Today, book cover designer Craig Wolfe is here. I asked him a lot of questions about his work. He’s used to my questions since he’s one of the experts I interviewed for my latest book, Computer Gaming. He was just as patient then as he was with this go-round of questions.
Craig Wolfe is a professional Graphic Artist, Illustrator and Animator with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Having worked on a wide-variety of projects including a series of book covers, 3D jewelry design, logos, and promotional videos, Craig has experience in all facets of design and illustration. His short, animated film, "Steve's Bad Day" has garnered great response and is currently available for viewing on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen “Steve’s Bad Day,” be sure you link over. But first, stick around for the interview.
What genres do you specialize in? Covers for science fiction/fantasy or Mystery or something else? Or are you open to any genre?
When an author approaches you to do their cover, how do you decide what to do? Do you talk to the author and get their vision of the cover? Do you read the book/manuscript and come up with your own idea for the cover?
It’s a process. Some authors have a very specific vision for their work. They have imagined every detail and nuance of the cover. I am willing to run with their idea to a certain point. When I feel the cover is becoming cluttered or confusing then it’s time to get with the author and regroup. I’ve had a few authors give me free rein to design the cover as I see fit with just a few suggestions. This allows me to really get the creative juices flowing but it can be a double-edged sword. I will only read a manuscript if the author has provided ample time to complete the project.
How much back and forth is there between you and the author or publisher?
I try to keep the author up to speed as much as possible. I completely understand that their book is a labor of love and the cover is the final, crucial piece of the puzzle. I get approval for rough drafts and at different stages in the process.
About how long does it take to create and finalize a book cover?
It varies. A simple cover that consists of a photo and text may take as little as 3-4 days. A complex illustration may take over two or three weeks. The bottom line is making the most attractive cover possible. If I feel that a deadline is too tight to complete the author’s expectations then I will most likely pass on the project. That’s why it’s in the author’s best interest to plan ahead to avoid an overly restrictive deadline. Don’t just think about the cover, time must also be allotted for promotional material.
Do you do primarily print book covers or e-book covers? How are they different?
I have dealt with both, and they have specific standards and guidelines that must be strictly followed. Print houses will supply the author a specific template (based on the size of the book) and strict rules that must be followed (such as CMYK color, bleed areas, and file restrictions).
How long have you been creating book covers and which one was the most fun/satisfying for you?
I have been a professional illustrator for 23 years but have only been involved with book covers for 5 years. The cover for “CassaStar” by Alex J. Cavanaugh was certainly the most fun. Alex gave me free rein to design the cover. I picked his brain concerning ship design and certain details and then it was off to the races. The publisher was so pleased that they asked me to create his book trailer (currently on YouTube).
Thank you Craig.
Now I know some of you have questions for Craig about his work or about designing a book’s cover art or a book trailer, so ask them here.
4 months ago