It’s difficult for me to point at one specific aspect of a cover and say, “That is what makes it outstanding.” There are so many artistic elements working together, even in the most simplistic of covers. It’s not every day that I step back from a novel’s face and say, “This cover only works because it’s got great type design.” Because as you know, a crap font can completely ruin cover, plain and simple.
But I can make a special argument for the commissioned artist. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of illustrated cover art. And I’m a sucker for any high-concept design. The type of artwork that almost ashamedly feels blemished when you add a title and an author name. The type of artwork that you would have looked at in a completely different light, had you known it existed in the world before being tied to a fictitious character.
The kind of art that the folks over at Shannon Associates represent.
Below are a few pieces that I’ve selected with permission from the kind folks over at Shannon Associates. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen ’em around before. They’re hot-linked to each artist at SA’s site, but please PLEASE do check out their other artists as well. It was hard enough listing only the pieces that I recognized!
(Neil even stopped by the blog and did an interview in August.)
(I never noticed that gross right hand until I saw this piece sans title.)
This piece surprised me most out of all of the YA cover finds, because when I first saw the cover for Kim Harrington’s Clarity, it freaked me out a bit. Seeing Baars’ art with the rest of her work, however, made me understand her craft a lot better.