July 27, 2009

From Art to Cover Art...and More

I know I've mentioned it before, but don't miss the excellent contributions to the Readergirlz Art Saves project, which you can view at Bildungsroman. There are some fabulous ones already posted, and each one is so different. Keep checking back this month for more interpretations of how Art Saves.

The ongoing discussion about the cover depiction on Justine Larbalestier's book liar has overflowed from the kidlit world and entered the mainstream(-ish)--prompting some very thought-provoking discussions about depictions of non-white characters on book covers. My favorite post in all this so far is at the YA YA YAs, where Trisha has done some interesting research into Asian-Americans on YA book covers (thanks go to Tanita for the link). Notwithstanding the noticeable trend to use stock photos that lop off heads and limbs (regardless of race), there are not only not NEARLY enough books featuring Asian-American protagonists (in my opinion), but for 2009, there are very few with images of Asian-Americans on the cover.

I find this all very interesting to think about, because when I was quite a bit younger (i.e., in high school) I thought I might want to be a book cover artist. Of course, the field of book cover design has changed so much, with most genres going with stock photos and photo manipulation or even simple text design as opposed to work by illustrators, but I spent enormous amounts of time copying Michael Whelan fantasy book covers (like this one--I did a very time-consuming pencil copy) and that was the image in my mind of what a cover artist did. Now, it seems to be a lot more focused on overall design and layout--at least, most of the time, unless it's a children's book.

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.comAnyway, in her post, Trisha lists a number of excellent books (many of which I need to put towards the top of the TBR list!--anyone read Skunk Girl yet?? I have to try to find that...), and she also mentioned the upcoming Color Me Brown Book Challenge at Color Online. In August, read and review books by people of color, and you'll be entered into a prize drawing. I'll definitely make a point of seeing what I can find at my library, and we'll also be participating in the One Shot Southeast Asia day that Colleen is organizing, also in August. So stay tuned for much reading goodness.

1 comment:

tanita✿davis said...

NERD ALERT: I had a Michael Whelan picture for my desktop back in the 90's.

It's true... cover art has changed a lot, but I was pleased that some of the houses have avoided the photographs. But I wonder: does that mean people will be more or less likely to pick a book up? Larbalestier's editor's reason for choosing the cover of LIAR is that the house has had "success" with books with girls' faces on the cover. (No word on the success of torsos, backs of the heads, or bellybuttons...)