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Thread: Cover Art. What's the point?
February 3rd, 2004, 12:27 PM #16Originally posted by Thekherham
A book may have the best cover in the world, but if the story inside doesn't appeal to me, then forget it.
And, if the story inside is humdrum or mediocre and the cover is a really good one, done by a great artist, then forget it.
With me, story comes first, art comes second.
February 3rd, 2004, 12:49 PM #17Yes, but what if you're just browsing? You see two books that you've never heard of, one with a crappy cover one with an excellent one, which do you choose? What is it that first makes you pick a book up off the shelf?
The only time I really take a good look at the cover is after I've read the book. I'll go back and try to ID the scene the artist painted and see if it jibes with how I pictured it.
February 3rd, 2004, 02:32 PM #18
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I don't know what the UK covers of Farseer look like, but the US cover of Assassin's Apprentice show a very muscular Fitz, in ripped clothing, howling at the moon with Nighteyes next to him. It is awful, and does not properly convey the feeling of the book. I hope the UK covers are better!
February 3rd, 2004, 03:34 PM #19
I can't find nice big ones, but these are the Uk covers:
February 3rd, 2004, 06:11 PM #20
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Thanks for posting those!
Ummm... Can you tell me how to insert images into your message? Then I'll show you the supreme shittiness that is the US covers.
February 3rd, 2004, 10:25 PM #21
Originally posted by Spears&Buckler
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The old adage says "Never judge a ook by its cover".
February 3rd, 2004, 10:30 PM #22
What's the point?
<-- That is. Two of them in fact.
And Ooks should always be judged by the hair covers.
February 4th, 2004, 12:15 AM #23
I treat the cover as a totally separate piece of work, because that's what it is. What turns me off about poor covers is really that you're paying YOUR money for it, wouldn't you be happier to own something that showcases a superior design? USUALLY, I shop for books after hearing what you guys have to say about them, so I already know what i"m looking for, and I just look at covers to see how good the art is, not really in any interest whatsoever of what the book is like. Let's face it, you're not going to get any worthwhile idea of what the book is like from reading a back cover blurb and scoping some poor artwork.
so yeah, I do look at cover art (most of it, by the way, is instantly dismissed as BRUTAL, I took a design course, I know some talented people (check out www.geocities.com/u3911468 for my most talented friend's web-site), and it's a shame that some of these "illustrators" are getting the contracts they do while talented people get nothing).
you know what was great, was buying Lord Foul's Bane. For all that the title is damn cheesy, it was SO nice to see a cover that just had a really excellent, moving landscape, without anybody posing (with poor anatomy representation) holding sword or axe or whatever the artist felt like that morning, while snarling beasties A through C strike diabolical poses with claws outstretched and spittle flying. this stuff is WEAK. I also kind of like the covers for ASOIAF, because they usually show a non-combat scene of some sort, although the expressions are pretty wooden.
I dunno, maybe we need to move away from poor illustration towards more minimalistic covers. Understatement can be pretty strong.
I guess mostly I wish that if these people are going to try to make a cover that looks cool, they wouldn't do such a half-assed job of it. There are so many good people out there who just aren't getting the jobs...
February 6th, 2004, 02:25 PM #24
Originally posted by Cannon Fodder
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I'm sure the Librarian of the Unseen University would agree.
I don't get it....
February 7th, 2004, 03:25 AM #25Overall, I think most fantasy cover art is ass-awful.
February 7th, 2004, 08:20 AM #26
Every now and again I pick up a fantasy book, look at the cover, and really do think it would be better off sold in blank brown paper. Point in case: the original Winter's Heart cover. Perrin looks like a scraggly water-rat.
As to why the covers are the way they are: maybe all products need to stand out for instant recognition? The book business is no different than any other. Popular series / authors such as Jordan are practically brand-names these days, and packaging and slick marketing has been partially responsible for that. Even if the packaging is garish and childish in the genre for the most part, it's usually eye-catching / recognisable / familliar.
Covers with a coherent theme (the new boring-but-easily-recognisable-from-a-distance WoT covers, for example) have the side-effect that when a fantasy reader scans the shelves he can pick out what's there without having to read each title. Most of us use this visual shorthand without even realising it, if you think about it.
Last edited by Ouroboros; February 7th, 2004 at 08:24 AM.
February 7th, 2004, 10:07 AM #27
I definitely do look at book covers. I am always curious as to what the illustrator will come up with. Especially also curious...wondering if the illustrator has read the book or not before attempting to depict the art for the cover.
What do you think...do most illustrators read the book or not? I think they do...how about you??
February 7th, 2004, 11:58 AM #28
Sometimes I think they do, but other times, I have my doubts. The cover to the Great Hunt makes no sense at all. Is it Rand holding the Horn, and what scene was that supposed to depict? Can't recall it at all.
February 7th, 2004, 01:46 PM #29
Here is a interesting fact that I didn't know. Many cover artists are giving a section of the book, from the publisher usually, and they draw the cover based on that excerpt.
So, the artist may have a very limited view on what things are suppose to look like.
Myself, on covers? Ahh, whatever. Some are better than others. Perhaps ten years ago, I use to use that are a judgement on a book perhaps. Now, with the Net, people recommend books left right and center (Like here!), so, I tend to use that now as a judging factor on wether I should buy a book.
Of course.. I started reading Fantasy because of the orginal cover of Magician:Apprentice. Loved that cover.
February 7th, 2004, 04:04 PM #30
Has anyone ever bought the wrong book because of very similar covers?
I have two copies of A Cavern of Black Ice at the minute