BWL Art Director
As you can see here with Jamieson Wolf’s
As you can see, the redesign allowed for the mimicking of elements. Along the bottom of all three covers is a scene image of some kind - a cityscape, a deserted road and a lake in front of mountain, with trees.
Each of the covers has something faded into the upper background - a woman, a martini glass with car keys, and a Native American making music at a drum.
What about if the author wants to keep the cover (or the publisher does) but there still needs to be a way to tie it in? Well that calls for a compromise of sorts - the tweak.
That's right, a slight modification to the existing covers that creates a series feel.
So, the story of that goes something like this ...
Once upon a time, there was a fair author princess named Shirley Martin. And she had a couple of books that were kind of sort of tied together, but the nasty mean evil witch cover artist didn't know that. So she cast a spell on the covers, making them pretty - but not uniform. (Except for the first two that she knew were in the same universe ... so fonts matched).
With the help of the touch-up potion, the covers were made to match with the use of the same fonts, and an added border. Having a little bit of fun, the good witch cover artist also brought elements of the cover out beyond the border (see the sword in book 1, twinkles in book 2, twinkles in book 3, and dragon wing in book 4).
And so our story comes to a good end for the fair author princess Shirley Martin. And for the good witch cover artist too, because she wasn't fed to the mean 'ol troll.
Great story huh? Nah, I am not mellow-dramatic in any way!
Now if you are looking for the true moster-load of challenges as a cover artist ... let's check this one out. Keep in mind, I DID know this was going to be a series ... so that didn't create the challenge.
The challenge on Vijaya's series comes about because they are all historicals ... and finding good historical images is challenge enough. But some of the books have the same characters, and others don't. Plus, time keeps on a rolling along ... so while a character might be dressed perfectly in period for one cover, it won't work for another. So finding historical images of the same person, in the different period clothes that I need? Um, winning lottery ticket anyone? Cause that is the kind of luck it would take. Which means something else has to be worked out.
For the first two books, I did luck out. Jimmy Thomas fit perfectly for the first book, and for the second book, I found an image on his cover art images website with a woman showed from the back, and him in it. Keeping the same background, just shifting it to a new angle, I was able to tie that in. I also needed something to tie the whole series together - so there is the sword, and something wrapped around it.
Now for the third book, since there was a new hero, I wanted to recreate the feel of the first book, so the heroine is front and center, with the hero faded into the background again.
Even though I kept the same style for the third book, I wanted something different for the fourth book. Especially where the author said fire is a very important aspect to the fourth book. So that was the focus of the images. And yet - if you look behind the hero, you will see the same castle as for book three. Now the woman chosen is thankfully very close to resembling the woman from the third book. But what about the guy? Well - chain mail takes care of that. : )
Now, the mermaid wrapped around the sword places this book with a certain heroine. All of her books will have a mermaid, just like all of the books dealing with the first heroine had a dragon.
I already have images planned for wrapping around the sword in each of the future books.
Ideally, when a new hero and heroine is introduced, for that first book, it will mirror book one and three, with any later books involving them done different to match the story aspects.
I did say it was a challenge -but not in a bad way. It makes me stretch my creative muscles. Now had I not know about this ahead of time - well, all bets would be off then. Remember, I am working on my thesis, so stress is already a way of life for me. : )
Yeah I know, enough about me ...
So you see, a LOT can go into creating a look for a series - because you do want the books to look somewhat similar. At least as a reader I know I like it when they do. I hate it when books change cover style mid-series. Drives me nuts! I have actually gone back and repurchased books in a series when they were re-released with matching covers, just so everything matches.
Ok, I never said I don't have issues ... In truth, I have more issues than Time magazine. : )
As a cover artist, I do my utmost best to make sure that I keep series matching each other - and make the author happy with the end product.
Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter in Behind The Cover where I will talk about the X-Factor. After that, we roll on along to Author Branding.