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Category: Art

An Interview with a Knight

Ever wonder where those fierce looking warriors on the front of fantasy covers come from? Brian Ruckley has a fascinating interview over at his blog now with the (real life!) knight pictured here.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at home when I got a text from a friend. It was a jpg, and I couldn’t quite make out the image. I handed my phone to my son, and he squinted at it saying, ‘It looks like YOU! Yeah, I think it is you, on a poster or maybe a book cover … Fall of Thrones? No, the Fall of THANES?’

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Cover Launch: Black Ships

Ah, John Jude Palencar, how do I love thee? Of all the “big name” fantasy & science fiction illustrators working in the genre, John Jude Palencar has always been my favorite. From a book fan and an art fan’s point of view, I have to say it’s gotten to the point that I will pick up a book simply because J.J.P. did the cover art. It was a fabulous piece of luck for me to be able to work with him in my very first season here at Orbit. Seriously, people, these are the kind of days you love your job.

John Jude Palencar is working on the mass market editions of all of Jo Graham’s books for us, (Hand of Isis is next) and the matchup between art and content couldn’t be better. I love the designs of the trade paperbacks, done by Mario Pulice, the Creative Director of Little Brown, and Debra Lill, a fabulous photographer and illustrator, but it’s always nice to change it up for a re-release in a new format. When the art (an actual oil painting! by Fed-Ex!) came into the office, I ran around like a giddy schoolgirl showing everyone. In fact, I will be very sad to have to eventually send the original art back to Mr. Palencar. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover launch: Traitors’ Gate by Kate Elliott

We’ve been loving the opulence of the latest cover in Kate Elliott’s Crossroads series, just in, and I thought I’d share it here. The rich colouring very much evokes the wonderfully vivid world-building and dramatic storytelling that categorises Kate’s work, plus it will look gorgeous on the shelf with the first two books, Spirit Gate and Shadow Gate.

Traitors' Gate by Kate Elliott - UK large paperback

It’s out in September this year in large format paperback and, to whet the appetite, here’s a little summary of the plot:

“GUARDIANS HAVE RETURNED TO THE HUNDRED, NOT TO DISPENSE JUSTICE BUT TO SPREAD CHAOS AND DESTRUCTION UNDER THE BANNER OF A TWISTED STAR.

Reeve Joss is struggling to defend a country ravaged by the assaults of twin armies. His men now patrol a land of burning villages and homeless refugees as Joss tries to separate traitor from friend. The Reeve’s days are also plagued by thoughts of the intriguing Zubaidit: pleasure-giver, spy and temple-trained assassin. But Zubaidit is focused on a dangerous mission, her target being warped Guardian Lord Radas. His death would leave the invading militia in chaos, but the old tales tell truly of the Guardians’ immortality – and of the powers they now wield to twist the hearts of men.

Joss’s nights are troubled too, disturbed by dreams of Marit. His old love has returned from death to become a feared Guardian herself, but Marit rejected the corrupt temptations they offered. She now seeks others of her kind, praying some are yet uncontaminated by the blight on the land – and have the will to fight it.”

And lastly a few quotes for the series to show just what a damn fine read is in store:

“Beautifully descriptive passages oozing with texture, taste and even aroma. Spirit Gate is the common thing done uncommonly well … accomplished storytelling” SFX

Shadow Gate is the plump and mouthwatering second dish … This is every bit as full of texture and flavour as Spirit Gate, sure to leave you begging for more” SFX

“This is gritty, character-driven fantasy where no battle is easy and, crucially, no one is safe. Elliott juggles characters and plots with consumate ease” DeathRay

“An absorbing blend of action, romance, Fantasy, and the oriental … will ensure readers return for the next instalment” Starburst

Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott, UK paperbackShadow Gate by Kate Elliott, UK paperbackTraitors' Gate by Kate Elliott - UK edition

Cover Launch: Mr. Shivers

Welcome to another week and another new cover! Sorry this post was delayed a bit by the Creative Director being a bit under the weather with a nasty cold. Anyway, on to…Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett.

There was already buzz about this book back when I started in November, and the cover design was already underway by Ms. Ploy Siripant, one of the fabulous designers upstairs at Little Brown (who, if you’ll recall, were handling the Orbit designs before I was brought in to be all-Orbit-all-the-time). I just finished reading it while in bed with the above-mentioned cold, and the cover is even better once you’ve read the book. It’s set in the Midwest during the Great Depression — an incredibly bleak landscape where hobos travel the rails and dust-storms cover the land. I think this cover perfectly evokes the feeling of the book, and the period, without looking too historical. Trust me, the screen doesn’t do the texture any justice. You’ll just have to wait to see it in print. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: Best Served Cold

Good Afternoon from the Orbit US Art Department. Today we’re giving you a sneak peak at the new Joe Abercrombie title, BEST SERVED COLD. (Out in July in the US)

This book is an exciting new chapter for Abercrombie fans, and a great place to jump on if you’ve never read Joe’s books before. This title is a standalone, so don’t worry about needing to know backstory, just jump in…

Best Served Cold is the story of Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in the ruthless Duke Orso’s employ. Her victories have made her popular — a shade too popular for her employer’s taste.  Betrayed, thrown down a mountain, and left for dead, Murcatto arises with a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. 

“A Girl?!” you say? Well, trust me, this is pure Joe Abercrombie. It is as action-packed, as edgy, and as bloody (as you can see from the cover) as any epic fantasy I’ve read in a long time. However, it also opens the door for a brand new audience of female readers (myself included) to get sucked into Joe’s vivid storytelling and the world of Styria. This book is both true to Joe’s First Law Trilogy and a huge step forward into exciting new terrain. Read the rest of this entry »

The Making of an Urban Fantasy Cover: Part I

The Art Department of a book publisher is a mysterious thing to a lot of people. Sure, you know what we do, we’re the ones who make the pretty bookcovers. But friends and family are always kind of mystified about the process of designing a cover. How do we find art? Who decides what the cover is going to look like? How can you possibly have memorized 5,000 fonts and yet still bemoan that you just can’t find the right one? (This is not unlike a teenager looking into a full fridge and complaining that there’s nothing to eat). So I thought I’d take you, loyal readers, through the process of a cover, start to finish. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Introductions

Hello everybody, I’ve just started as the Creative Director of the newly-created Orbit and Yen Press Art Department in the US. Prior to this, Orbit’s covers have been handled by the fabulous Little Brown Art Department, and they did a great job. However, now that Orbit is technically a separate division from Little Brown (and growing in leaps and bounds), it’s time for Orbit to have its very own dedicated art team. I thought it would be a nice introduction to my personal and professional taste to review a few of my favorite Orbit covers so far. It’s only been a little over a year of publishing in the US, but Orbit has already been pushing the envelope in their cover designs. This is very exciting for me as a book designer, but also as a fan. I’ve been a sci-fi/fantasy reader all my life, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t know a lot of the genre’s covers were more of a punchline than a selling point. In the last ten years, not only has the genre stepped both feet into popular culture with the influx of genre-influenced movies & TV shows, but the public at large has become much more design-aware. I think that means there’s a world of room to have covers that are recognizable to traditional genre readers and be attractive, well-designed, visually exciting covers. That said, let’s get started!
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