Today we are super excited to welcome book cover artist (and author!) Lisa Amowitz to the site for an interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your training as an artist.
Lisa Amowitz is an artist and graphic designer by trade, but writing
has always been a deep and abiding passion. As a mom of an actual
teen, she's not just writing YA; she's living it. Lisa is represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider.
She can be found online at: http://lisa-amowitzya.blogspot.com/
Breaking Glass will be released in July of 2013.
Hi Brooke, and thanks for inviting me to Contessa at the Crossroads. I've been drawing since I was three. I guess I was always interested in storytelling and illustrated books so studied illustration in college, became a graphic designer and wound up as a professor of graphic design at Bronx Community College where my students really believe that I dream about typography. So words and art have always been my passion.
How did you get into the business of creating covers? When I signed with Spencer Hill Press, they gave me the unique opportunity to design my own cover. The experience led me to realize that book cover design was an unbelievable merger of all the things I love--illustration, design and books! Since then SHP has kept me pretty busy, but I have also taken on a few indie clients as well
Did you always want to be a cover artist See above. I think though, that I have. I just wasn't sure how to break in and then fate handed me my opportunity.
Why do you think authors want to use your designs? I wouldn't say I'm a name brand yet, with authors clamoring for me, but the authors I have worked with at SHP and elsewhere seem pretty happy with the effort I put in the their covers.
Where do you design inspiration for covers come from? I tend to talk to the author a lot to see how they envision their book. Writers are amazingly imaginative people with a vision in their head already of what they want. I then skim the book, gathering important aspects of the book, as I try to grasp the mood and essence of the book.
Do you have a favorite cover? Can you show it to us? Of mine? That would be EXTRACTED. In general, I guess one of my favorite covers is the cover for my friend Kate Milford's THE BONESHAKER. I love the illustrations of Andrea Offermann and the way the art captures the book's creepy quirky nature.
When designing a cover, who is your intended audience? I tend to think of what I like, actually, as a rabid over-aged reader of YA. For my own book I did ask my teen-aged daughter and her friends which of my many ideas they liked and I am using the one they picked. I think teens have very sophisticated taste, so I am usually thinking about the genre, rather then the age group.>
Do you have a favorite cover designer, one that has inspired you, perhaps? That would be the amazing Sammy Yuen who has designed 30 NYT bestsellers, including all of Ellen Hopkins books, Lisa McCann's the Wake Trilogy, among others. I am lucky to call Sammy a friend and often consult him for opinions.
Do you have or do other activities that involve your art? I do other kinds of design, such as logos, invitations, etc. I have exhibited my art around New York City and was commissioned to do a stained glass installation for the NYC subway system which is currently in place. I like to draw from nature, and during warm weather can often be found in a local garden called Wave Hill drawing flowers. And of course, I teach design, so my days are filled with art! I enjoy sharing the process of my designs with my students who are very happy to offer their opinions.
What is the hardest part about creating a cover? Starting! When creating a cover, do you read the author's work first to get a feel or do they just give your information and you go with it? I am usually given the manuscript, but I don't just read through. As I mentioned earlier, SHP lets me work directly with the authors (probably because I am one and know how to talk to them), so I tend to go back and forth just trying to grasp the major themes of the book. Then I skim for voice and key events. Once I think I've stumbled upon the perfect idea I pass it by the author.
What are you working on now? I am working with Rhys A Jones (and his alter ego DC Farmer ) on his Obsidian Pebble series and his Spence City release called The 400 lb Gorilla. I am also working with two independent authors on a self-published book, and another author on some art for her website. Mostly, though, I am working on promotional pieces for my own book, Breaking Glass, which is due out in July from Spencer Hill
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Lisa, and sharing with us what's it's like to be a cover artist. I, for one, love your work and want to share two of my favorite covers from you: The Awoken by Timothy Miller and Copper Girls by Jennifer Allis Provost. Not only do these covers just look amazing, but they make me WANT to read the books (which, lucky for me, I will get the chance to do!). It's been a pleasure having you here. Good luck with your covers and best of luck with the release of your book!