"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Thursday, June 9, 2011

A BOOK COVER IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A COVER FOR A BOOK! ---- Artist Teresa Fasolino Guest Posts

Today's book covers are absolutely gorgeous, the seem like works of art that should be framed and hung on walls to be enjoyed every day!!

This year I have started to give credit to the wonderful Cover Artists if they are listed in the book, but my interest kept growing and growing so I decided to contact an artist to see how a book cover was created.  Teresa Fasolino was that artist and she gracefully agreed to Guest Post here today to share the process with us.

Welcome Teresa

Thanks Lori,

As an illustrator for so many Cozy Mysteries it is a real treat to learn that readers notice and appreciate the paintings on the covers of their favorite books and that your readers are interested in the process by which a book gets it’s cover. In a nutshell here’s the process of creating a painting for a Mystery Book Jacket.

The cover conference stage: When a new mystery manuscript arrives at the desk of an editor it’s “Conferenced” at a Cover Conference meeting where the editors divide up the lists of new manuscripts among the art directors. The editor discusses the new manuscript with the art director pointing out important scenes, clues and mystery elements. The suggestions along with a synopsis are passed on to the artist with the manuscript to help them understand what’s important to depict on the cover. It’s the art director who matches up the illustrator with the mystery series. I have heard of a new author asking for my work when shown past covers by different artists. I personally like to read the whole manuscript for imagery, settings and pictorial detail that are so important to get the feeling and texture of the story just right. Once in a while I might be given just a few chapters or important passages but prefer having the whole manuscript.

The sketch stage: After reading the story while underlining important passages the next stage of the process for the illustrator is to create and submit a sketch. I usually submit one sketch, but there could be two sketches submitted or one sketch with some variation in placement of the elements. This stage involves taking reference photos and gathering reference to draw and paint from. The sketch or sketches are submitted to the art director for comment. The art director shows the sketch to the editor for approval. This is the stage where any revisions to the sketch would be made including any need for more “bleed” or space for type.

The finish stage: Once the revisions have been made it’s on to the finish, which for me usually means a couple of weeks of work as my oil paintings are labor intensive with lots of “Cozy” details. There is only one piece of finished art. The art directors at Berkley usually work around my drawing to set a design for the series, which will then be followed for the rest of its life. Sometimes there is a separate designer in- house who works on designing the type but it is the Art Director who sets the look of the series. Finally the finished painting is turned in and must be approved. There are usually no revisions at this stage since any problems were caught in the sketch stage where changes are much easier to make.

Who knows what E Books will do to Book Jacket Illustration so far the computer age has not been kind to print and those of us who work in print media. The future is up to your readers.

Hope this is illuminating. By the way the art directors, editors and the authors at Berkley Prime Crime are very professional and so easy to work with. Mystery authors seem to be a delightful group and very appreciative of the cover art, some have honored me by mentioning my name and work in the acknowledgments.


Here is just a small example of Teresa's Fabulous Work!!!
!Sentenced to Death (A Booktown Mystery)The Diva Paints the Town (A Domestic Diva Mystery)The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma's Match (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)(PATIENCE, PRINCESS CATHERINE) BY Meyer, Carolyn ( AUTHOR )paperback{Patience, Princess Catherine} on 01 Jan, 2009Bookmarked For Death (Booktown Mystery Series)The Diva Haunts the House (A Domestic Diva Mystery)The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)The Tainted Snuff Box (Beau Brummell Mysteries)Chapter & Hearse (A Booktown Mystery)The Diva Takes the CakeThe Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)The Lion of St. Mark (The Venetians, Book 1)Doomed Queen Anne: A Young Royals BookBookplate Special (A Booktown Mystery)The Diva Cooks a Goose (A Domestic Diva Mystery)Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally AcknowledgedThe Long Quiche Goodbye (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY)Lost and Fondue (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY)Wreath of Deception (A Craft Corner Mystery)String of Lies (A Craft Corner Mystery)

She also designs stamps.

So I wasn't far off.  I would love one of Teresa's paintings to hang on my wall any time.  They are very beautiful and I will continue to give credit where credit is due.  Don't get me wrong I know we buy the books to read but with covers as awesome as these these books should just leap off the shelves and into our hands.  The next time you start a new book take a good look at the page the lists the copyright, most paperback books list the Cover Illustrator and Cover Designer.  Hardcover books show the information on the book jacket.  We have come a long way from when I started reading when the covers were just solid colors with the Title and the Author shown.

Thank you so much Teresa for bringing us into the world of an illustrator, I look forward to all the covers in your future.

Would you like to see more of Teresa's work?  Check out http://newborngroup.com/html/fasolino.html  

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


BK Walker said...

Wonderful post Teresa. Dolly I'm so glad you were intrigued enough to search out an artist. I love the work, it's beautiful.


Yvonne said...

Great post! I love the covers on the cozy mysteries.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

It is interesting to know what the process is for these wonderful covers! I love the cozy mystery covers. Thank you for giving us a heads up as to how the covers come to be. Teresa, you are very talented and your work is beautiful! Great post!

Krista said...

Teresa paints my covers, and she's just fantastic! Her covers are always perfect for my mysteries. One of my readers said she wants to walk into my covers. I think she put it perfectly. Teresa includes amazing details. For my upcoming book, she even made a point of visiting a house with the right type of architecture! I am soooo lucky that she's my cover artist!

Thanks for telling us more about the process, Teresa!

Domestic Diva Mysteries

Avery Aames said...

Teresa, so lovely to hear how you work. You do my covers for A Cheese Shop Mystery series and I couldn't be happier...prouder...delighted. You capture just the right tone. Like Krista's readers, my readers have often made mention of the covert art pulling them to the bookshelf to buy the book and they often reference the cover when reading the story. You are a talent and I'm very thankful.

~Avery AveryAames.com

dollycas aka Lori said...

I added your covers, sorry I forgot to add them originally.

Teresa's work just blows me away, she is amazing!!!

LORNA BARRETT (aka Lorraine Bartlett) said...

Hi, Teresa. As you know I'm absolutely THRILLED with the covers you've done for the Booktown Mysteries (and can't wait to see what you come up with for the next one, Murder on the Half shell--I'm sure the cover conference is just around the corner).

I didn't know you designed stamps. I just used 2000+ of your herb stamps on my postcards for Sentenced to Death and kept thinking as I stuck them down "how pretty!"

Sheila Connolly said...

Thank you for your explanation. Cozy covers are so important, and yours are lovely.

One question: say you put together a cover, and someone (the writer, the editor) hates a part of it. How easy is it to change just a portion? I keep imagining something like PhotoShop, where you simply replace a color or peel off a layer. But if you're working in real paints rather than pixels, you can't exactly do that, can you?

Mary Ellen Hughes said...

Teresa designed two of my Craft Corner mysteries (Wreath of Deception and String of Lies) which I loved! Teresa, do you own the cover illustration or does the publisher? Can an author possibly buy the cover you made when she gets her rights back - to use as an ebook cover?

Jenn McKinlay said...

I believe that covers are critical (they get me to
pick up the book), and yours are just fantastic, Teresa. Thanks so much for telling us about the
process. Fascinating!

Anonymous said...

For me especially if the book is by an author that I have not read the cover can make a difference in whether or not I may even pick up the book to look at.

Teresa, I have definitely bought books that you have done the cover for. And I can see that you have read every thing that was given to you to be able to do the cover.

Thanks for talking about this.

Carol N Wong said...

I love your book covers!! I have two post cards from the author that have your covers. Of course they are hanging up on the wall in this room!
Love the stamps too!


holdenj said...

What a neat post and beautiful book covers. Teresa does such a wonderful job.

Gigi Ann said...

I loved this post, it is always interesting to learn how books and their covers work together. I must admit, sometimes I just buy a book, because I love the cover. What a nice display of Teresa's work. Thanks Lori for all your hard work and then sharing it with us.

Maria said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cover art. I am so glad you post the name of the artist when you can.

I really enjoyed this article. Thanks so much Teresa for presenting al this information.

If it is any consolation to artist everywhere worried about ebooks, I hired an illustrator for two of my e-books! There will still be plenty of work for illustrators (Under Witch Moon was done by Deb Wentz and Executive Retention was digital art done by Katerina Vamvasaki.)

I love original artwork. For my next book (Under Witch Aura) I have to decide between illustration and photo manipulation (which is becoming ever more common.) I know which one I'd like to have, but illustrations are generally more expensive--they are so worth it. Such great works of art really add to the atmosphere of a book.

I predict illustrations will never die out! They are too beautiful and there will always be demand for such talent.