Sep 24 2008

Grading book covers

Published by at 2:51 pm under Art,Book Covers

Thinking about what to put on your novel’s cover?  Jacob grades six covers.

I have some issues with this book cover’s execution, but I love the perspective.  Seeing this through the dragon’s mouth is an unusual and memorable choice.  If this had been for a novel (rather than a role-playing sourcebook), I would recommend removing all but a few of the characters and making them more prominent.  The dead extras are a distraction and I don’t like the lighting.

This wasn’t actually a book cover, but I think it could easily be adapted for a book about a dragon family.  My main suggestion would be to make the tone of the art slightly more playful and less sober.  The sobriety isn’t quite consistent with the ambient cuteness of the young dragon.  I’d also recommend giving the older dragon more emotion.  To use a real-life analogy, this cover could make the adult dragon look like a father watching football as his kid is trying to pester him into playing hide-and-seek.

I didn’t like this one very much.  Zooming in on an eye is cliche.  Moreover, this eye has a very strange hue, particularly when set against a black-and-white face.  What are we supposed to think about this girl other than she has a weird-looking eye?  If “weird” and “eerie” are the main impressions we’re supposed to get about her, putting her on the cover is probably not a wise marketing move.  I’m not sure what’s going on with the feather and would probably recommend removing it. That would probably make “Mysterious Stranger” look better.

On the other hand, this may play better among female readers.  What do you think?

Combat poses are cliche, but this was well-executed.  I love the monsters and the male protagonist’s claws are pretty neat, too.  This cover shrewdly left the top of the art very sparse, which made it easier to fit in the title without looking cluttered.  In contrast, the previous cover’s text partially blocked an important accessory.  One final element I liked was that it artfully sold an interesting demographic choice (a female warrior).

Yep, that barbarian is definitely carrying a laser rifle.  I think that this book cover identifies itself as sci-fi with a fantasy twist pretty effectively.  The color scheme is a bit depressing and ugly, though.  Couldn’t the artist have worked in blues or greens anywhere?

This artist was assigned to do a book cover for Watership Down, which is a classic sci-fi novel whose characters are rabbits.  I think the rabbits are competently illustrated here, but it doesn’t look like a story (sci-fi or otherwise).  The rabbits should have more emotion.  A more interesting pose would probably help, too.  The background lighting could have been cleaner.  That said, I love the grass and the flowers aren’t bad, either.

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