The Search for Cover Art

Hey everyone!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve decided to pursue self-publication for my high fantasy novel, The Sword of Dragons.  While in and of itself exciting, it also means something else really cool: it is finally time to find an artist to create the cover art!

For me, this is both terrifying and incredibly awesome!  I’ve never really given a cover title serious thought, as I was so focused on writing the book and then finding an agent or publisher.  I had discussed basics of covers with some friends, but never did I really think about what the cover art would be like.

Now the moment is fast approaching, and it’s time for me to start thinking about it.  And I’m coming up with a blank.  Do I want an iconic scene from the novel depicted?  Do I want something more abstract?

I’ve always heard the saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover” but the fact of the matter is that is always the first thing we see, even in ePublished bookstores.  And in the land of marketing, you have to first catch the readers’ attention before you can actually entice them to read your product.

That is one reason I want the cover to stand out.  I want people browsing Nook or Amazing to go “Woh!” and hone in on the cover.  I want it to be something that stimulates their imagination from the very moment they see it, and compel them to see what the novel is about.

Crimson Drake - http://butterfrog.deviantart.com
Crimson Drake – http://butterfrog.deviantart.com

There are several iconic scenes from The Sword of Dragons that might do the trick, but the question becomes which one would be best?  Is it when the hero, Cardin Kataar, finds the villain already holding the Sword of Dragons?  Or when the villain assaults the ancient city of Archanon with an army of orcs and drakes?  Or when the Star Dragons return?

With this question in mind, I intend to revisit some of these iconic scenes, to picture them in my head as I read them and see what emotion they evoke.

I have also begun the search for an artist.  Since I am going the ePublication route, this will be my greatest up-front cost.  I have a few in mind, but one in particular caught my attention over 4 years ago: Ruth Thompson.

I have a print of this painting hanging above my fire mantle :D
I have a print of this painting hanging above my fire mantle :D

I first met her and saw her artwork at the Phoenix Renaissance festival in 2010, and knew then that her portrayal of dragons was perfect!  She has a way of capturing their beauty and elegance that I’ve never seen before.  So tonight, I sent her an email inquiring about commissioning cover art from her.  Here’s hoping she has the time and is affordable!  To see more of her artwork, check our her website, redrooart.com.  Trust me, seeing them on your screen pales in comparison to seeing them in person!

In the mean time, I also intend to visit a bookstore this week and to browse the Fantasy section, focusing only on cover art.  I know there are many styles out there, and I want to see which appeals to me most.  I want to see which one feels right to me.

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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2 thoughts on “The Search for Cover Art”

  1. I’ve been making basic cover designs in photoshop for fun and as a creative outlet, since it requires less of me physically than pencil-and-paper art. :) It’s exciting as a writer to realise that you have a whole novel which requires a real cover!

    I hope you strike it rich and get a glorious design from your Artist of choice! A strong visual combined with a good/readable font makes my inner graphic designer very happy. ;)

    ~Erica

    1. I wish I had the skills to make cover art. I used to do CGI artwork but it was all static, hard-objects like, well, Star Trek ships, heheh. Never anything organic like dragons and humans.

      Thanks for the comment! :)

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