In the new book The No-Watermark Book, author Leena Krohn offers readers plenty of reasons to appreciate and buy her book. The book cover boasts a scene from the book at a desert. In one scene, a sheepherder is loading supplies onto a trailer. As he unloads the supplies, the trailer gets tipped over, and the book cover happens to be missing its most important detail–her face! Apparently, she had been lost in the desert.
I have read enough of Leena’s books to know that her face is one of her trademarks, so when she had the book cover printed, I was thrilled. But more than that, I wondered how she would draw readers to the book. After all, she has drawn thousands of covers before, including a famous one for Nickelodeon. Would this one stand out as a first “cut” of the material or would it be like any other fan-created book cover you’ve seen?
The No-Watermark book cover is an example of drawing. What do I mean by drawing? Do you have an artist’s conception of what the finished product should look like? When you think of artists, you probably think of artists who have taken someone else’s work and made it their own. You don’t think of them as “drawing,” right?
Well, you kind of do and a little bit. Think about Picasso, who did not start out drawing “crochet” or anything along those lines. He was a carpenter. And while he started out doing exactly what a carpenter would do, what made him different was that Picasso saw things in ways most people couldn’t. He saw colors and shapes and forms and created pieces of art that no one else could have done.
The same thing happened to Miguel Hidalgo, when he drew the first few pages of his book cover. But unlike most artists, he started out with an idea…and then took that idea and ran with it. Instead of working in a pencil on paper, he carried that idea and ran with it. He used the colors and the shapes and the “form” that he saw in his sketches and created pages that no one else could have dreamt of.
So you can see why Miguel Hidalgo drew the cover of his book cover using his imagination. If you are going to do the same thing, don’t use your imagination for the drawing portion. That will limit you. Remember, if you want the book cover you want to be able to draw, you better be good at drawing!
One of the most common reasons people don’t do their best work is because they’re not really good at drawing. When you take a good look at the cover of a book you should be able to see the basic elements that went into it. The book cover should tell you who the author is, what the theme is, what kind of story the book tells, and so on. If you can capture that, then you’ve got the potential to do some great work.
And finally, this is a hint that you need to follow the lead that the book cover sets. You can follow their lead, but if you do it on your own art, you’re not going to get the same kind of result. For example, if a designer is creating a book cover for a book about Chinese food, he’s going to draw the food using his Chinese five-finger technique. That’s what the designer does, but if you’re doing it on your own, you’re going to do a poor job.