A book by its cover

There’s the old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover”. Sage advice, if you ask me when judging people. However, I find myself very much judging a book by its cover, to gain some insight as to what the book is about. You’d be surprised to know that many authors do not choose the cover to their own book. Publishing companies decide, and I would think they know best, right? They might also have an inside scoop on the best illustrators, or have something in mind that would help sell the book. Some illustrators add to the book’s worth as well, making it a collector’s edition.

For instance, hardcover books will have a different artist than the paperback copy as found in R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf series. The covers were redone when reprinted by Todd Lockwood (who does breathtaking work, by the way).

Starless Night’s original cover include Drizzt looking like an old man, despite the story telling how Drizzt, despite his years was from the long lived Drow race and therefore quite young looking. You’ll notice too, this is not the ebony skinned Dark Elf described in the book, but an old, white man, looking stern. The newer cover captures the story and its characters so much better.

Here is Todd Lockwood’s version of Starless Nights, with the infamous fight scene between Drizzt and his nemesis Artemis Entreri. Not only is Drizzt pictured as the true Drow with dark skin and white hair, but the scene holds the true sense of the excellent fighting scenes the author is known for.

Michael Whelan is a famed illustrator that creates some mind blowing artwork for books of various genre. He did the covers for Stephan Kings Roland the Gunslinger, and Michael Moorcock’s Elric series. He also designed Anne McCaffrey‘s Dragonriders of Pern series, among others.

Michael Komarck is another artist that excels at book covers and letting the reader get a real sense of the story and characters. Its this sort of cover design that snags my attention and has me picking up the book to read what its all about. Feel free to post favorite authors or books you find that are eye catching.


5 Replies to “A book by its cover”

    1. Wow. I already knew that many writers don’t get to pick their own book cover, but it never once occurred to me the painter gets told what to paint. That strikes me as almost sacrilegious…telling the artist how to do their craft, but I suppose that’s part of the business to.
      Thanks for the posting this comment. It shows another view that should be added to this topic.


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