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Artwork by Ingvard the Terrible
Inspired by Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepyhollow
Tidbit: Ingvard works with a scratch board illo, and then adds texture and color digitally. I love texture!

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I discovered That Cover Girl earlier this year and now it’s a favorite read of mine. Hosted by Capillya Uptergrove, the site offers intelligent (and passionate!) analysis of YA covers. I love her insights and she never fails to amuse as she dissects. I was so happy when she agreed to do a guest post! 

When I first sat down to write this interview for Heidi, I wasn’t quite sure how to go about introducing myself. If you read my bio page for That Cover Girl, it actually doesn’t say very much…about me. It’s misleading, I know. But since TCG’s inception, I always wanted each and every post to be about the illustrator, designer, photographer, or art director. I wanted it to be about the art and the artist (and my appreciation for their craft, of course).

So it may come as a surprise to some that I’m actually none of these things. Yes, this girl who’s been writing for a blog dedicated to YA cover art for the past year is actually not a designer herself. I don’t work in the publishing industry. I can’t even doodle a stick figure to save my life. I actually work in the television production industry, where my eye is trained to carefully watch the moving picture instead. My day-to-day revolves around producing, creating, revising and refining in the RGB realm. But working in this industry has placed me alongside illustrators and designers who inspire me with their work and have given me a sharper perspective when it comes to loving (and loathing) cover art.

My love for YA literature is not restricted to only admiring its covers and reading its books. I love art in all of its forms, from fine art to movie posters to children’s picture books. I just love staring at beautiful and intriguing things, apparently.

Behold, an example of such things:

I was nudged in the direction of The Only Ones’ cover art by my lovely friend Carla from The Crooked Shelf. (Side note: one great thing about having a YA cover art blog is that people are constantly asking me, “Have you seen this cover yet?”) The first thing I thought to myself (aside from “Wow, Carla really gets me”) was, “YES. ILLUSTRATED COVER.” I mention a multitude of times on TCG that I love illustrated covers, and they’re not used nearly enough in YA literature. I’ve found that a healthy amount of middle-grade books, like The Only Ones, incorporate illustrated jackets. I guess those junior high readers are lot less judgmental than teens? Mmm?

It really doesn’t come as a surprise that a James Dashner quote using the word “captivating” would be plastered across the front of this jacket design, either. I love how designer/illustrator Lisa Ericson has taken such muted and unobtrusive colors to create the exact opposite effect — an intriguing and peculiar cover. The best kinds of covers make you curious, and make you wonder what sort of story it’s trying to tell. Such is the case for The Only Ones’ cover art. Are they coming or going? What’s up with the key in the title? Why are they the only ones? Is that a time-traveling machine, a robot, or a spaceship?

I really, really hope that’s a spaceship.

When she’s not blogging for That Cover Girl, Capillya can also be found elsewhere online: Twitter and TumblrThank you to Capillya for her keen insight! Give her some love in the comments!  In between covers, I’m welcoming art directors, agents, artists, and designers as guests. If you would like to be Uncovered, email me at uncoveredcoverart@gmail.com. 

Artwork by Sarajo Frieden

 
I’m so excited to introduce you to Ashley Lorenz, an agent with the amazing Lilla Rogers Studio. LRS represents juicy artists like Helen Dardik, Allegra Agliardi, and Lisa Congdon. Artists with the LRS are lucky (talented) ducks! They’ve been commissioned to create art for children’s books, national magazines, games, fabric, puzzles, ad campaigns, and even a water tower. I’ve worked with Ashley several times over the years and always delight in seeing what new talent she recruits. She has a keen eye and an expert understanding of the business of illustration. 

What’s your professional back ground? How did you become an agent?

Kizmet! I studied (and loved) Art History in college.  About a year out of college I was introduced to the Lilla Rogers Studio via friend of a friend.  I had no idea what “illustration” meant in terms of a career. I started as a Studio Manager and over time became Agent. I have been with LRS for 15 years.

 How do you find new artists?

We get submissions all the time, like 10+ a day (x365 that’s a lot!). If it’s something Lilla loves, she may contact the artist for an interview.  In this age of social media and internet, we’ve also discovered artists via blogs, websites, social networks, etc.

What do you look for in a new illustrator? Commercial appeal? A unique style? Licensing potential? Work ethic? Personality?

Professionalism.

Positive attitude.

Marketability.

Do you prefer traditional or digital portfolios? What do you look for in an artist’s portfolio?

Traditional, digital, doesn’t matter if the work is great. We like to see that the artist can render a range of subjects. For surface design, patterns and repeats are ideal, although great graphics for clothing or journal covers are appealing too. For editorial, we look for good storytelling.

What’s your role in the process once a publisher is interested in an artist?

We handle all the biz stuff. Creative happens directly between the artist and publisher/art director/creative director once the contract/fee/terms are negotiated.

Why should an illustrator opt for a rep rather than represent himself?

A rep does all the dirty work so that the illustrator can focus on what they do best, creating art. We actively seek out promotional opportunities. We negotiate contracts, send invoices, chase up payments.

How do you publicize your artists?

Our site, Facebook, postcards, e-blasts.

What do you wish art schools would teach illustration students? What’s a lesson you find yourself teaching new artists again and again? What advice would you give to newbie artists?

Keep creating personal work for your portfolio.

Make the most of social networking.  Facebook, Twitter etc. has democratized consumer demand and fandom, in a good way!

Not every job or client is perfect or pays a jillion.

Income is unpredictable. See the growth opportunities (working on personal work or perfecting that style you haven’t mastered yet) in the lean times.

What do you wish artists knew about agents?

That we are on your team!

It is a partnership.

We want artists to do well, we want to do well, and we want our clients get great art. Win, win, win.

Where can we find you? (Website links, contact info etc…)

Lilla Rogers Studio

Facebook

Thank you to Ashley Lorenz for this glimpse into an agency! Give her some love in the comments!
 
In between covers, I’m interviewing art directors, agents, artists, and designers. If you would like to be Uncovered, email me at uncoveredcoverart@gmail.com. 

Alice in Wonderland


Artwork by Audrey Molinatti
Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
Tidbits: Audrey was inspired by Mucha’s Art Nouveau posters.

Alice in Wonderland

Artwork by Morena Forza

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Join me in raising money for The Girl Effect during Tara Sophia Mohr’s brilliant blogging campaign, starting October 4th. Because I believe…

Reading Is a Right.

Everyone, including girls, should have the right to go to school and learn to read.

Reading Is Power.

The written word, whether it’s in books, magazines, online or in a personal journal, reveals the world. To a child, these words can introduce and inspire new ideas that reverberate for decades to come.

Girls Matter. 

The Girl Effect is based on a powerful truth: when we invest in a young girl’s education in the developing world, she grows up to a woman who can support herself and pull her entire family out of poverty. Research now shows that investing in a girl’s education is the most effective solution for fighting poverty globally.

Art Saves.

From October 4th to January 4th, I’ll be donating $5.00 for each of the first hundred covers submitted that features a strong, hear-me-roar girl character. I’m committed to donating $500, but I want your help. Here’s what to do:

♥ Get inspired! Check out GirlEffect.org to learn more about how urgently our help is needed.

♥ Choose your subject. Will you reimagine Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games or Jo March in Little Women? What about Miss Eloise or Karana in Island of the Blue Dolphins? Let’s celebrate girls who ask questions, make their own rules, and find a new way to navigate through old waters. Show me who you admire.

♥ Work your magic. Let your art tell a story—a story we must keep telling.

♥ Send your cover to uncoveredcoverart@gmail.com

♥ I’ll donate $500 to The Girl Effect, directing the money to buy books for schools that support the education for girls. Would you like to match my donations? $.50, $1.00, $5.00 a cover or more? Send me a message! Let’s see how much we can raise.

If you’ve been wanting to submit to Uncovered Cover Art, now is the time. If you know someone who should submit, share this message.

Every submission will be featured on the site. Let’s make a difference together.

Heidi


Artwork by Peter Guckes
Inspired by Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Tidbits: Uncovered Cover Art inspired Peter to try a new style. This illustration was created with indian ink, bordeaux wine, and Photoshop.