by Emma Cunningham, Production Coordinator, Digital & Internet
I was so excited when we received an e-mail from All Things Urban Fantasy letting us know that the entire Shifters series, by Rachel Vincent, was up for an award for Best Covers in a Series, and that Alpha was nominated on its own for Best Female Cover. You can cast your vote by clicking here.
Design was one of my favorite subjects in publishing school, so I thought this was a great opportunity to talk about design on the Harlequin Blog. And who better to talk to than Art Director Erin Craig? Erin took the time to answer a few questions about working in cover art.
Emma: How did you got into art direction and design?
Erin: I graduated with a degree in fine arts and worked in design at a few small shops for a number of years before deciding to go back to school for fashion co-ordination and styling. I had always wanted to be more involved in the bigger picture of design, and thought this would open some more doors for me. While in fashion school I interned with a top fashion photographer in Toronto. After graduation I was hired as a designer for a national retail clothing and lifestyle brand and from there came to Harlequin. As an Art Director at Harlequin I am fortunate to be able to use all my creative skills from design to fashion, to costuming on a daily basis.
Emma: Do you start with a concept or an image?
Erin: I start my design process with an idea. I am always keeping an eye on trends and what the next big thing is in the world of design, be it graphic, fashion, home. I keep journals and folders full of tears from magazines, flyers, photos etc. anything that speaks to me. So, when I am briefed on a project I already have a source in my mind that I can go to for inspiration. From there I spend a lot of time researching, and putting things together to develop concepts.
Emma: What triggered the idea/concept for the Shifters series cover art
Erin: The ideas for the look of a cover start in our briefings with the vision team. Marketing, editorial and art all sit together for the brief and we loosely determine the general positioning we’d like for the book. For the Shifters series we wanted to focus on a woman alone, with an overall slightly younger look. The story is about a werecat, a shapeshifter, so I wanted to bring an element of the cat to each of the covers. It’s a small detail, but if you look closely at each of the books you will notice some cat reference in the clothing weather it’s a chain necklace or cat print. Because the story is skewed a bit younger I also wanted to give it a more urban feel to appeal to a younger demographic. The title type and saturation of collies and general style of the art all help to address that.
To show us some of her inspiration, Erin let us take a peek at some of the images that inspired the cover for Alpha.
Don’t forget to cast your vote before December 29th, and check All Things Urban Fantasy on January 1, 2011 to see the winners!
Best of luck, Rachel and Erin!