I'm just all sorts of squirmy giddiness today because I'm so excited to share the cover for Lady Katherine's Comeuppance with all of you. Have I mentioned that it's coming out August 14th?
I was so thrilled with the cover that I invited designer Anthony Walsh to visit my blog and answer some questions. He was kind enough to agree and I think you'll find his interview very informative.
But first....get ready....
|Coming August 14th |
Isn't this cover wonderful? After designing a couple of covers myself and then rejecting the first cover LazyDay sent, it made me wonder a bit about the whole process, so I am thrilled to have Anthony Walsh here to answer some questions about himself and about cover design.
Celeste Jones: Anthony, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a Cover Designer with Lazy Day Publishing.
Anthony Walsh: Hi Celeste, Thank you for the interview and I'll try to keep this answer as short as I can... I have been active in graphic design for around 16 years now, I simply fell into by accident. At the time I was playing in a heavy metal band and we were doing a lot of shows that were of a DIY nature. We had nobody that knew how to make flyers for the shows we were putting on, so I decided to try my hand at it. Armed with nothing more than a version of the windows 95 paint program, I set out to design a flyer for an upcoming show. After much trial and error I was able to at least give the flyer an artistic edge. The flyer was really well received and I continued to produce them for most of the concerts that were happening in town. It was then realized that I really enjoyed working with graphics and wanted to continue doing so. I was able to get my hands on an early version of Photoshop and the whole world of art and graphic design was opened up to me. After finishing high school I went directly into an art college and got my associates degree in Graphic Arts. Shortly after that I did a great amount of freelance graphics for websites,bands, teams,businesses, magazines, etc. Fast forward a few years and I come across an ad to be a cover designer, and as luck has it I was studying publication design and had even taken it on as a hobby. I contacted Lazy Day and they had me do a skills test, they loved it and had me start doing covers for them. So far I have done about 15 covers for them and I love every bit of it.
Celeste Jones: What are some of the challenges of your job?
Anthony Walsh: I have to say that one of the biggest overall challenges would have to be taking an idea from the author and turning it into something that they love. This is also my biggest thrill, I get such a great sense of satisfaction when I hear the author’s comments and words of appreciation. As far as the design process goes, I think the main challenge is to incorporate most of the author’s ideas and suggestions without the cover becoming too busy. This is usually remedied by trial and error, I like to change the elements of the cover around to where I feel that it is the most eye catching and appealing to the reader.
Celeste Jones: I know that Lazy Day asks its authors to complete a Cover Art Questionnaire for each title. What suggestions or advice do you have for writers which would make it easier for you to create a cover for them? Is it helpful if they direct you to other covers or artwork that they would like you to emulate or does that just create more confusion?
Anthony Walsh: I love the questionnaire! I think that it really helps the author paint a picture with words to help the designer create what they are looking for. My advice for the authors would simply be, take a few minutes and try to envision the cover in your head before filling out the form. I think that this helps get a more accurate description and also creates a better understanding of what the author wants to see on their cover.
It is helpful to have a reference, however as a designer I usually wouldn't want to copy the cover completely. I would like to have a more original approach to the design process but when in need I reference a cover or piece of artwork that has been done before. I am in a constant state of learning new things and sharpening my abilities so I always keep an eye out for elements that I think could be useful. I have at times looked through Amazon and other bookstores to gather influence, especially if the cover I'm working on wants something unique to the genre or I notice something on a cover that I think is particularly amazing. Confusion has not been a huge issue as of yet, but you never know what the future holds :)
Celeste Jones: Can authors who do not publish with Lazy Day hire you to design covers for them or are you strictly a Lazy Day guy?
Anthony Walsh: Lazy Day are wonderful people to work for! However I do work as an independent designer and I always love working with new clients. I am in the process of starting a cover design service of which Staci and Mark of Lazy Day have been a huge help and inspiration. They have always been such a tremendous support and I really can't thank them enough for all they have done for me. I will always love working for them.
Yes, I would love for authors to contact me about doing covers for them. Like I said before, I am in the process of starting a new cover design service entitled THE COVER ARTISAN. It will mainly cater to the self published and unsigned authors but I encourage anyone that needs design work to contact me. The website for the service will be launched in the very near future. It will be a wonderful pathway to easily getting your cover art work done for a very reasonable price . I have yet to solidify a domain at the time of this interview but with with your permission I could drop a link for you to include into this interview once it has been launched. That would be wonderful! Let me know.
As always, if anyone is interested in having my help with their book cover or any other design needs all they have to do is drop me a line. email@example.com
Celeste Jones: What do you think makes a particularly good book cover?
Anthony Walsh: I would have to say some of my favorite book covers are the covers that catch your eye, even if you don’t want to look ;).I think a good book cover should capture your interest and hold it with no intention of release. I enjoy when the cover can tell you a story in just the first few seconds of looking at it. I most always like a cover that has the just the right amount of simplicity while also maintaining depth. Balance is definitely the key when I look at a particularly good book cover.Celeste Jones: I think that for many authors, especially those who are considering self-publishing, designing and creating a cover seems to be very intimidating. What advice do you have for the do-it-yourselfers out there?
Anthony Walsh: My advice would be to not feel overwhelmed with the project and make it as fun as you can. One of the first things that I realized when I started creating covers was that it was always best to take a few minutes to visualize the story and the characters. Read over the notes and ask yourself a few questions. How will the characters look on the cover? What will they be doing? What colors best represent the book? Are there any special items that are integral to the story? What type of fonts would work best? Why is the sky blue ;)? Usually after that I sketch out a few designs, either mentally or on a piece of paper and then I put on some music and get to work. With that process, I have found out that it tends to lessen the intimidation factor quite a bit.
Celeste Jones: Anthony, I’m sure you’ve noticed the two fabulous covers I made for my two self-pubbed books: Underwear Probation and The Birthday Wish. If I were to create different covers, how could I improve them?
Anthony Walsh: They are great covers Celeste! I think that you have a basic idea of what you want to see on them. I would probably only make a few changes. I would definitely take advantage of the open areas to use more decorative fonts and perhaps even add an ornamental aspect. I think that they would look good (Underwear Probation especially) with a nice vignette and a some nice shadow and light play. Other than that I think that the covers have a nice solid base and could only use a few minor adjustments. Hmmm. I think you're being too kind, but thank you.
Celeste Jones: Anything else you’d like to share?
Anthony Walsh: Thank you Celeste, I had a wonderful time with this interview. I also enjoyed working with you on LADY KATHERINE’S COMEUPPANCE and look forward to working with you again in the future. I would also like to thank LAZY DAY PUBLISHING for all the support and encouragement. Again I would like to remind the readers to keep an eye out for THE COVER ARTISAN design service and if you need any design work done, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!****UPDATE**** Anthony now has a Website and Facebook Page. You can find him at The Cover Artisan and on Facebook and on Twitter @TheCoverArtisan