Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Stories That Book Cover Art Can Tell

Book cover depicting a space soldier firing a ray gun at a tentacled monster.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When you think about it, the art to a book’s cover is the story in visual form. It either symbolically or literally shows the story that waits in between the covers (or, in the case of e-books, beyond the cover page). The book cover art that does this symbolically does so more efficiently and easily. That’s because a lot more about the story can be said that way than when only depicting a single scene like a lot of pulp fiction books did in the early half of the previous century (as much as I love the art work of those covers).

With my own book cover art, I try to balance out symbolism with literal depiction, especially today when many books’ digital photographically realistic cover illustrations seem to sell more. However, I want my covers to both preview and tell the books’ stories without giving away any spoilers. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with the cover illustration for “Circa Sixty Years Dead” which, speaking of realism, I am presently colouring in (with pencil, not digital “paint”) the details of the goddess statue.

In one sense or another, almost all art tells a story or at least contributes to doing so. George Lucas has been trying to show this with his Museum of Narrative Art that he’s been struggling to establish for the past couple years. It was only Friday when he announced reconsidering the location for his museum for the second time. My current article at talks about this and what the museum will feature which will be everything from sci fi/fantasy movie concept art to fine art. But one of the things I like best that Lucas’s museum is trying to do is removing the dividing line between fine and popular art. Something that publishers have been doing lately with literary and genre fiction. 

You’ll see “Circa Sixty Years Dead” in its illustrated form hopefully by mid-July. No, I’m not talking about a graphic novel version, although I would like to see it in that format myself someday. Better yet, being a big comic book fan, I’d like to be the one putting it in that medium of storytelling. If I do the cover reveal by next month then expect to see the book release as early as the first week of August. More on this next time.

Until then . . .

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