How We’re Working: Behind the Scenes with the Art Department During Social Distancing
Due to shelter-in-place and social distancing recommendations, the Harlequin publishing teams (including editorial, marketing, publicity, sales, and art) are all working remotely. This has presented an interesting challenge to our Art Department! Readers might not be aware, but most Harlequin series romance book covers start as photographs from live photo shoots with models…and currently all photo studios are closed.
We asked Tony Horvath, Creative Director, Series & Digital Publishing, how his team is tackling this unique situation.
How is working from home affecting the art team/covers? How are you adapting your processes?
Tony: We are working together as a team even more collaboratively than ever. We are helping each other find imagery that we have shot in the past, that we can use in new ways. Years ago, when I became Creative Director of Series I asked my team to start looking for ways to shoot alternate poses and wardrobe choices for individual covers, basically to have options. With every book, we develop a concept and we shoot what is promised in the concept, then play with alternate ideas for the last 15 – 20 minutes of the shoot. I felt that perhaps one day we would need to draw on these images for one reason or another. It turns out, here we are, unable to shoot covers due to self-isolation. Who knew?
Has this situation affected the kind of imagery you’re using on covers?
Tony: In some cases yes, some of the storyline details and descriptions might be lost due to the fact that we are unable to create those images. An example would be; the concept is a porch setting, western hero holding a baby, while the heroine is playing with a child, and a dog sits next to them. This may end up as a western hero holding baby, with heroine sitting next to him in a field, with a dog running in the background. We have one less child on the cover and revised the scene, but the overall “feeling” stays the same.
Is there anything else you want readers to know?
Tony: I think that for us in the Art Department, this is not the end of the world. We are Problem Solvers, Creators and Storytellers, and this is just going to make us more creative. In some ways it’s kind of novel and fun for us. We look forward to shooting again, but in the meantime, we are all very confident that the reader will still see a cover that conveys the storyline and depth of emotion they can expect from a Harlequin series romance book.