Illustrator / Designer Sarah J. Coleman has developed a remarkable portfolio of book cover designs over her career. Here she shares a time-lapse video for her drawing of the cover of the recently released Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories.
Writing her first novel, Another Place You've Never Been, Rebecca Kauffman figured out what kind of writer she was: a slow one. She wrote a paragraph a day, and couldn't write more. She struggled, too, with stress and anxiety. Why was she spending so much time on this project, this fictional thing that might, only might, someday become a book?
The morning after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, designer and illustrator Laura Eckes rode the train to work and read about the events of that day. She felt an all-too-familiar mix of emotions: anger, sadness, a desperate desire to affect change, and guilt over the reality that she probably wouldn't. But then she thought about work, and her coworkers, and decided this time would be different.
Set in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, This Could Hurt is a witty, heartfelt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives. The author captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.
The Killing of Butterfly Joe is about a young man who meets a charismatic butterfly salesman, who takes him across America on a wild road trip. It's a coming of age story full of big, colourful characters, and it has a Gothic feel to it. 'The American Dream' is a theme - Butterfly Joe is always chasing a big deal.
With words, Jen Campbell has constructed a life. For 10 years, the UK-based writer and vlogger worked as a bookseller. She creates original book-centric content for her YouTube channel and its nearly 40,000 subscribers. She teaches writing workshops and has published six books, including her first two works of fiction, out last fall.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is a beautiful novel about family, relationships, and the choices you make in life. I was immediately drawn to the brief when the editor, Sally Kim (G. P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Random House) introduced the book. After reading and falling in love with the manuscript, I became very determined to design a cover that does the story justice.
For the final episode of Spine Season 1 we speak with Australian Book Cover Designer, Alissa Dinallo. Alissa has won many design awards including The Australian Book Design Association (ABDA) Award for Young Designer of the Year in 2015. Alissa discusses with us the catalog she created for ABDA, her illustration technique, and her lifelong love for William Morris.
We were approached by Egmont publishing, through our illustration agents (Central Illustration) to pitch an idea for this cover. They liked the previous illustration we'd done for the cover of another YA novel called Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. We were also doing another three YA book covers at the same time so we really felt like we were getting our teenage heads back!
After reading The Queen of Bloody Everything and talking to the editor and reading the brief I set to work on designing this cover. It is funny and heartbreaking in equal measure and very much voice led. The story takes the main character from a feisty awkward six year old up until she is a grown woman and focuses on the complex relationship between herself and her dysfunctional mother. The protagonist longs to be part of the family next door and so she looks beyond her house to her neighbours family, longing for another life. The sense of the main characters childhood and the hot late 70's summer stuck with me as it felt a prominent visual element of the book.
In the course of writing The Ghost Notebooks Ben Dolnick pondered ghosts: Should they be an imagined manifestation of his main character's grief? Should they be real? He wrote and rejected 100,000 words. Pounded his head against the wall (figuratively). Paced and muttered into a Dictaphone, in circuits around his backyard. Paced and muttered into a Dictaphone, in circuits around New York.
No writing during the week = no fun on the weekend. That's how author Ashley Woodfolk gets it done.
Woodfolk's first book, the YA novel The Beauty That Remains, releases on March 6 and she has two more books in progress. At the start of each week, she sets a writing goal. Because she works full time for a children's book publisher, she has to wake up early early early if she wants to write. She's not fond of early early early, but she is fond of hanging out with her friends. So she bribes herself. Get up early. Do the writing. Enjoy the weekend.
I’d never worked on a cover like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle before, simply because I can’t think of anything like it. It’s an incredible piece of writing by Stuart Turton that defies a single genre - Gosford Park meets Inception via Murder on the Orient Express anyone?! The eponymous Evelyn dies time after time at a country house ball, as party guest Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest every day to solve the mystery of her murder.
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is a spellbinding story of curiosity and obsession. Set in 1785, Jonah Hancock, a merchant, sells his ship for a mermaid.
My first job was to collect research on typography and fonts, printed matter, fashion and fabrics - all of which was pasted to the wall of my office. The title and author font was developed by referencing eighteenth-century lettering. Here are the first sketches by the lettering artist, and the finished title.
First, a thought. Or a dream, a happening, an itch, a longing, an aversion, a quickening, a word. Then a poem, and after more time and more poems, maybe one adheres to another, and that to another still, and eventually an idea of poems together. A book.
This is how it happens, a book of poetry. Can happen. Might.
In this episode we interview Nicole Caputo and Anne Twomey, Co-Founders of She Designs Books, a celebration of female talent in the world of book design. Whatever your gender, whether you are brand new to publishing or have been in the industry for years, you are certain to enjoy this interview.
Suzanne Dean is the Creative Director at Vintage Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House UK. Here Dean describes her process for developing the book cover for The Only Story byJulian Barnes, in her own words.
Open Letter Books brings world literature to English-language readers. Working in conjunction with the University of Rochester's Literary Translation Studies program, the nonprofit press publishes ten titles a year. To explain how Open Letter moves a title from acquisition to publication, Publisher Chad W. Post walked Spine through the process on two recent titles.
David Mann is an Art Director for Bloomsbury Publishing. As well as designing covers for the likes of Margaret Atwood and William Boyd, he has created this stunning cover for Brian Carter. Here he walks us through his process for creating A Black Fox Running.
Aimie K. Runyan has been drawn to historical fiction for most of her life. It “has the ability to transport you through time and space, where contemporary fiction has less of that. It requires so much more description, and makes the writing so much more vibrant, which is one of the joys, and challenges, of the genre,” said Runyan. In her latest book, Daughters of the Night Sky, Runyan takes the reader to the front lines of World War II in Soviet Russia, and tells a tale of war, flight, and women’s rights.
Zoe Norvell is a Brooklyn based freelance cover designer. Among her incredible work is the cover for Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction, by Erica Garza. Here Norvell details her process for developing the work, in her own words.
Holly Ovenden is a designer working in-house at Bloomsbury Publishing in London. Among her amazing works is the paperback cover for Jenny Zhang's Sour Heart. Here she details her process for creating the cover in her own words.
When the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based not-for-profit, contacted design duo Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein to design not one but threecovers (and a boxed set slipcover) for a three-part anthology on popular culture, the pair immediately accepted the challenge. Great Books, after all, need great covers. Jordan and Goldstein’s design process for this project, however, reveals the art of transforming noble ideas and values into provocative images and designs. Throughout the process, Jordan and Goldstein leaned on the abstract to convey the utility and inspiration of pop culture, even in modern intellectual circles.
Successful college students master the art of the juggle: multiple classrooms in multiple buildings, multiple courses with multiple projects, plus roommates and classmates and jobs and on the best days, eating and sleeping. After finishing her second year in the film and animation program at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she's focusing on 3D animation, student Alyssa Minko decided to take it up a notch: She agreed to illustrate a children's book.
Sean Garrehy is an Art Director for Little, Brown and Company. Among the many amazing works in his portfolio is the cover for Shirley-Anne Macmillan's The Unknowns. Below he details for us his rationale for the design in his own words.
In this episode we interview Jo Thomson, a freelance book cover designer who previously worked in-house at Pan Macmillan. Thomson is the recipient of a British Book Design & Production Award for Best Jacket for Not Working, by Lisa Owens. She also earned and ABCD Award for her cover design of Haus Frau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum.
A Secret Sisterhood explores four literary friendships: between Jane Austen and her brother's playwriting employee Anne Sharp; between Charlotte Brontëand her strong-minded schoolmate, feminist writer Mary Taylor; between George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author of Uncle Tom's Cabin; and between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, whose complicated friendship other biographers have reduced to rivalry.
A good cover conceals and reveals a book’s content. It spills just enough narrative to interest potential readers, but it leaves much to the imagination. Consider Lauren Wakefield’s recent cover for Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott’s Swan Song a primer in walking the line between closure and exposure: dichromatic scallops envelop a near-faceless woman’s poised body, the sharp line of her cigarette disrupting the rounded pattern. Then the title, big and bold and white, enchants us with just enough late-1950s flair to transport us to a smokier, sexier era. Only a cover this demure will do for a book about Truman Capote and his relationships with a group of elite, secretive society women he dubbed his ‘swans.’ After several initial visuals—some too vague and some too on-the-nose—Wakefield created a cover that recalls the charm and darkness of Capote’s social circles.