Thursday, May 10, 2012

Art . . and a Prediction

Considering I've had cover art on the brain lately (grrrr), it's no wonder I've been paying even greater attention to this year's Rainbow Awards cover art competition. I'm beginning to realize what I don't vote for is probably more telling than what I do vote for. The covers I invariably skim past all seem to have one or more of these characteristics:

  • Two faces or two torsos, usually front and center and large. Such covers are so commonplace, they say nothing about a book except that it's m/m romance. But so what? I already know that. Tell me more! Or at least make me imagine more.
  • Drawings that look generically yaoi-ish. These have gotten tiresome.
  • Bland landscapes.
  • Wings. Of the angel variety. I'm really sick of wings.
  • Animals -- usually, wolves or cats. Aside from poser figures, the one thing sure to send me running in the opposite direction is a freakin' wolf on a cover.
  • Shitty composition. Even if a cover has beautiful or intriguing graphic elements, I'm instantly turned off if those elements are out of proportion to one another or poorly arranged and balanced. 
  • Inappropriate fonts and/or colors. This is related to the above. Making bad font or color choices is probably the most widespread problem among designers, and it's one that can destroy otherwise promising covers. 

I know I'm not an expert, and a lot of people aren't in the least bit bothered by the things I've mentioned. But every time this competition rolls around, I get more of an education on how important a unique, well-done cover can be. And I'm reminded why Anne Cain is so consistently brilliant.

Just for the record, I think this one might make it to the top:

Even if it doesn't, BRAVO, Dreamspinner and Shobana Appavu! Wow. Hard to get more arresting than this.


Tam said...

That one is very cool. I'm not to fussy to be honest and most of the time don't pay that much attention to the cover unless it's very unusual. I'm okay with naked man titty, wolves, random images, but what I HATE, is poor quality. When it looks like someone used Paint to crop the guy out (no smooth edges, you know the shirt was flapping in the breeze but it's just chopped off), when it's blown up and blurry, photoshopped hair using the most amateur program possible, when the font sucks and is almost unreadable, more of the technical stuff. My kid can do better work than that on our low-end photoshop program. There is no excuse for a guy to be stretched or blurry, not with technology what it is.

Oh, and well, posers are just a bad idea all around.

K. Z. Snow said...

Yeah, I know I'm a fuss-budget about this stuff. A stunning cover won't get me to buy a book, but it will at least get me to stop and have a look at the blurb and excerpt. But downright crappy (in the ways you mentioned)? No stop; no look; no purchase.

Chris said...

I've been checking in with authors whose books I think have great covers to make sure that they've submitted those books to Elisa. I think my favorites this year so far are the cover of Hard Tail and the cover of the first Mnevermind book. Both are eye catching and DIFFERENT. :)

I tend to dislike art by a certain artist whose initials are PR, poser art, and nearly everything from MLR.

Something that doesn't make sense to me in the cover contest are submissions of multiple books from a series for which all of the covers are the same, with only variations of title/author and perhaps color.