Friday, March 13, 2009

Covers again and again and ..........


I have been wanting to blog about the cover for a while and have not been quite sure what to say. There has been much coming and going via email about the cover. Some good and some bad. I think the lowest point for me was when the painting I had done was chopped up and reassembled in photoshop, and the type put with it. I work with words all the time but can't find the right ones to say how that made me feel. The most polite I think would be despondent, but that is nowhere near the mark.
Anyway, the cover seems to have been settled now.
It is so difficult to get the right cover as so much depends on it.
James and I both wanted the book to be called Starlight, Starbright.
James and I both wanted the cover to be the original with the whale, with the other whale on the back cover.
This below is the new cover.


19 comments:

Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

I like it. But then I am not a storybook artist who deals with editors. I am trying to imagine having one of my quilts edited....I think I may take scissors to it....

I DO know what it's like to put so much of oneself into a project just to have 'the dog eat it' so to speak, horrible feeling!

Anonymous said...

What a demoralising process this can be Jackie. People often think we are lucky wafting around our gardens and dabbling at illustrations in our studios when the mood takes us; critics will comment on work assuming all componants - good and bad - are our decision. And yet the reality is very different and publishers have enormous power over the elements of a book, from title, to cover to content.

I think the cover that will be used is "nice". I think the cover they have let slip through their fingers is breathtaking.

It will be interesting to learn how other bloggers react...

Thanks, Jackie, for keeping a sense of humour. I wonder if publishers would be as good natured if we pulled the rug from under THEM in the same manner?

dragonladych said...

I feel your pain Jackie! I know exactly how that feels.

Well I like the back cover alright, although I loved the whales too.

I wonder why they felt the need to photoshop that front cover? It doesn't look right somehow. And yes I found the whale front cover much more powerful!

Carrie said...

How could they chop up your painting on photoshop!! I'm shocked!!
I do actually really love the whale cover too, with all the movement and translucency of the sea... Sounds like such a harrowing process but at least its near completion now...
I admire your fortitude!

Julia Guthrie said...

I think having my work chopped up & messed about with would have made me feel quite sick actually! An artist's work is kind of like their child isn't it?

I like both covers...however I like the big gold star on the 1st one & the composition flows more.
The 2nd one feels a bit...flat in comparison?
I think they are both lovely illustrations though & I hope after all this stress about the cover it will be a big hit with the kids:)

Jackie Morris said...

It is not that I hate the new cover. It is ok. But that is all. Ok. It is 'pedestrian'.
Also seeing it here, reduced, it has NO impact at all.
So many books are sold online these days and I think that I just wouldn't really notice this one. I am biased. I prefer the old cover, heart and soul, but that is because it was painted heart and soul.
The other one looks exactly what it is, designed by committee.
Maybe they will sell many more with this cover on. Who can tell.

Ev said...

I much prefer the one with the whale that you originally painted, the other looks flat in comparison.

I also feel that regardless of anything the publishers really have no right to photoshop an artists work regardless of the intention. I think it shows in the finished work, it is soulless. I also liked Starlight, Starbright as a title. This invokes all sorts of memories and images for me. Startlight Sailor again doesn't have the same impact. The flat title goes with the flat imagery.

Morning's Minion said...

It doesn't seem fair to give this cover as the work of the artist [you!] The spark of creativity and vision is what makes an "original" piece--in whatever medium. New technologies can hardly take the place of a hands on creation.

NAL said...

What a wrenching process!

My sympathies - have experienced similar.

May the new cover break sales records despite that we feel there were better choices!

quiltcat said...

That must have been a horrendous feeling...and i've got to say, it may be a trick of my computer monitor and the very small size of the thumbnail, but i can barely read the title. It doesn't have much contrast with the background, and neither the lettering nor the background glow the way the original did. *sigh*

Abbeysmum said...

Well ! what can I say,
Quilt makers will often cut up blocks and reassemble them to make a more wonderful finished work....BUT we don't allow other people to cut up and rearrange our work, where is the personal input and choice in such a process ?

As for the title...I was happy to make a few suggestions, BUT "Starlight Starbright" always felt like a magic incantation to invoke anything you could wish for,be it adventures or travel companions.

I feel the whole thing would make my heart resemble a Walnut, for a while !

jodi said...

I like the original because it goes completely with the title. I like the new one as the island adds a little more heaviness to the picture. It makes it solid. However the dragon on the front and on the back cover may be a little redundant?
I wish that they had kept the whale under the boat.

And though I like the island - the way it is positioned and the way he is looking don't go together. What exactly is he looking at?

Just my opinion. I think if it was my drawing with my heart and soul in it I would be a bit disappointed. Does this chopping up of pictures by others happen a lot?

Anonymous said...

Ev - thankyou for summing it up so neatly. Flat title - flat cover. Exactly so.

I really think the chosen cover looks like any other nursery book out there. The Whale cover looks rather more than that - it has drama and beauty and danger and excitement...and a dreamlike surge of colour and composition.

Of if only I was rich and had my own publishing company! Then I'd get to do things the way they should be done...

...perchance to dream.

J

my croft said...

Photoshop is an abomination.

I work at an educational publisher as a copy editor and I am constantly looking at pictures that are PSed and saying things like: Yes this is an endearing vignette that you have concocted to illustrate the SCIENCE book, BUT: Are we sure that the two birds on the branch make a nest like that? Is the baby bird in the nest the same species as the two birds on the branch? Is this a male bird and a female bird -- or since they are similarly brightly colored -- two male birds? Is the grub-like thing in the one bird's beak actually a grub? Does this adult species eat grubs? Their stubby beaks suggest seed-eaters. Does the nestling (which seems to be a completely different species--oh, I'm sorry, did I say that already?) eat grubs, and eat them as a nestling? Would a male bird of this species feed a nestling? Would there be only bird in a brood? Are the adults birds and the baby bird native to the same continent, let alone the same habitat?

Saddest of all -- I frequently lose these battles.
"But we already paid for the picture."
"But the boss has already approved the picture."
"But it's too late to change it."
BUT IT'S A FREAKIN' SCIENCE BOOK!!!!!!!"

Photoshop is an abomination.
Oh, I'm sorry, did I say that already?

deborah said...

this is an important post and am glad you did write about your experience.
the first "anonymous" touched on the subject that alot of people have the idea being an artist is a dream job. it is work, just as anything else, harder by the criticism and decisions made by others that cut to your soul. it is our souls and visions we are putting out there.
your post lets others know this is no fairy tale job and how subject your finish work is to being re-vised....

Jessie Lilac said...

The top one is much more appealing to us artists because the composition is so right. The one they chose is gorgeous too but it doesn't have the dynamics of the original. After saying that, there is more detail in it so maybe they're thinking that's what will appeal more to potential buyers?x

Linda Navroth said...

I imagine there were other more accurate expletives involved as well...sorry to hear they have messed with your plans and dreams. Such is the commercial life, but it doesn't assuage the soul much. I do hope the book is a huge success despite their meddling with the original perfection!

Veronica said...

How frustrating for you, the whale image has so much more to say...

I guess I'm surprised (and disappointed too). Both you and James Mayhew are established, proven authors & illustrators, hey, just maybe you know what you are doing?!! Your opinion ought to count for something. How sad.

ruthie said...

i do feel for you so, i guess the only thing to remember is that "we can please some of the people some of the time...". Your work is so very beautiful & inspiring Jackie, to so many, your original was , as another blogger said... breathtaking. *ruthie*