SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

The Future of Illustration? -- Interview with cover artist Don Maitz

Discussion started on

Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region arkansas
Although this interview with cover artist, Don Maitz, is primarily about book cover illustration, he also has some interesting ideas about the future of illustration.
Here are some highlights:

Has the accessibility of computer generated graphics improved or diluted art in general and cover art specifically?

I believe this situation to be a two edged sword. Computer graphic technology has revolutionized everything. With the internet
and desktop publishing, promotional avenues have expanded world wide through a simple cable connection. Sophisticated treatments
and manipulations that were once expensive, time consuming, or nearly impossible to create are accomplished through simple keystrokes.
The shorter time involved reduces deadlines and layered files and pixel manipulation allow for radical last minute changes. Accomplished
digital artists excel at electronic imaging tools and create truly spectacular images.

Cover art within the book industry is about acquiring art of the highest caliber from the most competent artists on a budget. The publishing
staff hopes to match an artist’s ability with the book’s content. Often, if a book sells well, the author is credited, while the cover art is blamed
if the book fails. As fewer mass market publishers are producing fewer print titles, small press publishing, and self publishing is on the rise.
These enterprises do not normally have budgets to commission artists. As small press publishers rarely have full time art directors, and most
authors are not visually trained, cover art gets published that does not draw interest. A great cover suggests an exciting story. Computer generated
graphics (or any art) at the entry level, offers an inexpensive alternative. However, the aesthetic skills of an accomplished artist are worth the
added expense. Digital art done without serious art training is easily available, and on the surface, looks finished.

Before digital imagery, the lack of training and self discipline was much harder to hide. Although there may be jewels found in emerging digital talent that
will enhance a book, for the most part, premature publication hurts the author and the artist’s reputation.

Where do you see book covers going in the future?

Optimistically, I see the talents of cover artists given their space to shine with cover art being electronically used to sell e books
as part of the downloaded package, perhaps offered with and without the typography layer. Some publishers choose not to credit artists.
I would like to see credits added in the same manner as at the end of a film, listing the editor, the author’s agent, art director, cover artist
(- in really big type - grin), the book’s designer, sales manager, copy editor, the president of the publishing house, and so forth.

What if e-books became like DVD s where you get “Special Features” like an author’s perspective on the
book’s background and the artist’s preliminary sketches or perhaps the work in progressive stages of completion?

I would like to see rates for e-books to be reevaluated. More of the profits shared to author, publisher, and artist - basically to those who
provide the creative content and the actual product. with less awarded to the delivery system given the ease of electronic downloads.
End Quote

Read more of the interview here:
#1 - March 28, 2013, 07:54 AM


0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.