Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Cover of the Week: September 4, 2013: Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death





Doing photo manipulations is a bitch.

Oh no, I said that out loud didn't I? *add in the saucy wink here* Well it is. It's fun, at least I think it is, but it's tough work. This is what the artist does for your cover. Manipulates photos so they/it fits whatever criteria is given.

And now that you're all wondering what I'm blathering on about, I want to share.

I received a reply to my last post which was AWESOME, (The reply not the post), about how it was interesting to see how people did the covers, or art in general, the thought process, more to the point. And that person was correct. It is fun to see it. Plus, bonus, it makes you appreciate just how much work goes into whatever is being created. This is why we're fascinated with cooking shows, car and home renovation shows, etc. etc. etc. It seems that we are inherently builders and crafters after being hunter/gatherers first of course. Or at least we want to be.

Where do cover artists fit in you ask? Well, we all know that authors spend hours mulling, typing, frowning, throwing pens, pulling hair, and generally becoming fully enveloped by their stories as they write them. What most people tend to not realize is that the book cover artist is the exact same way. We huff, we growl, we bitch and moan, or in my case I swear a whole lot and then shut my computer down to go do something else for awhile.

If you're one of the lucky ones with enough talent to nab a contract with a publishing company, you'll get the director (of whatever division you're currently indebted to for giving you the green light) who will point out mistakes or offer opinions of what you can do better. If you're an author you'll get a beta reader, a line reader, and maybe some other sort of reader to tell you what you did wrong and perhaps suggestions on how to improve.  But what if you're like me and mostly work with freelance authors or are a freelance author? Any author can tell you that writing a story is not just a matter of brewing up a cup of joe, and writing till you've finished your life altering tome in one hour. Just as a good artist, does not just sit at their computer, open up Photoshop, and cut and paste any old picture and ta dah, the Sistine chapel in digital form (though they do have a virtual tour of it online here: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/index_sistina_en.htm).

Take for instance the cover of the week. Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death  by Kim Knox - Artist John Kicksee at Kix by Design. Now, there are gonna be some of you out there that won't agree with my choosing this cover, but let me explain why I am enjoying this cover so much. It's got daring, moxy, pizazz, in short....it has TEXTURES!!!!!! Lots of cool make it look painty textures. Which are probably called something like paint textures instead of painty but really who cares what I call it? It's neat!

The only thing I wish so very, very much is that the texture got carried from the background over onto the actual man a bit more than just the bottom half of his arm. I realize the artist was probably using a colored texture (which can be a bear and a half to work with and get looking decent), but you can mess with the colors on a copy of that texture so it matches the man himself and then overlay it. Takes a bit of finagling but it can be done. It would have tied the man into the picture a wee bit better. He just seems a touch too shiny compared to the rest of the lovely cover, it's like he just needs a little bit of roughing up. But that's one of those things that you don't see until you see it live and in Technicolor on someone else's site. However, if you don't actually look for it you probably won't see it. So that's good. So don't look ok? *grins*

I absolutely adore the font and the details both inside the O on Frost and the small decorative touches above and below the titles. I'm not sure if this artist did the font themselves or bought it, but what I do know is that someone loves a beautiful font and isn't afraid to use it. So many covers out there use great fonts but they're so damned hard to read. This font is clear and concise and it fits the Victorian feel of the book. Honestly it was the font I was really drawn to first. Just, bam...here he is Agamemnon Frost, love him or leave him. Well you pretty much sold me with the damn title and the gorgeous font...I'm in Aggie where to now?

I also loved the grey industrial type background mixed with the ornate wrought iron decoration behind the man. Such a cool little contrast that also manages to show how the man is separated from the bitter dark of industry with his expensive ironically enough, man-made gate. I'm not sure if this was the artist's intention so this may just have been what it provoked in my mind, but still, pretty damn nifty.

All in all, it looks like John Kicksee went to a lot of trouble trying to figure out how capture your eye,  how to give the cover the correct feel for the time period it's set in, and how to NOT make it look like a million other covers that came before it. The fact that Mr. Kicksee went to all that trouble and it worked is always a pretty damn impressive feat. Kudos to this artist.

And that's why it's my pick for cover of the week.

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J.




All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn. 






This review is also published and up on The Novel Approach Reviews. A wonderful book review website that you must check out! :)

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