Wednesday, 20 May 2015

For the love of books

I’ve been drawn into a book on the strength of its cover so many times – so it’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with an author or publisher, to be able to turn their words into pictures and visualise their worlds for the cover art.

But that comes with a degree of pressure and expectation. There’s the artist’s inner struggle to enjoy artistic license but also (and primarily) to fulfil the brief and correctly interpret what’s in the author’s mind (and indeed the pages of the book). The recipe for success is – unsurprisingly – achieving a balance between the two. After all, we want a happy author and a great cover.

Some projects require a very specific scene or illustration indicative of the finer details of the book on the cover; others may warrant a more abstract approach or a scene that while not actually in the book, is still an accurate representative of the story.

Every artist has their style, and if you’re asked to do somebody’s cover, it’s usually because they like your style, and believe it is right for their book and audience. This simple fact in itself should quash any moments of self-doubt which crop up along the way (and we all have them!).

In many ways, being asked to provide a cover is to be invited on part of the author’s very personal journey of the creation of their book – and hopefully attributing to its success. However, for me it goes beyond being just a job – it’s for a love of books, a huge respect for the author and their creative work, and the simple prospect of creating something tangible. As an avid reader myself, being able to contribute to something that goes on to have a life of its own and reach people all over the world is quite simply, a real privilege.

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