the cover falls short, we won’t go any further.

Publishers have staff illustrators or freelance artists they use. But if you self-publish your book, you’ll have to find an artist on your own. (Unless you’re already a professional artist and understand cover design.) How do you decide which one? And what type of artwork works best?

M. Pax’s artist is Erin Dameron-Hill, a graphic artist who uses stock art.

M. Pax also offered this advice:
My advice for hiring anyone - personally talk to the authors who have used the artist. I mean, send an email and ask. Just because an author gives a credit, doesn't mean he/she was pleased. I think talking to other authors is the best way to find a graphic artist. If you see something you like, contact the author.

Some artists incorporate computer animation into their covers. Gwen Gardner uses Corona Zschusschen, a Dutch artist.

Others use more traditional means, often with stunning results. Cherie Reich called upon Laura Sava to do her latest cover.







 

Ultimately, you want your cover to look as professional as those produced by a traditional publisher. And if you select a good artist who can accurately capture your vision, it will. Below are three covers–one by a self-published author, one by a small press, and one by a large press. Would you know which one is which?

Now, where do you find a cover artist? Below are websites that list numerous artists and illustrators. And don’t forget to check with other authors for their recommendations. Find an artist with a good reputation, produces quality covers, and who can successfully capture the spirit of your book!















36 comments:

J.L. Campbell said...

You're right, Alex. Self-published or not, we must put our best foot forward in terms of that first impression on a reader. Thanks for the links and for the great advice.

Linda Kay said...

Shelley Glasow Schadowsky, goodlifeguide.com has done a wonderful job for me on two covers now. She does an excellent job of interpreting my thoughts.

Pat Hatt said...

Covers sure can make or break, thankfully with all the kids books artists I know, I can get many done easy enough.

Fundy Blue said...

This is really informative, Alex! There is so much to the publishing side of getting a book out there! I'm glad that I found the IWSG, because I'm learning so much! Have a great Monday!

Christine Rains said...

Readers see the cover first. It has to make a good impression. I used Erin Dameron-Hill for my latest cover too. She's awesome! And very affordable.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Those are some great covers and all very professional. That first impression is so important.

Bish Denham said...

Wow! Not only an excellent resource, but the covers! Fabulous.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Alex,

COVERS are super important for sure! Talking to satisfied author's is definitely the way to go. Word of mouth is a great way to find out about the "cover" experience. Since I am a cover artist, I am THRILLED when a new client comes to me via a recommendation from a satisfied customer.....

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad this will be a good resource for everyone!

Patricia Lynne said...

There is a thread on Goodreads that is for cover designers to share their links and portfolios. I always go there when looking for cover artists. I don't always find one, but it's a good resource. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/837698-book-cover-artists-illustrators?order=a&page=18

Gwen Gardner said...

You really can't tell the difference between who did those covers. They're all awesomely professional! Thanks for featuring my cover by Corona! She's so talented.

M Pax said...

Definitely can't tell the difference... although, I think Erin's look best, but I'm biased. lol Thanks for the feature, Alex. Pro cover art is a must to compete these days.

Cherie Reich said...

I know the difference, but only because I know who published how. If I didn't, it would be very difficult to spot. Cover art is probably the most important thing beyond having a great, well-edited book. You only get one first impression, and a cover can say a lot.

Carrie-Anne said...

I'm looking to use outside cover artists for the books I'm releasing next year, though it's hard to find a lot of cover artists who still do hand illustrations instead of graphic design. I just like the old-fashioned, more personal look more. It's also important to have similar ideas and know what the artist has done before. I'd be so angry and annoyed if a cover artist gave me, against my wishes and tastes, yet ANOTHER headless bare chest, headless person or partial body, or almost-kiss.

cleemckenzie said...

I've been dealing with finding a cover artist this whole month. So much to consider. Wish I'd had this earlier. However, I did a lot of research and I finally found an artist I think I can work with. I'll be posting about my experience soon.

Michelle Wallace said...

Thanks for all these links.
I'm always sucked in by great cover art.
M. Pax's covers are PERFECT!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A great list of resources. I'll have to add some of them to the self-publishing page.

Catherine Stine said...

Indeed, these covers are all great!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great list! I agree - a cover is a BIG deal!!

Nick Wilford said...

There are some amazing covers out there including all those above. Really can't tell the difference with how it's published. I was lucky enough to win a design from a cover artist a while back. I haven't started the process yet, but her covers are stunning and I hope it'll be a great relationship.

Karen Lange said...

I agree. A good cover is priceless. Finding someone who can help you find the right one is really important.

Leandra Wallace said...

I love looking at cover designers' websites! It's like crack for me. (tho I have no idea what crack is really like...) =D But yes, professional is the way to go. You should never fudge on a cover!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mary and Alex - it's a talent I'd love to have .. there are so many creative ideas out there ... love the books that bloggers produce - they're so clever ... great post with your ideas and links .. cheers Hilary

Adhi Das said...

Captivating Covers!! MERRY CHRISTMAS & A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR:))

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Leandra, I have know idea what crack is like either!

Dean K Miller said...

In the market soon for a new cover (or two!)...thanks for the additional leads. I know what I like and that seldom translates into a good book cover!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love those covers!!! This is a great post on finding great cover artists. The only reason I can tell the difference in those last three is because I know who was published where . . . but otherwise, the covers are all awesome!

Intangible Hearts said...

I can guess only because I follow Alex's blog. All three are nice books! Great list though and I think next time I'm going to use an illustrator but I love the cover I have for my current novel.

Lisa said...

What a GREAT post! Thanks so much, and what great art is out there....

Lisa said...

Thanks for the info.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Excellent post We all look at the covers. It's hard not to.
Heather

Lynda R Young said...

I really like Mary's advice to talk to the authors first.
Fantastic post, Alex

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Great resource, Alex. Thank you so much.

G. B. Miller said...

I definitely agree that a good cover can make or break a book. I have one self-pubbed book that I'm extremely unhappy with the cover, but in order to fix it, I would need to upgrade the content as well. Even if you're extremely happy with the cover, if the title doesn't match up/convey with what the cover implies, you're toast. I was extremely lucky to get a 2nd chance to make a better impression with my book, and I didn't even give a 2nd thought about who I would use as a cover artist. I went with the one that did my first cover. In my case, it helped that not only was she a staff cover designer for my former publisher, but she was a talented author as well.

Father Nature's Corner

Ella said...

Thank you, Captain! The cover paints the potential and is a major selling point, but I do agree with G. B. the contexts best match the expectations! Yes, toast-yikes~

Great info and thank you Mary for adding your experience, too! I love posts like this-

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad everyone got so much out of this post!