Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Covers

Hi All,

One thing I've always been interested in is book covers. I'm fascinated by how they come together, the interplay between artist and writer (actually, there's very little of that; more like between artist and editor/publisher/marketing reps) to come up with a cover that conveys what the book's about, maybe, or else hits on certain sweet spots for the designated market or demographic.

I came across an interesting piece on that topic, linked to below:


It got me thinking about those 70s and 80s science fiction covers I used to love; I often found them more appealing and understandable than the words lodged between them. We used to have a huge box of them in our basement when I was a kid; I don't know how they got there, as neither of my parents were sci-fi lovers.

They didn't get read much, but I'd dwell on those covers forever. There were ones where it  seemed as though an immensity was going on—I remember one cover in a green patina, this endless phalanx of insectoid warriors trundling out of one of those typical sci-fi cities—spires corkscewing up to platelike living quarters, buildings canted sideways, everything beggaring both physics and gravity. There were ships zipping about in the air, alien zeppelins floating about; the entire cover was just seething with activity and it was kind of dizzying to look at. You really felt that whoever had drawn this, envisioned it, saw the world on a completely different level than the rest of us, the way some writers can envision scenarios that wouldn't dawn on 99.99999999% of us.


I also love Clive Barker's Books of Blood covers, the ones he drew himself. So much going on. I used to read the stories then stare at the covers, trying to pick out who might be the yattering, which person might be Clive himself, trying to find the cenobites or whoever. Great covers.

PS: I think that's Clive in the tattered photo, the one held by the grinning dude with the knife in his melon.

PSS: Clive Barker's a genuis.

Of course, there are my own covers. For Cataract City, there were two main covers, shown below.

They both dwell on different aspects of the book. The first touches on the fact that the narrative concerns two boys, friends, who are in ways mirror images of each other; so there's the Janus angle, I guess. But we couldn't use that image. So the other, final cover deals with greyhound racing, which is another aspect of the book. Two very different images.

I also came across this recently, posted below. It's the website of John Vairo, an illustrator and graphic designer who does a lot of book covers. Clicking on any cover and scrolling down will show you the different iterations a cover went through before a final, definitive image was settled on.


EASTER EGG: a book of mine is amongst those covers.

All best, Craig.

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