Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Cover Launch: EMPEROR MOLLUSK vs. THE SINISTER BRAIN by A. Lee Martinez

Like I was saying when I posted the Chasing the Moon wallpapers, I love that Will Staehle’s covers really work together to give the author a cohesive look and feel, but they work as the stand-alone stories they are. I thought Monster was my favorite…until this one came in. A squid riding a body with a suit and tie! I mean come on, that’s hilarious. And the squid has a crown. And the back cover art is pretty fab too, just wait and see. So here’s another great one, to look and and to read, for a tale of intergalactic politics and a galaxy-wide scourge…who just might be sick of keeping up his reputation.

And really, the best reading line i’ve put on a title in a long time. “He came, he squirmed, he conquered!” ha!

Here’s a teaser, and all A. Lee Martinez’s covers together after the jump…


Cover Launch: ANGEL TOWN (Jill Kismet #6) by Lilith Saintcrow

Here’s a bittersweet cover launch for you – sweet, because it’s another great cover by Calvin Chu, showing one of my favorite Lilith Saintcrow heroines, Jill Kismet. Bitter because it’s the finale of the Jill Kismet series! I love the graphic feel of these covers, it’s been a really fresh take on the urban fantasy style, and both Jill Kismet & Dante Valentine were well-characterized by the illustrations. In this book we really wanted to refer back to the first cover (Night Shift) and bring the series full-circle with a close-up shot. After the jump, see the whole series together, and a teaser…


Cover Launch: SILVER-TONGUED DEVIL (Sabina Kane #4) by Jaye Wells

Having a long series of books (aka more than a trilogy) is a lot of fun, because over time, just as the reader does, you get a better feel for the character, and it definitely comes out in the cover art. Craig White has been really hitting his stride with Sabina Kane, I feel like each cover has more and more personality. The great photo shoots by Shirley Green with Toni Busker as our model certainly help. Toni is a veteran of many geek projects, and she is super fun to work with as she is always game for climbing about and playing with all kinds of weapons…Actually you may recognize her as a mermaid in the recent Pirates of the Caribbean #4. If that’s not geek cred for a cover model, I don’t know what is.

So, back to the cover at hand – as you can see, Sabina is back and prowling in NYC, and after the jump you can get a little teaser, along with the covers in order…


Cover Launch: THE KINGDOM OF GODS by N. K. Jemisin

Trilogies are a mainstay of science fiction and fantasy and that’s a challenge that comes up for us in the Orbit Art Department over and over again. The first cover is both the hardest (it has to be AWESOME and make a big splash, especially if it’s for a debut author) and the easiest (no preconceptions and rules dictated by previous covers). The second cover is important because you obviously want it to be as cool as the first, and not fall victim to any sequel-slacking. And the third? Well the third is kind of the best, because by the last book in a trilogy, you’ve already got a good feel for the world in question, and the tone of the author, and you usually get something good and dramatic to wrap up with. And while we’re talking about dramatic, I am happy to release the cover for the third book in N. K. Jemisin‘s Inheritance Trilogy: The Kingdom of Gods.

I have been thrilled at how well cover one was received across the fantasy community — it was accepted into the Spectrum annual, and was nominated for a Gemmell Legend Award. We were trying to do something pretty standard (fantasy city) and present it in a fresher way (through the style of Cliff Nielsen‘s awesome artwork), and it really resonated with a lot of people, which is great because the books just happen to be super-fantastic as well. And over the last two books the illustrations have been just as strong, while keeping to that pretty simple formula.

And now we have this illustration, which I don’t want to say too much about, because I wouldn’t want to give anything away about the story…obviously if you have been reading along, the god is Sieh (my favorite)…just trust me, if you have been enjoying The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms, well The Kingdom of Gods does not disappoint. After the jump, get a teaser, and the whole series of covers… (more…)

Cover Launch: JOE ABERCROMBIE in Trade Paperback!

I am so freaking excited to finally let these covers out into the world. Joe Abercrombie is one of Orbit’s most exciting authors (never mind the snarkiest) and I have been dying to take a fresh look at some of his covers. When I read his books I feel like I am watching a movie, and I just wanted to get across that sense of action and brutality and sheer bloodiness all into the cover at once. So, stealing some style markers from hi-action sports photography married to a lot of fantastic armament (some things you just can’t fake in photoshop), we present to you the most badass covers I have ever had a hand in. As you can see from the process shots after the jump, we got a lot of the shot done in the camera, thanks to the technical wizardry of photographer Michael Frost. Photo-illustrator Gene Mollica hunted down all the proper bits of armor and sharp pointy things (some of which he had custom made because he is such a perfectionist), and then when it was his turn to illustrate, he turned the already-fantastic photos into sheer magic in post-production. We also have to thank Adam Becker for the use of his great action pose ability, and Heather Ann Burton for her scowling personification of Monza.

I admit I was a bit terrified to show these to Joe…these covers have more in common with movie posters than most covers in the fantasy section…and Joe is a really savvy author on visuals — he’s had a lot of different styles, and he’s not afraid to give his opinion. And I was in love with these, which makes it even more stressful showing the author. So what did he say?

“It’s got attitude, it’s got individuality, it’s got big forearms.”

More from Joe (and big cover shots…and animated process covers! ) after the jump…


Cover Launch: The Troupe

The Troupe by Shirley Jackson Award winner Robert Jackson Bennett hits shelves February 2012. When you have an intelligent combination of thriller, horror, and Americana…you end up with a book that stands on its own.

I’m going to write more about the process and how I got to the final design. But since we’re so excited about launching the cover, here it is today!

After the jump see the cover full-size with a teaser…


Cover Launch: EXOGENE by T. C. McCarthy

Mid-series covers are at the same time a relief and a challenge. On one hand you already have the general look and feel of the art established, so a lot of the trial and error is skipped. Unless something has gone terribly wrong you are usually commissioning art from the same artist, and they start working a lot closer to the target. The type style is usually set, and overall it’s kind of fun to be able to play within those constraints. However you also can’t play it too safe and end up with boring art, or at least, art that isn’t pushed to its full potential. Because sometimes, especially in the case of a new author, the second cover is even more important than the first—you want to really show this author is establishing a strong series and the world is something you want to be drawn into. I know a lot of people—in fact, I am married to one—that won’t start a series if just the first book is out. (For example, he’s recently got into Game of Thrones on HBO and was really interested in reading the books until he heard it wasn’t a completed series…and yes, these are the fights that go on in my house) Thus, it’s really important to make mid-series covers as awesome, if not MORE awesome, than the first cover.

This brings me to Exogene, the next book in T. C. McCarthy’s Subterrene War series (Germline is the first, which just came out and is getting great reviews). Steve Stone did a fabulous job on the Germline cover – it was the perfect tone – obviously military SF but the attitude tells you there is something deeper going on here. Of course, this makes the Exogene cover harder. For one, a female lead character which means you are immediately fighting certain clichés, and (I don’t want to give away anything here) she is a character full of contradictions. We wanted to capture her maybe right on the edge between blind belief and doubt. A soldier still heroic, but perhaps with just the slightest uncertainty beginning to show on her face. And add to that delicate proposition the fact that it’s a beautiful young woman who also happens to be bald. And then make her look like a convincing soldier. Not an easy task. But in my opinion, yet again, he nailed it.

After the jump, see the cover next to Germline and get a teaser…. (more…)

Cover Launch: ARTEMIS by Philip Palmer

Philip Palmer’s Red Claw was one of the first covers I designed when I joined the Orbit team, and it’s still one of my faves. I love working on these covers, they’re so much fun, because his writing has this fabulous pulp scifi feel to it, and you can get that feel with the photo shoots. That’s one of the fun things about establishing a really strong author look, it anchors a book, and let’s you get crazy within that framework. It’s kind of like a mullet—business up front, party in the back! (Yes, I really just compared Book Cover Design to Mullets, call the graphic design police, it’s been a rough week.)

Photographer Laura Hanifin was my partner-in-crime for this cover, which we shot at the same time we shot for Hell Ship and the new e-book cover for Debatable Space. It was an exhausting (and smelly!) shoot, but we got three fantastic cover images out of the day, and you don’t get 3-cover-days very often, trust me!

After the jump, see the whole series of covers together, as well as a teaser!


Cover Launch: THE BUSINESS OF DEATH by Trent Jamieson

People often ask me, how do I find artists for books. And there’s never one good answer…I try to stay on top of established scifi and fantasy artists through places like Spectrum and assorted illustration annuals. I also like to keep an eye on people working more in the fine-art and urban art realm thru mags like Juxtapoz and Hi Fructose. I have a long history in comics (yes I was a Comic Shop Girl) and I pull artists across the divide between comics and books. Agents send me updated work from artists constantly. And facebook, believe it or not, has been a great tool for me to find emerging artists.

The real problem isn’t finding good artists, it’s wishing I had enough good projects for all the fabulous artists I know of! And I love getting people who haven’t worked on a lot of book covers to work on a cover for me, I think it keeps the art really fresh. So I am always walking around with a “dream team” list in the back of my head. And David Seidman was on that list for a while…until I heard that we were going to do an omnibus edition of Trent Jamieson’s Deathworks Series, and I knew he would be perfect for it. I’m not sure where I first saw David’s work. It was either on facebook or it was his Coheed and Cambria picture disk. Either way I just had a gut feeling he would have a fabulous take on these books, which is kind of a little Constantine by way of The Office. Or Office Space, actually. We really wanted to capture the bored sick-of-this-damn-cubicle attitude, while showing a bit of the supernatural. If you want to get a good intro you can read the opener here.

As you’ve been reading over the last few cover posts, I love doing omnibus editions. I like them as a fan, there’s nothing better than getting a big honking bible-sized edition of a series, and as an art director, I love getting a chance to reinvent a character. This redesign started with shooting the right photo reference with Shirley Green. (Often an artist shoots his own reference photo, but the editors and I had such a strong sense of what we wanted that I art directed the shoot then sent the images we picked to David). We had a heck of a time finding the right model. We knew we wanted someone out of the vein of beefcake, someone cool, who could look so very fed up and a bit pissed. And look good in a suit, of course! But we settled on Jonathan Taylor and he was a great model, and totally a geek too, which makes it all so much more fun. Anyway then we picked poses we liked in-house, then sent the winner to David. He & I went back a bunch talking about tone and color, and he produced this fabulous illustration. So enjoy BIG after the jump, along with some shots of the various stages. And a teaser, of course…


Cover Launch: THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS by Rachel Aaron

One of the best parts of my job is getting to collaborate with fantastic artists on covers. And one of Orbit’s favorites is the stellar Sam Weber. When I heard we were going to collect the first three Spirit Thief books into an omnibus edition I knew I wanted to give Sam a crack at creating his version of the incorrigible rogue & sorcerer Eli Monpress. So here it is, The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron. It’s out in February in satisfying tome-size trade paperback. This edition collects The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater, and set’s the scene for the next story, The Spirit’s War, out in June 2012.

And speaking of The Spirit’s War, we know you guys are going to love this cover so much that we already have Sam working on the cover for the new book. And Art Director Kirk & I snuck out of the office for a few hours and went to visit Sam at his studio and see the cover-in-progress! We also took along our trusty cameraman Eric Westpheling to tape a studio tour and chat with Sam about his process. That video will debut with the cover launch of The Spirit’s War in a few months, but for now, here are some images of our visit and a SNEAK PEAK at the next cover!

I don’t remember the first time I saw Sam’s art but here at Orbit we love that he can capture such a strong feeling of fantasy and adventure, yet in a fresh way and in his unique style. Our first project together was The Gaslight Dogs, which was a stunning cover, but I have of course also been jealous of all the lovely work he’s been doing for other clients as well. Especially that drop-dead-gorgeous Ender’s Game ebook. And I have to say I was curious to see exactly what his process was…the transparency & textures he gets in his illustrations just blows my mind. I definitely learned a lot. I guess you’ll just have to wait for the cover launch of The Spirit’s War to hear him explain it himself…

Meanwhile, after the jump you can see a few more still shots of Sam in action, as well as this cover BIG, and a better shot of the art-in-progress…and if you haven’t had the chance to “meet” Eli Monpress yet, do yourself a favor and download the first two chapters as a free pdf here. I know I’m not supposed to have favorites and all, but this series is definitely on my list of manuscripts that I bug the editors about when I know it might be coming in…My early comparisons to The Princess Bride and Locke Lamora are completely on-target with everyone I’ve recommended this book to. Eli is a fantastic antihero, and, guy or girl, you can’t help fall in love with him a bit. (more…)