One of the pathways I want to pursue after graduating with my bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration (or as I’m studying if possible) is, no doubt, illustrating for book covers. I have been a book lover since I started reading. Well, I suppose the term book hoarder suits me better, given the piles of books I have bought but never read, as I continue to upgrade my collection. Reading them is delightful, but something what attracts me to the book in the first place is the cover.
Yes, the saying goes, “Do not judge a book by its cover,” so what if I do? I think most if not all, people have picked up a book solely because of its exterior rather than its interior. A person can’t automatically know the book’s plot with a glance; however, they can see the cover, giving a glimpse of the book before even reading.
Book Cover Contest Details at the end of this post!
I often walk around bookstores and look at the cover designs as I take notes on what is easily noticeable and why. Also, understanding what trends the current market of cover illustrators follows.
Six Crimson Cranes – this book is not only by my favorite author but also by one of the artists I admire. There are different versions of this book, all with gorgeous illustrations. This is the one that I’m drawn to and still display on my shelf as one of my favorites. Every artistic choice made is noteworthy: the choosing of colors, how the red is purposely used on the head of the cranes, all that moves through this invisible line that leads the eye to the center. There is a beautiful balance despite the asymmetric background and pose. It is very bold and easy to attract attention. As a bonus, the typeface that is picked to represent this book works harmoniously along with the illustration and setting of the story.
Mortal Follies- this is a more recent example of my impulse buying. It is so detailed while keeping negative space, allowing the observer to rest their eyes on the hidden details. Its uniqueness was not the only thing that caught my eye. The imagery easily lets the reader know what the author promises them. We can notice that the artist (insert name) used the color theory to her advantage. The colors give the essence of light-hearted reading. Something fun and fairytale-like.
Daughter of The Moon Goddess– This one I brought solely because of the cover- I have yet to read it, but the cover already communicates the novel’s setting. It reflects the title as well, making it seem ethereal. I was lost in the designs and choice of colors. The colors in this one are more flat than the previous ones but still display dimensionality. Here again, the red of the flowers acts as a guide. The movement of the birds coming down and the flower captures you into exploring within that circle- it draws you in like the ocean.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time– Most of the books I collect have detailed and busy designs, so I thought of giving an example of something opposite. This I find simplicity at its finest. The bold color is effortlessly eye-catching. The silhouette of the dog works so well to rise curiously. The cover doesn’t give out the story much, which leaves the person looking it curious- at least I was. The simpleness works well for the book as that itself, in a way, describes the plot itself. It is also one of my recommended books if you are interested in a murder mystery told from the perspective of a child with Asperger’s syndrome.
I will get carried away if I keep sharing my favorite cover designs. So, let’s get to the fun part!
Book Cover Contest Details
I wanted to dedicate this blog to this topic to introduce *** drum rolls *** to my own art contest! Well, it’s more of a fun book cover design project for anyone reading this.
THE CONTEST This competition is to pick a book of your liking and do a redesign of it. It can be your favorite book, one you are currently reading, or even something you hate. You don’t necessarily need to be an active reader to take part. I’m sure there has been a book you read, maybe even as a kid, that you can redesign for. Any medium is allowed, and the only rule is no NSFW. The entry will be closed on October 31, 2023 at midnight. The artworks can be submitted to my email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPRIZES Of course, there can’t be a contest without prizes! The winner’s art will be shown here on the blog, coming out about a week after the due date, in which the artist can share their process and thoughts behind it. Assuming the ones participating are at some level fond of reading, another prize is a $20 gift card from Bam! (Books-A-Million).
JESS’ BOOK COVER DESIGN CONTEST: Redesign a book jacket
SUBMIT: Email your artwork to email@example.com
DUE DATE: Tuesday, Oct 31, 2023 at midnight
PRIZES: $20 gift card, featured artwork shown in a blog post on WhereCreativityWorks!
I’m hoping you will be interested in participating in this fun little contest!
Thank you for reading!
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Featured Image: book illustration by Tran Nguyen for Six crimson cranes