I do my own covers. Although I am recognizing to my ego’s distress, a certain lack of skill in this matter and have been looking at professional cover designers, it got me thinking—always risky when I am tasked with producing a blog.
What is it about covers? Who figures out what works for a particular book? I know it when I see a cover I like because the cover, whether a book or a record a gift-wrapped package—I think now of the hilarious scene in Love, Actually in which Rowan Atkinson constructs a garish gift bag for an increasingly nervous Alan Rickman—is appealing.
Is it because I am already programmed to respond? Because it’s an author I like? Or one of my favorite bands? A combination of colors? The composition of elements?
Because I love books and Ulrich Schnauss?
Here I’ve shared some covers I’ve located with the help of my browser. All of these are of books I’ve read.
The cover of Jane Eyre above was created by a German-American engraver in 1941. Remarkable symmetry, bleak, despairing. A stand alone work of art.
Irish illustrator Hugh Thomsen drew for Jane Austin’s novels. This is called “the Peacock Version” and is a first edition from 1894—I don’t know if he also designed the cover, but the detail of it is—in a word—kissable.
There are a dozen cover versions of Ursula’s classic novel. But this is the one from my copy that I found on a pretty cool Pinterest page of the best science fiction covers.
I’ve read several of Allende’s books and while browsing I saw many remarkable covers. The story of Zorro as told by Allende is magical, but not exactly in the realm of magic realism. Magic realism book covers are not in any way unmoored to reality or filled with artful surprise. The hook has to be in the title, or the blurb, or by knowing the author.
The coming of music streaming has not really changed the art of the album cover. The two covers below–Santana 1969 and Afghan Whigs 2017–are similar in style and tone.
When I open iTunes I get an array of album covers that continue to amaze, despite the fact that they are a fraction of the size of LPs. Joni Mitchell produced her own album art. I wonder if musical artists consistently use their preferred cover designers, or shift from one to another. Much of what is produced is beautiful work.
A library of books on your e-reader does not match the comfort of a library of paper books on your bookshelves. And the smorgasbord of album covers on iTunes is somehow not as pleasing as sagging shelves of LPs—unless they have been used as a scratching post by your cat.