It is well known that first impressions are a key element in how a relationship will develop. With this in mind, it is very important to me to create beautiful covers for my books that communicate something about myself as the author as well as communicating a message about the contents of the books. Deciding what to put on the cover is therefore a very significant part of the creative process when I produce a book.
A few years ago I realised that I am not keen on photo covers. I have a romantic sensibility that loves nostalgia, story and art. Though photography can play on all of these, I find that non-photographic art does so much more effectively. Artistic illustration is such a perfect vehicle for the imagination. However, I am not myself a good graphic artist, having poor sketching and painting abilities. So, if I was to have non-photographic covers then I had to find artists that could produce them for me.
The nostalgia element is particularly strong in my romantic sensibility, so I prefer cover art that has a vintage feel, in a style reminiscent of times gone by, or with content that is reminiscent of times gone by. For the cover of Lace Knits I specifically sought an artist who had produced artwork that was reminiscent of childrens’ annual covers in the early twentieth century. During the run-up to Yorkshire’s Grand Départ for the Tour de France in 2015 I spotted a picture in that style in my Twitter stream. It had been produced by an artist called Alex Tomlinson, so I contacted him with my cover art request. He did a absolutely fabulous job, so I have continued to work with him on subsequent books.
As I told you last week, Cabled Knits has a Yorkshire abbeys theme. I told Alex this and he ran with it, coming up with the excellent idea of a picture based on a stained glass window. I took various pictures of the yarns and garments that the book would feature for him to use as source material, some of them in response to very specific requests from him (eg, a straight-on body pic of somebody knitting, wearing the Celtic cabled hoodie). Then, sending me various drafts along the way, he produced the cover image. I love it, and I’m sure you will too!