Interview With a Young Cover Artist

As I’m preparing to put up a new book cover for Anna and the Dragon, I decided that my former book cover artist should give me her thoughts. To start with, I’m going to give you some images that demonstrate her process:

This is the original pen and ink drawing.

This is the original pen and ink drawing.

This is the original book cover.

This is the original book cover.

This is the artist playing around with fonts and highlighting to see if she can create a better look.

This is the artist playing around with fonts and highlighting to see if she can create a better look.

Jill: Let’s just get this out of the way: Did you think I was crazy for asking you to do a professional level project such as this?

Emille: No.

Jill: What should I ask you that won’t allow you to give me a yes or no answer?

Emille: That one works.

Jill: Do you like your current cover (as it appears on Amazon)?

Emille: I’m not particularly fond of how it turned out. There are a lot of errors with it that I won’t go into right now. I’m glad that you’re getting a new cover image because I know it isn’t the best that I am or will someday be capable of and as a perfectionist I don’t like to present poor work to the general public.

Jill: How did you feel about the public criticism that strangers leveled at your artwork?

Emille: To be honest, it didn’t really affect me very much at all. I think I can say with honesty I’m not very sensitive in this regard. These criticisms I read before I began to realize the flaws myself, and I really don’t care what most people think of my work. Now that I understand some of my errors, I can only agree to some level.

Jill: What criticism did you disagree with?

Emille: Some people were disparaging the font used, which was Trajan. You [Jill, aka Mom] actually picked it out, and I think it looks very striking as a title font. The fact that the words are all written in the same size in a straight line might have been improved, however. A more fashionable effect may have been achieved by using different sizes for the words of the title and arranging them in another way.

Jill: How did you feel about the public praise you received from strangers?

Emille: I don’t think I saw much of it, but, though I disagree with those who complimented it, it was awfully nice of them to say.

Jill: Did you enjoy the new experience of creating a book cover?

Emille: Well, it was somewhat tough, as I was trying to achieve another person’s [your] vision. I did enjoy doing the original pen and ink drawing and I like how it turned out. I also generally enjoy photoshop work even if it was tedious at times. I think I would like to do another book cover someday, hopefully with better results.

Jill: Do you have any regrets over saying yes to your mom’s crazy whim?

Emille: Should I? I don’t think I really regret it.

Jill: Do you plan to go into an art-based career?

Emille: I’ll never give up being an artist. As far as career, I’m not decided, but it’s always a possibility.

Jill: Would you consider yourself to be a superhero or a supervillain? Why?

Emille: Relevance eludes me; however, I’ll answer your question anyway. I’m definitely a hero [we’re talking fantasies here…right?]…Why? Hmmm…I don’t think I’m evil enough to be a villain…And anyway I hate losing ;). Everyone knows the villain loses in the end. What about you?

Jill: I’ll just say that Dr. Horrible’s intentions aren’t completely evil.

Emille: I think, as a villain, he’s kind of a failure.

Jill: At least he’s not a narcissist!

Emille: Exactly. He’s not that evil, and he’s not even annoying. As a villain, he fails.

Jill: To wrap it up, are there any questions you’d like to ask me?

Emille: How come when I asked whether you were a hero or a villain, you brought up Dr. Horrible rather than answering my question?

Jill: Great! That wraps it up, folks……


If you’d like to order a copy of my book with Emille’s artwork, do so NOW (though, by the sound of it, more copies of it in the world might annoy her). I’ve ordered twenty copies for myself. After the change up, I might be willing to part with one for the right price.



    1. This is something that I didn’t realize was an issue until CathiLyn revealed it to me. I can either pay for expanded distribution, or I could send you a copy myself.

      1. I know I bought the Kindle version but this is one I’d like to have on my shelf. If you do expanded distribution, wait till you’re sure there are no more changes (cover, typos, whatever) as there is an extra fee for those if you do them after distribution kicks in. I guess it depends if you think it’s worthwhile selling on B&N and internationally. With the Welsh themes you may find fans in the UK.

  1. I have to say, I’m glad you showed the original pen and ink. Some images work better in black and white, and straight illustration, and that is one. It’s actually MUCH more striking as just a black and white drawing. I think that is why it doesn’t work on the cover–the cover version is more of an attempt at realism, and the drawing itself doesn’t function that way. But by itself, the drawing is pretty good.

    I did a drawing that the EXACT same thing happened with, btw. It was something that worked well as illustration, but when color was added to it and it was put on a cover…hot mess. It ended up inside in the book as the original drawing. (I still think it doesn’t quite match the feel of the book it’s in, but I do think it’s a good drawing in and of itself.) Fortunately, an amazing digital painter took over and did a new cover.

    Anyway, it is awesome that you are able to be so objective about your own work, especially at this age. That shows me that you are going to grow as an artist, and hone the raw talent you obviously have, and I look forward to seeing what you’ll be producing in the future!

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