The Positivity Cover Art Thread

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by KatG, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    This thread is for discussing cover art, past and present, trends in cover art, and if you like, some about the books and authors attached to the cover art. To stay on topic in this particular thread, however, you can only make positive comments about cover art and present cover art that you like, through embedding or links. (Good-natured jokes, however, are acceptable.) In particular, the word "childish" is completely off topic and should not be used, even when discussing the cover art for children's and YA fiction. You will also be off-topic if you critique any other member's positive opinion about a cover.

    (There are many other threads on cover art in the forum for those who would prefer not to participate in such a topic regarding cover art.)

    A cover that I liked very much recently, which I've mentioned elsewhere, is the cover for Jay Lake's new novel Green. It's dynamic and arresting, I find, and the color is appropriately gorgeous.

    http://www.amazon.com/Green-Jay-Lake/dp/0765321858/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244776933&sr=8-1

    I also really like this one for a novel of Lawrence Watt-Evans due out this fall:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/07...&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938811&pf_rd_i=507846

    Making it like a watercolor sketch goes well with the figure's Renaissance garb, and the image is distinct and caught my attention.

    (Apologies for using Amazon links, but my computer is physically incapable of embedding images at SFFWorld and we haven't been able to fix it.)
     
  2. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Yeah, They're both cool, Kat, especially Lake's Green.
    I'm not familiar with Evans, who might he be similar to? (Off topic, sorry, Kat).
     
  3. Cranky Hamster

    Cranky Hamster Registered User

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    Yay good art!

    I agree, the cover art for Green is fantastic. Dos Santos in general does really nice art.

    I also love the art for Ken Scholes' Lamentation and Canticle:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Gorgeous, painterly, atmospheric work. I haven't read the novels so I can't say how well they fit the text, but they're beautiful designs in their own right.
     
  4. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Hadn't seen the Canticle cover yet, I like that one.
     
  5. Luke_B

    Luke_B Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    I agree. Canticle isn't out but the cover for Lamentation fits the text very well.

    I'll also give a shout out to Dan Dos Santos. If I buy Green a big reason will be because of the cover. His Mercy Thompson covers are some of the better ones for that subgenre.

    I'm a big fan of Donato Giancola, so much so that I'm probably the only person that liked his infamous "Fabio" cover for the Name of the Wind. There's a great sense of motion and it has a very classical feel. To borrow Kat's words, dynamic and arresting. I was really annoyed when this cover got so much criticism and DAW went for something totally generic for the next book. I would have loved to see Giancola do a rendition of an older, more world-weary Kvothe.
     
  6. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    No, that's okay within the topic, to ask about the authors. I've only read some short fiction by Watt-Evans, which seemed pretty good, but maybe someone who's read more can tell you who his novels are most like.

    I also liked Giancola's cover for Name of the Wind. I particularly liked how he used line to make the figure flame-like with the sweep of the wind and the lute. I thought it went really well with the title. I've become a big fan of Giancola's art.
     
  7. Cranky Hamster

    Cranky Hamster Registered User

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    I liked the zoomed-in cover for The Name of the Wind that focused on the detail of the green man's face, which is all I'll say about that one. ;)

    Todd Lockwood can be hit or miss for me, but when he's on, he's really on. This is the cover for an art-book collection of his works. I love the drama and vibrant colors of the image. This is one of the few "scantily-clad female figure" pieces that really works for me; IMO the central figure comes off as more "iconic" than "cheesecake."

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    I like both. Right now I think I prefer the one for Watt-Evans, even though it looks more historical than fantasy, but I suspect the one for Lake could grow on me.

    I had a collection of Watt-Evans short stories that was saddled with a cover that didn't really do the stories justice; I can't say I was excited by the stories I read, but they were at least competent and all were written with obvious intelligence and thought that the cartoon-like drawing and coloring of the cover did not convey. This cover lends his novel a touch of, for lack of a better word, gravitas, but at the same time doesn't give the impression this will be a heavy, slogging story.


    Randy M.
     
  9. Ironhill

    Ironhill Registered User

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    I'm foaming at the mouth here.
     
  10. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    Just to point out, if, for instance, you disagreed with my assessment, you could always drop me a line off-thread and explain how wrong-headed I am. :cool:
    (Again a for instance, I can easily understand how someone else could disagree with my comments on the cover for Watt-Evans.)

    Who knows, maybe an individual discussion might lead to something more positive being brought up on-thread.

    Randy M.
     
  11. Wulfa_Jones

    Wulfa_Jones Gentleman and Scholar

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    I'm not a fan of the cover work for Scholes... for me it harks back to 80s style of book covers.

    I am a big of cover artwork snob really... I liked the artwork for James Barclay's second edition printings of the Raven books (example below). I "borrow" the idea of the colour siloute

    [​IMG]

    But hated the original artwork for the series:

    [​IMG]

    Nearly put me off buying the series.
     
  12. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Wulfa, you're off topic. :) You criticized the Scholes artwork which another member liked, and you presented a cover that you do not like and stated that it was awful, which is not the topic of this thread. Please see the original post of this thread. Remember, there are numerous cover art threads in the Fantasy Forum where you can talk about art that you don't like and what you don't like about covers other people like, such as the Cover Art thread. Or you can start a new thread to do so. But the topic of this thread is positive views of cover art and positive views only.

    Ironhill, I believe in you. You can do it. :)
     
  13. Cranky Hamster

    Cranky Hamster Registered User

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    Yeah, I can see that, but to me it takes the things that worked about '80s fantasy cover (movement, bright color palettes, unabashed use of genre archetypes) and presents them in a modernized, much more attractive form that emphasizes practicality in the fictional world (no chainmail bikinis, people are reasonably proportioned) and greater skill in the artistic rendering.

    Another thing I like about the Scholes cover treatments is that they strike a nice balance between depicting the characters vividly and yet stylizing them enough that you don't see the faces too clearly, which avoids the whole "wait a minute that character doesn't look like that" problem.

    I like the newer Barclay covers too. It's a simple, striking treatment.

    More covers I like:

    Alison Sinclair's Darkborn -- haven't read it yet (it's inching its way onto the TBR pile but I haven't quite been tipped over the edge -- waiting for more blog coverage/reader responses, mostly), but I like the romance of the cover portrait and the way the text meshes with it so neatly. I understand this is a character-centric fantasy with a Regency romance vibe, so if that's accurate, the cover does a good job of signaling to the target audience.

    (I also think this is a pretty idiosyncratic pick because there are a whole bunch of covers with basically the same treatment that I don't like, but for whatever reason this particular one sticks with me.)

    [​IMG]

    N.K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms -- I don't know a damn thing about this book, except that it's a debut novel, but that's a great cover.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Aurian

    Aurian Dragon Lady

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    You know, a good cover should intrigue you between the art and the little description of the book. I actually went and looked up Hundred Thousand Kingdoms because it just looked so interesting.



    I have only seen one cover for Name of the Wind:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Kingkiller-Chr...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244829315&sr=8-1
    What are these other covers Cranky and Luke refer to? The one I have seen seems to fit the dark feeling of the present day portions of the novel. (Sorry, my computer will not allow me to right-click on the internet - the function is blocked at work, so I can`t grab URLS for images).



    The Green cover is just gorgeous, I agree - and the pose is very different and striking. The slashes on her face are striking. You just want to read and find out how this came about.



    He he, I have Darkborn on the top of my to-read pile, its next after I finish my current book. I`ll let you know if the text matches up with the cover!
     
  15. Rulkez

    Rulkez Registered User

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    I've been interested in this book since i saw the amazing cover art for it months ago. Easily one of my favourite covers of all time.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
  17. beniowa

    beniowa Registered User

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    I don't have a lot of time right now but I like the new Lake and Wooding covers. Also, I absolutely love the one for The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, which will be released in November.
     
  18. Draxinusom

    Draxinusom Winged creature

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    Well there's an odd cover story with me. Browsing randomly through the internet about 10 years ago I stumbled upon a picture that I liked so much, I instantly made it my desktop background. I had no idea what it really was but I liked it very much. I tried to find out what it was or who did it but had no success.

    About two years later, in some message board there was an offtopic thread about showing one's desktop, so I screenshotted mine and remarked that I had no clue where the background picture came from. And then someone answered that it was a book cover and from Weis and Hickman's Deathgate cycel, which would be great books.

    So then I tracked it down, found out it is from book 5 of 7 of the Deathgate cycle and out of a whim ordered the first book of the series. Liked it very much and read the entire series and still hold it quite high in regard, mostly due to the very interesting and imaginative world-building in it.

    This was the picture of the desktop back then:
    [​IMG]

    The book's (and picture's) name is "Hand of Chaos". And it embodies a lot of what I like in a cover.

    First of all the cover of course must look good right from the first glance, it either pleases me immediately or not at all. And then it is all the better if it contains an important scene from the book in question, so once you read it you go "aah that's why the background is all in this orange, now it makes sense!" kind of thing, just like here. It doesn't need to be an actual scene but if it is, all the better for me.

    Bottom message for authors: Get your cover pics out, it may make you a sale :D
     
  19. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Haha, Thanks for sharing the cool story, Draxinusom.
     
  20. Cranky Hamster

    Cranky Hamster Registered User

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    If only authors had any kind of say in the matter. As I understand it, the process is usually "hey here's your cover! enjoy!!" unless it's a J.K. Rowling novel. Didn't Steven Erikson famously find out about the cover of The Bonehunters when it popped up on somebody's blog?

    Oh well. We can always hope publishers refine their aim. ;)