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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy 3

baf3.jpg

Another work update and another cover for Underland Press, this being the third volume in the Best American Fantasy series. The picture is based on a description from Jeffrey Ford’s story although I don’t know how accurate this may be since I only had a précis to go on, not the story itself; I hope Mr Ford will forgive the necessary artistic licence. The book will be published in January 2010.

 


 

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {work}.

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2 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Chris Warren

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    Great cover. I believe when marketing books the first objective of the cover design is to get browsers in any environment to want to pick up/look inside the book. A picture is worth a thousand words in this respect and the cover of Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy volume 3 does just that (irrespective of its accurate representation of John Ford’s story).

    I used the same principle for my first fantasy book published last month (May) – Randolph’s Challenge Book One-The Pendulum Swings. Have a look on http://www.randolphschallenge.com; I’d appreciate any feedback on the cover design or thoughts on the cover design as a marketing tool.

    Chris Warren

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Hi Chris. Thanks for your comments and my apologies for not responding sooner, pressure of work and the site having some grievous network problems are the excuses.

    Since you asked what I thought about your cover I can give some swift impressions with the proviso that these are my opinions and should be accepted or rejected as required.

    Your cover looks right for the subject matter up to a point, the point for me being some concerns over layout and composition. I try to avoid placing the title in the centre of an illustration although there’s sometimes pressure from (in the case of CD design especially) artists to do exactly that. I’m not keen personally on bevelled and glowing type although again some people like that if it’s a feature of a genre they want to fall in with. Fantasy books (especially heroic fantasy titles) tend to go for lavish Photoshopped lettering designs since that’s become a look associated with the genre. Of more concern for me as a designer is the presence of a foot mark in the word “Randolph’s” in the place of an apostrophe. That’s a typesetting error of a kind one really wants to avoid. It’s a problem with florid font designs that they often don’t include a full range of punctuation marks.

    The other point I’d make (briefly!) is that with my own illustrations it’s always my concern to try and find a strong focus for the cover, either a good strong central image or a striking graphic element. I think your cover could do with more of a focus in that respect, it hints at much but could maybe do more to stimulate a would-be reader.

    I hope you regard this as constructive criticism. Book design can be tough even when you’re experienced. Behind every successful cover there often stands unseen any number of unsuccessful drafts.

 




 

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