book cover art

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book cover art

Postby temp » Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:14 pm

What's everyone's favourite book cover art? For me, I think I liked "City of Saints and Madmen"..well, I guess not for the art, but more for the fact that the cover itself was part of the stories and appendix.

I guess for art, for some reason Tad Williams "Dragonbone Chair" comes to mind...don't know why, but I liked it. Also, "Deadhouse Gates" Steven Erickson was cool..sorry, dunno who the artists were...I just remember the books.
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favorites

Postby admin » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:41 pm

A few of my favorites that come to mind are Frank Kelly Freas's cover for the issue of Astounding with Martians, Go Home by Fred Brown, the issue of Weird Tales by Freas with Pan, the Hannis Bok cover of Land of Unreason by de Camp and Pratt, the paperback cover of Return to Tomorrow by Arthur C. Clarke drawn by Powers, the cover of the first edition hardback of Dune, and, more recently, the covers of The Knight and The Wizard by Gene Wolfe.

I do think recent covers are not as good as cover art in the forties and fifties. Most seem to be generic art, and one very much like another, with little or nothing to do with the book. I wonder why that is.
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Postby Otherness » Sat Jul 30, 2005 5:50 pm

Tough question. But if I had to pick one it would be Michael Whelan's cover for Arthur C. Clarke's 2010.

Also in the running is the cover to the 1987 paperback edition of Tales of the Ten Worlds(also by A.C. Clarke). The painting isnt credited though and I dont know who the artist is. Ive love to find out. It captures the sense of wonder of science fiction better than almost any painting Ive ever seen.
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Re: favorites

Postby jdalton » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:51 pm

admin wrote:I do think recent covers are not as good as cover art in the forties and fifties. Most seem to be generic art, and one very much like another, with little or nothing to do with the book. I wonder why that is.

It is, I think, because most illustrators who still do the kind of intensive realistic painting that scifi book publishers are looking for are old, have to work under very tight deadlines, and do a lot of covers (and a lot of other stuff) and can't be bothered to put the kind of time and effort that, say, an art director working on a movie would when coming up with a unique "look" that perfectly matches the script.

...Or at least, if the one such illustrator I've actually met can be used as an indicator of an entire industry.
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Old sf pulp mag originals

Postby Buglunch » Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:59 pm

Got this cheap in perfect shape a few months ago:
Science Fiction of the 20th Century-An Illustrated History

Frank M. Robinson, Collectors Press, Portland, Oregon
1999


http://www.zone-sf.com/20centurysfhf.html
http://www.rambles.net/robinson_sf20th.html

8)
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Maybe?

Postby hegemon » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:40 am

Maybe all the really good illustrators are doing comics these days.
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Postby Buglunch » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:16 pm

Some are working on video games.
In Canada, HypaSpace Weekly on Space Channel Saturdays interviews artists and yes, comics and "adult graphic novels" haved snapped up lots.
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Game art

Postby hegemon » Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:15 pm

I'm not fond of most game art, but I did like the art of Myst. Back in the 1950s, Rand Miller might very well be drawing covers for Galaxy.
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Re: Maybe?

Postby jdalton » Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:28 pm

hegemon wrote:Maybe all the really good illustrators are doing comics these days.

There are some very cool illustrators doing comics, but not enough of them are doing sci-fi.
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comic illustrators today

Postby hegemon » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:21 am

The illustrators of the comics I grew up with had a very distinctive style. You could always tell a Carmine Infantino story or a Joe Kubert story or a Will Eisner story just by glancing at the art.

Maybe it is just that I am older now, but it does not seem to me as if today's comic illustrators have nearly as distinctive styles. They're good -- many of them very good, but most seem to do "generic superhero" and, sadly, I can't tell one from the other in most cases. I read Amazing Spider-man, Supreme Power, The X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Tom Strong. and I couldn't name one of the illustrators, nor tell you if any two had the same illustrator or not.
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Postby jdalton » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:37 pm

I stopped reading superhero comics cold turkey about four or five years ago. I was just sick of reading the same stories recycled over and over again, and the few fabulous artists who did not conform to the mould you mentioned were just not enough to make up for it. Then I started reading nothing but manga. Which was certainly a welcome change as there are a lot of really good Japanese comics, but the trouble is that after a while they all seem to fall into a very small number of genres with far-too-similar stories and art. At least, this is the case with the Japanese comics that make it into English translation.

Now I'm reading more and more artsy and underground comics (the type of comics the critics go for). These are the ones with the best illustrators. I also read online comics- most of which are crap, but at least they are incredibly diverse and original.
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comics

Postby hegemon » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:59 am

I've had the same experience you have with both superheroes and manga, though I have to admit Civil War has captured my interest.

For comics that are really different, try Amelia Rules and Girl Genius.
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Re: book cover art

Postby catthom » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:22 am

Not book cover art, but Thomas Cole's series Course of Empire has what I think is the first highly detailed painting of a post apocalyptic scene (the last image in the series, Desolation.
He covers the wild, or savage state, the arcadian or pastoral state, the height of civilization (which is quite concentrated on material wealth), war and destruction and then- desolation. There are humans in each painting except the last.
You can click on and enlarge each image-
http://www.explorethomascole.org/tour/items/69/series/
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Re: book cover art

Postby admin » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:02 am

I'm also a fan of Amelia Rules and Girl Genius. As for superheros, the artists these days are mostly very good, but seem to avoid a distinctive style for some reason. The writers are the new stars, and I'll read anything written by Frank Miller, J. Michael Straczynski, Joss Whedon, Howard Cheykin, or Jim Starlin. But most of the people I talk to at Mountain Empire Comics are all about the characters, and don't even notice the writer or artist.
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Re: book cover art

Postby catthom » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:28 am

I was cruising around, looking at book cover art and found this- A-History-of-16-Science-Fiction-Classics-Told-in-Book-Covers

http://io9.com/5406979/a-history-of-16- ... ook-covers

In this you can see the range from more illustrative art to spare graphics. Book cover artists are a dying breed, and Kindle is just putting the nail in the coffin.

This link is a bit OT, but Chip Kidd is one of my favorite contemporary graphic designers who does book cover art. He also wrote a hilarious book called the Cheese Monkeys.
http://www.goodisdead.com/index.php?/work/
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