Tuesday, 22 December 2009

FIVE Challenge: Covers

FIVE Great Covers

Further explanation of the FIVE Challenge here.

To be completely honest and arrogant, I think Australian graphic artists win out over American and British efforts ... in most cases. Australian covers seem more in line with the story and have a vibrance about them that I don't often see elsewhere. There is nothing I hate more than a cover that doesn't reflect the story so don't be surprised to NOT see Fallen on this list (...it's beautiful but the long haired figure on the cover has nothing to do with the protagonist.) So don't be shocked by the Aussie dominance in this list. Again in no particular order, my favourite covers for the year.

Click on the title to be taken to story summary, my review and author information.

5. Posse by Kate Welshman (Random House Australia)
Art by Astred Hicks

Simple, beautiful, vibrant, earthy.

It just breathes and it's exquisite. For more information about the development of this cover you can read my interview with Astred here OR check out her amazing and varied work at her website.

Her quick mention of the use of the O in Posse and its relevance for the character is interesting as is the preparation involved in this specific cover.

4. The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan (Allen and Unwin)
Art by Elise Hurst

This piece and the covers for the forthcoming titles of the series are INCREDIBLE. All three eventual covers merge to create one picture that details the story. It's a fantastic concept that really shook loose the stodgy and sometimes crappy fantasty covers that are all too common.

I love the black and white. The notion of a tile that flows from one cover to the next is also incredible. The amount of thought that needed to be undertaken on a technical level is amazing, as is the details from the story.

Elise Hurst is a gifted artist and you can check out her blog entry of the three covers (triptych) here or visit her folio at her website (well worth an online wander).

3. Fire by Kristin Cashore (Gollancz Australia)
Art by Larry Rostant / LouLou Clarke

It's gasp inducingly beautiful. At first glance it's one thing and then upon another look you find other aspects to grab your interest. It accurately depicts the character as a strong and social removed woman of uncommon beauty without ever showing her face clearly. The breeze catching her dress shows her grace and poise and the colour highlights her specialness, depicts the dark state of the world and hints at her role as saviour to the people. Perfection.

I also like that it fits with the cover of Graceling without being too similar. They are companion novels and look as such. Nice overall concept.

2. Pink by Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin)
Art by Bruno Herfst

I admit to being a bit of a Bruno fangirl. He's worked on some amazing titles including the Australian cover of Justine Larbalestier's Liar which was displayed on her blog repeatedly this year. I actually got to meet the man late last month and managed to garble out a sentence. As I said the Elise (editor at A&U) at the time, he was not what I expected with his huge head of lovely, wild hair and giant-like height! His work space was fun to look around with his works in progress but as I am crippled with a lack of spatial awareness (and a respect for people's work spaces) I didn't touch anything!

Pink is brilliant because it works on many levels. There's an obviousness to it...the title of the book is Pink after all. There's the use of the different shades of pink, the detail in the illustrations and the simple typefacing and layout of it all. I am artistically disabled but I know a great cover.

1. Vulture's Gate by Kirsty Murray (Allen & Unwin)
Art by Ruth Gruener

I first saw this in its ARC cover that was red and black and it was strikingly awesome. Then I got the final copy and it's like straight out of a scary dream complete with dark birds, barbed wire, stormy skies and abandoned children. So vivid, so evocative, so darned good.

I am a fan of shadow and it's definitely a friend in this cover. I particularly love how the typefacing is at complete contrast to the graphics in terms of colour and lines. Yet they have the common element of the comic book-esque light and shadow...adore it.

Tomorrow ... FIVE Great Series
Yesterday...FIVE Great Debuts


Charlotte said...

Wow, The Poison Throne's cover is amazing. And I love the cover for Fire, I follow Kristin Cashore's blog where she put all the international covers, and this one has always been my favorite. Perfect for the book.

Kirsty Murray said...

Ruth Gruener designed the cover for Vulture's Gate. She's a Melbourne based designer, definitely the Queen of the Shadow. She also designed the cover of my books 'Bridie's Fire' and 'The Secret Life of Maeve Lee Kwong'. For 'Vulture's Gate', Ruth drew inspiration from Hitchcock's film 'The Birds'.

Celine Kiernan said...

I love the work Elise Hurst did on the Moorehawke covers! They are, by far, my favourite of all my covers. EH is a genius.

And thank you so much for the mention!