I'm so excited to be kicking off another week of Spotlight On interviews! This month, we turn our spotlight on cover artists. Cover artists create the first impression many of us have of the books we buy. We can be so intrigued by a cover that we pick up the book and by equal measure, we can be so turned off by one that we just don't look at it. Covers can reveal a great deal about a story and they can reveal nothing.
Covers are the ultimate tease and we love every inch of them. This week, it is my pleasure to present interviews with four great cover artists. First up is Kendra Egert. Kendra did the cover for Remembering Ashby my debut book and we went through a little back and forth to get that cover into shape. I'm biased, of course, but I love her work. Kendra's also the cover artist for many of my fellow authors at Sapphire Blue Publishing. So it is my very great pleasure to introduce you to this week's very first spotlight on cover artist: Kendra Egert.
Are you a solo artist, or are there other artists working with you or for you?
I am a solo artist.
Are you making a living pretty exclusively doing illustration, or do you have another gig?
I have my own business. I do covers, websites and promo materials.
Is any of your illustration work digital, or is it all hand work?
All of my work is photo manipulation / digital art. I would not classify myself as a traditional artist.
Who owns your cover art? (i.e. Owned by you and licensed for use?)
Some of the covers are purchased out right, but some of them will revert back to me once the books are out of contract. It really depends on the publisher. However I am credited whenever the art is used, because I am the copyright holder.
Can you walk my readers through the process you use to create a cover? Do you read the book? Do you just go from the author feedback or the blurb?
I use the Cover Art Form the author fills out. I will look for pictures to match the characters and the genre of the book. After that it’s just adding colors and textures. Colors and textures help define the mood and tone of the book. Sometimes they come together quickly sometimes it’s harder.
Do you think that book cover art is actually art? Can it be consider something beyond selling the book?
Some of my covers I consider art, but the whole point of a book covers is to entice the reader to buy the book. One of the current trends for the hotter books is to have a hunky man on the cover. Why? Because it sells better than having just a woman. In the urban fantasy market, you have a woman on the cover(Think Patrica Briggs, Kelley Armstrong)
In YA, it a girl and colored flowers. So as an artist you have to knowledge about what can catch a readers eye.
What is the single most important element about book cover art?
You have to be able to read the title and the name, even when tiny. You want the cover to stand out when it’s reduced to web size.
Are you trained as an artist? Did you go to art school? Do you have an degree in graphic design or something in the fine arts?
Nope, I have a Bachelors Degree in information Technology. I have been do graphic work for about 3 years now. I started out working on my grandmothers old pictures restoring them and making picture books for her.
What is the difference between hardback and paperback book covers?
I don’t have any experience with hardback covers.
Are you an in-house book cover artist? What process did you have to go through to get that job or any job as a cover artist?
I am a freelance cover artist for a several publishers. I contacted a couple of them, but a couple came to me. So it just depends. I’ve also had a couple of authors come to me to have covers created.
Have you ever done a book cover and thought, I really hate it?
Yes, then I will scrap it and start over. I do know if I work on a cover for too long whether it’s beautiful or not I will begin to hate it and just want to be done with it. I have a couple like that. There was also one cover that I had to use a picture that the author purchased. I didn’t like it, but didn’t have a choice on using it.
Have you ever done a book cover for a book you didn't like? (You don't have to name names)
I haven’t read all of the books I’ve done covers for. So, I don’t know.
Is there an book cover that another book cover artist that you admire or want to emulate? Is there a cover that you wish you had done or that you just really love?
I want to be Anne Caine, Mandy Roth and April Martinez. They have so much talent and represent the books so well.
Is there one you have done and really love?
There are several of mine that I love. Mostly for sentimental reasons. Gracie and the Bad Hat is one of my absolute favorites, because of the work it took to create the cover. Deep Obsessions is special because it was my first commercial cover.
Do you think book covers sometimes hurt the sales of a book?
Yes, there are book I will not buy because of the cover and there are book I buy just because of the cover. I have seen books that have horrible covers become best sellers. I have no idea why it happens, but it does.
Do you think that a lot of people stay away from romances because they are too embarrassed by some book covers?
Yes I do, but romance is over 70% of overall book sales so they are still being purchased.
If someone was interested in getting into book covers, do you have any suggestions about how they can go about doing so?
I would practice making covers, look at the covers you see on shelves and from Samhain Publishing, Loose-Id and Liquid Silver. Also scroll through the covers are All Romance eBooks and see what is out there.
Do you have any upcoming books coming out?
No, I think all of them have been released. I am working on one for Sapphire Blue Publishing now. You can take a look at some of my covers here
Last question, what sets your covers apart from other artists?
Wow, that is a tough question. I’d like to think that I am versatile. That I can produce a good cover for any genre.