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Where do you find cover artists?

14 March 2014

Last year, PG put up the following post:

Passive Guy received a simple question from Amey:

Where does an indie author find cover illustrators online?

She knows about DeviantArt, but finds it too complicated and believes there aren’t a lot of real artists there.

So, what’s the answer to Amey’s question?

He recently received a request from a cover designer to be included in the comments to the original post which is currently living in TPV’s attic where nobody goes.

So PG decided to post the question again to generate updated information.


79 Comments to “Where do you find cover artists?”

  1. 99designs.com by far the best/easiest/cheapest way to find great cover art 🙂 I found both of my long term artists there and in a pinch still go back to them if I need something and my artists are busy 🙂

    • Totally agree. They have an excellent business model and are very responsive to questions. I got a great cover from an artist I’d never have found any other way.

  2. I’ve found cover artists through other authors, usually with pics of their covers in their signature files on Kindleboards.com. KB also maintains a list of artists. Also artists should be credited somewhere in the book for the cover art. If you see a style you like, google that artist’s name and contact them.

  3. Just to speak up for deviantart, I found Jonathan Powell, the illustrator for my book, SOULS OF ASTRAEUS there. You just have to take the time to browse and browse and browse. Head to my book’s website if you’re curious about his work: http://www.soulsofastraeus.com

    • I found my cover artist, Ander Plana, through DA. He’s in Spain, but is a real pleasure to work with – he’s fast, he’s good, he’s really open to input, and his prices are really reasonable. I’ve used him for five covers now, and have nothing but praise. Two other writers I know of have gone to him for business specifically after seeing the work he’s done for me.

      I think there’s also a big difference between someone who is great at taking separate elements and building a cover, someone who is a good artist and can produce artwork suitable for a cover, and someone who can do both and make it work together to produce a great cover. Sometimes you’ll need these to be two different people, sometimes you get lucky and it’s one great person. It’s going to be different for everyone.

  4. Derek Murphy at Creative Indie Covers.


  5. I’m lucky enough to have a talented artist friend who’s done my covers for the Jake Hawking Adventures. Peter has his own comic book company, and I think the comic style works well for the swashbuckling genre.

    You can see the covers he’s done for me here:


    And he can be contacted here:


  6. She knows about DeviantArt, but . . . believes there aren’t a lot of real artists there.

    Sacre bleu! That’s like saying I know about smashwords, but believe there are not a lot of real writers there.

    • DeviantArt has some amazing artists on there. Alas, the ones I’ve contacted about covers never got back to me. A lot of the folks I like aren’t US-based, so I wonder if they aren’t able to understand my message. Either way, bummer for me.

  7. What’s a “real” artist?

    Quick distinction for my response: design is applied to art to make it a cover.

    I use the Creative Commons filter on Flickr and Google to find work licensed to be used/modified for commercial use with attribution. I’ll also skim Fotolia, whose rates I find reasonable.

    And then I do a lot of Photoshop.

    If you want to outsource the cover/design in general, I’d check either Howey’s or Konrath’s sites–they both link to cover design services.

    I’ve also been impressed by the work of the abovementioned Derek Murphy. Smart dude and talented designer.

  8. The yahoo group, Indie Romance Ink, maintains a rather large database of cover artists.


  9. Ive found cover artists on Goodreads(in Author services groups), Author Marketing Club, and Kboards. Each artist has a different style, and although I do most of my own covers since I’m also a graphic designer, I sometimes want a style that’s different than my own, to better fit a story. Perhaps you could browse blog tour sites, view their past cover reveals and find ones you like–most of them link to the designer.

    Speaking as a designer–Most of my clients find me as referrals from previous clients, Facebook, Kboards and Author Marketing Club.

  10. Back in my days as an ad writer, there was a publication called the Black Book that listed all sorts of illustrators, photographers and graphic designers for agencies to call on. Now, it’s called blackbook.com and serves the same purpose. I just checked and here’s a link to illustrators who work in several areas of specialization: http://www.blackbook.com/search_result.php?size=10&page=2

    Chances are the fees might be a bit high, but you’ll also find first-class talent.

  11. Visit Cghub.com

    Look at your favourite pics and check the artists available for Work.

    I made it for my novel http://www.araknea.com

  12. J.T. Lindroos, at http://jtlindroos.carbonmade.com/, is a brilliant cover artist, particularly for writers of mysteries and thrillers. Formerly, he ran Point Blank Press, which published my novel Pay Here several years ago. He did covers of some of the Dan Marlowe novels and also the cover of my biography Gunshots in Another Room: The Forgotten Life of Dan J. Marlowe. Plus, he is the nicest guy in the world.

  13. Look for covers that appeal, and then contact the artists for those covers.

    Try Jason Gurney [does Hugh Howey’s covers] or Damon Za – both of whom have designed covers for me.

  14. For humorous, whimsical covers, use Kee Rash at http://keerash.com/. His website is bare bones, but click on the illustration for his contact information. You can see a sample of his art on the cover of my book Finnegan’s Way: The Secret Power of Doing Things Badly, on Amazon. Full disclosure: he is a friend of mine. That having been said, I pay him full price for a cover.

  15. I used Deviant Art as well and found Gary Val Tenuta. His site his here: http://bookcoversandvideos.webs.com/

    His turn-around time was very fast, and his prices are reasonable. If you like his style, I can recommend him.

  16. Networking, of course! Get to know other indie authors. Ask them who did their covers. Approach those designers/artists.

    I actually make a lot of covers for other indies. I do my own, some people liked them and asked me to make their covers, too, and it spread from there.

    I’m always available to make covers, by the way. Just hit me up via my web site (linked through my name.)

  17. I don’t know about cover artists specifically (I haven’t published yet), but there are plenty of awesome artists on DA. I’ve got people on my watchlist who work in comics, in concept art, in game design, in animation, in all sorts of professional capacities. It takes some hunting. My suggestion? Go take a walk through the print galleries. Look at the featured artists. They’re featured for a reason. Then use the ‘other art like this’ and ‘similar artist’ things that pop up to find others. Ten years I’ve been on that site and 500+ people that I follow, most of them REALLY REALLY good artists.

  18. I do covers for Self-Pub Book Covers. They are a “pre-made” covers business, with a slightly different concept: the customer sets the type with online tools. Because of that I can’t do everything I’d like, but it does simplify the process.


    I will likely start doing some premades of my own (maybe with an emphasis on templates/branding) later on.

    • Camille, I just recently found that site, and I wondering if they’re worth it. (I had a question and one of the owners got back to me pretty quickly, which was a good start.) I have an account there, but haven’t pulled the plug on buying one yet.

      The only drawback is that there’s not a lot of fonts to choose from, but to counter that, I could buy a premade without the fonts…which is tempting. 🙂

      Anyone, now you’ve given me a good reason to go back there and buy. 🙂

      • Yeah, not only are the fonts limited but the colors for the type are limited, too.

        Once I figured that out, I started designing specifically for their color and font choices. It is easier when you do “graphic” style art like I do.

        The other problem with the site is that when they started, they had the pictures shown oldest first. I mentioned that customers will want to be able to see something different each time they look at the images. Instead of changing it to newest first, they changed it to a more random order — but still a fixed-in-place order, which means customers still have to browse through everything to see the new work.

        I notice they have been upgrading their capabilities, though, so I hope that a different sort order will be available soon.

        • Camille, the different sorting options is a *great* idea! As the co-founder of the company, I just emailed Rob at SelfPubBookCovers.com and told him. I know this will be really helpful for both authors and artists.

          We have been upgrading the site throughout the year, and we’re very open to suggestions on how to continue to make our site even better. I love it! Thank you!

  19. Raaven is good. She does covers for Rabia Gale (and many others).

    Mostly, I just bookmark covers I like and their designers when I come across them and later when I’m looking for an artist, I browse through my backlog of bookmarks.

  20. I’m just finalizing a fantasy cover with Jake Bullock (UK), whom I found on eLance after posting a listing and getting a couple of auditions from targeted responders. I’m very happy with him.

    I found there were plenty of fine artists on DeviantArt, but almost no one responded to a query — it’s truly bizarre. I’ve heard that from many others, too, so going thru portfolios there seems like a massive waste of time.

    I think in terms of series requirements, not individual books. For example, I wanted a full cover, where I could use the back cover as an invariant background (with vignettes) for short works that only needed a front cover, and a long-work front cover that could change in a progressive manner as the series moved along. That gave me a unifying structure for several novels & short works in a single series while keeping the pricing-per-work manageable. This is, however, a challenge to explain to some artists (not my current one, who “got it” right away.)

    I was more comfortable owning the responsibility for book-specific stuff, like legible thumbnails, genre-specificity, etc., and letting the cover artist concentrate on the creative part. Very pleased with the results.

    You can read about the process so far here: http://hollowlands.com/?s=jake+bullock&submit=Search

    • Less expensive: I also had good luck with elance.com when I needed art for _Promises and Powers_. I knew exactly what I wanted and found an artist at the price I wanted. A lot of the art for my short stories comes from Dreamstime.com.

      More expensive: My main books are done by the guys at IndieBookLauncher.com. With one exception I’ve been really pleased with their work, and that exception is as much my fault as theirs (great art but genre confusion when seen as a thumbnail).

  21. I don’t remember if I commented the last time this came up, but I do cover art professionally. I’ve been designing graphics and advertising for 30+ years.


    At first I designed covers for myself but so many people asked if I would do theirs that I finally put out a shingle.

  22. All of my book and story covers- as well as those of other writers- have been done by Melinda Phillips of http://www.snapichic.com
    Full disclosure- I’m married to her- but check out her work. People see my covers and ask if they can get that quality for theirs. http://www.daletphillips.com
    You can get the ebook, full print cover, and ACX square versions all included.

  23. One suggestion I haven’t seen yet is to check out your local SF/gaming convention. Most of them of any size have an artist’s alley, where you can actually meet and talk in person to artists—sometimes local ones, sometimes nationally-known ones—see samples of their work, and commission art from ones you like. Not all of them are necessarily going to be book cover quality, but quite a few will be.

  24. If you have a Mac (easier) and the Office suite (PowerPoint), William King posted instructions with pictures that were incredibly easy to follow.


    With a little fiddling – and a friend’s amazing photo – I was able to make a cover that was infinitely better than what I started with. (see it here http://liebjabberings.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/prides-children-new-sunset-cover/ if curious). In about an hour. With no skills.

    I know it needs more work – and I know exactly what I want to add – but it is legible at thumbnail size, which makes it better than 75% of the covers I’ve seen.

  25. No suggestions. I’ve done my covers, using art I’ve found (for the annotated version of “The Secret Adversary,” I found a site that showed Soviet movie posters from the 1920s. Beautiful art that suited the story nicely.

    However, I keep a bookmarked folder of sites for future projects, so thanks all for contributing. I’m always looking.

    You might also consider approaching pro artists you like. One I did asked for $500, which I thought was reasonable considering I’ve admired his work for years. I just didn’t have the budget for it.

  26. If you publish at Smashwords, you can ask them for lists of people who do editing and formatting, and if I remember correctly, also covers.

  27. Got to Kindle Boards and do a thread search. This question comes up on a weekly basis pretty much. Dozens of amazing artists are regulars there.

  28. Regina Wamba at http://www.maeidesign.com does some of the best New Adult covers in the industry and she is reasonably priced. She also does most of the model shoots herself so gets what she wants instead of trying to make a stock photo work.

  29. I found my cover artists (I use two, different styles for different books) at deviantArt. I followed a group where people post commission art they’ve done, so I already knew these were artists who took commission work and were able to follow through on it. I singled out some artists whose styles I thought would work well with my books, checked out their commissions info (commercial-use rates will usually be higher than the personal-use prices that are posted), then sent PMs to the lucky winners, describing the project and asking what their fees would be. The ones I heard back from, I looked over their offers and terms, checked references with other people they’d done commissions for, and then made my decision.

    As for the cover lettering, I do it myself. I’ve been doing website graphics for a fan website I run for years, so I figured I could handle that part. Nothing fancy, but readable with a distinct “branded” look.

  30. A few of the awesome book cover artists that commented here mentioned SelfPubBookCovers.com. As Creative Director I thought I would provide a bit more info about us:

    As of March, 2014, we feature over 4000, original, professionally designed covers in different styles by over 300 of our talented artists.
    Each cover is one-of-a-kind.
    Once a cover is sold it is NEVER sold again.
    You can customize any cover directly on our site and see exactly what it will look like before you buy it. Don’t like it? -change your typography as often as you wish at no additional charge. It’s your cover!
    You will immediately receive an eBook and print cover downloaded to your desktop.
    You can also download a cover without text and customize it anyway you wish off our site.
    We support our Authors by promoting you to our over 14,000 twitter followers and on our website.
    Many covers are $69
    We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary and there is no other site like this on the web for you to find a pre-made cover!

    TIP: You spent a lot of time and effort on your book. Give your book it’s best shot with a professional looking cover. There are many great designers and places to get a cover listed in this discussion. Unless you are a designer it’s best to use one of the many resources mentioned here.

    Best of luck with your new books!


    • Rob,

      I’ll be heading over either today or tomorrow. I can say that the book covers there are really great. Just wish you guys had more fonts available online, but what’s good is that I can always download the cover without the fonts and do it myself. 🙂

  31. I like to look at Joel Friedlander’s monthly ebook cover design awards. You get a very good idea of what works, and the same names of cover designers pop up month after month. Joel links to the designers’ websites. Seems like a great place for a beginner to go looking.

    The winning designs are archived here. http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/08/monthly-e-book-cover-design-awards/

  32. I have a relative who is a very good artist, that did the covers for our Kati books. I mentioned this artist call-out to her and sent her the link – I don’t know if she has time for anything else right now, though. I guess she will make that determination later.

  33. I do some of my own and I have a friend who is a graphic designer who does some. He said people would contact some of his classes to get posters, logos and marketing stuff. Might be a place to start.

  34. Konrath’s blog about Melinda DuChamp mentions his cover artist was Carl Graves for those books.

    I’ve already decided that is the cover artist I hope I can afford when I publish.

    All of his covers are stunning.

  35. It’s great to see so many good suggestions. Hope it’s okay to mention my site – http://helpwithpublishing.com/ – because we have a ‘find an expert’ section where cover designers advertise their services. We’re careful to only accept people with experience and you contact them directly – we don’t act as middleman.

  36. I use three people. One woman for your standard inexpensive cover design – She may be inexpensive but she’s creative and we work well together. She charges between $20 and $40 depending upon the cost of the image.
    For a special unique cover– something that’s all mine, not your standard purchase photo shopped image, but something created from scratch, I use a young man. His covers are unique to the story and he works cooperatively with the author. He has a lot of experience. He charges between $200 and maybe $600 for a really complex cover.
    And I just found a new designer via J.W. Manus. She’s just starting out. She works with pre-purchased images but does an excellent job.
    If anybody wants the names, email addresses, etc. drop me a line. I think you can find me if you click on my icon.

  37. ExpertSubjects currently provides custom book cover design starting from $139. Here is the portfolio: http://www.expertsubjects.com/covers/book_cover_gallery.php

    You can order your next book cover here:

  38. I suggest the following challenge. Go on over to selfpubbookcovers. Pick a category and click on the link. Roll a 10 sided die. (If you don’t have one, what’s wrong with you? Go on over to http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm and roll one there.)

    The die roll gives you the page to navigate to. Now roll a 4 sided die. That gives you the column. Roll another 10 sided die and count down that many rows.

    Buy that cover and write a story to fit it.

    • Michael Matewauk

      Great idea! Anyone know where I can get a ten-sided die in Seattle?

      • Start here:


        You are in a maze of twisty Internet pages…

        • Michael Matewauk

          Thanks for the tip…

          Found a store called Card Kingdom (total gamer-geek nirvana) and they had a fishbowl full of multi-sided dice right on the counter, so picked up a 4-sided & 10-sided & since I’m so impressionable I went to selfpubbookcovers.com & tried your experiment. They have no humor category, so I picked erotica & rolled the dice & landed on a cool cover of a woman & an android/robot. This is gonna be fun.

      • Or you could just punch those numbers into random.org or some other random number generator.

        (I love “roll the dice” and other random choice options.)

  39. http://mjcimageworks.com

    Michael James Canales does all my covers as well as my website. Feel free to check that out if you want.


    He does a lot of covers for Premiere Digital Publishing and other companies. He’s also a screenwriter – former Disney fellow – so he gets what we as writers put into our works. He’s meticulous, hardworking and reasonably priced.

    I love his work!

  40. must disagree about Deviant Art. A lot of talented artists there. I found the two I use regularly on DA:

    Louisa Gallie: http://louisagallie.deviantart.com/


    Isis Sousa: http://www.isissousadesigner.com/

    A lot of authors I know have used Claudia McKinney (Phatpuppy) for book cover work:


    I haven’t personally commissioned Claudia, but both Louisa and Isis have done multiple projects for me, including book covers, interior chapter illustrations and an author portrait. Outstanding artwork.

  41. Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com has been instrumental in getting attention to my books. He works with traditional publishers and indie authors alike. His art is awesome (check out his portfolio) but his prices are more than reasonable.

    Unlike some graphic designers, he’s also very accommodating and easy to work with. His policy is that he’s not satisfied until you are. Highly recommended. Love him to bits.


  42. The Book Cover Designed is an aggregate site of different designers. It’s mostly pre-mades, but a number of the designers also do custom work.


    I found Laura Gordon off the site above; I was looking for 3 pre-mades for a fantasy series (she mostly does fantasy, science fiction, steampunk) for months, and bought 3 of hers. Very nice to work with, and I went back and forth with her by email a few times to get the fonts and taglines just right. 🙂

    http://thebookcovermachine.com/shop – for premades

    She also does custom covers.

  43. I’ve been doing cover art and promotional graphics for a few years now. My portfolio is at http://scorchedflower.co.uk/

  44. I dabble in Photoshop and am not bad. But I still wouldn’t design my own cover for sale online.
    I’m doing a free web series later and will design for that, as it’s a free series.
    But you can tell when amateurs do the covers. I’ve even seen some small publisher’s covers that I gag at how garish and badly they are done.
    My cover designer, Frauke at CrocoDesigns is fabulous. She does work for the Carina Press, too.
    She just had an article in RT magazine online published yesterday. I squee’d because my covers for my upcoming releases were included.
    Anyway, she doesn’t have a portfolio on her website which is http://www.crocodesigns.com/
    But the RT article includes a great deal of her work, and she points out what, in her opinion, makes good cover art. She brings up sizing, viewing it in black and white, etc. It’s worth a read even if you’re not interested in her cover art.

  45. Hi there – lots of premades at my site – I love creating cover art:


  46. It seems to me that every author has different tastes, or even differing opinions on what is good. I’d suggest finding some indie covers in a similar style/vein/genre to yours. Pick your favorites and contact the authors to ask who they used. Generally, most indies are helpful and you may end up with a couple choices that would work for your book.

  47. Jacqueline Sweet

    I make all my own covers. And take commissions.


  48. I found my cover artist by checking out the interiors of the top selling writers in my genre. Most, not all, writers list the name of the artist in the opening pages of the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon.

    The cover artist I ended up using?


  49. Heather Kern at PopShop Studio is great. She’s a former senior designer at one of the big 5, if that matters. She’s designed my covers for three years.


  50. CGhub.com

    Create a job post. Make an offer. I had over 100 artists apply.

  51. I contacted about 5-6 cover designers that I had found online, got quotes from each of them, and finally went with Streetlight Graphics. They do standard photoshop designs as well as made to measure graphics illustrations.

    I always take one of their packages, which includes the ebook and print cover, as well as print and ebook interior formatting.


  52. I went to Fiverr for my last cover. It took a few engagements to get the cover I loved. If you are interested, here it is. http://www.amazon.com/The-Dragon-At-Edge-Map/dp/1927669014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394848754&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dragon+at+the+edge+of+the+map

    I got all the original work for the createspace cover and I made the ebook from that. The whole thing cost $65.

  53. I put this post together a few months ago. It covers what I think are the top 10 cover designers:


  54. I designed my own book cover. I never went to school for it, but I’ve been doing amateur graphic design for nearly twenty years now. I know my stuff won’t be as good as something done by a professional, but I think I manage as well as most of the more affordable options.

  55. My cover designer is Angela Oltmann at AngieOCreations.com

    I’ve been working with Angie for a couple of years and she’s a dream to work with. Disclosure – Angie is my daughter and an artist and photographer. A couple of years ago I asked her if she could design a cover for me because my photoshop efforts were pretty weak. She took on the job and discovered that she really enjoyed the creative process of cover design, and soon she began accepting other clients.

    Angie can be found at http://angieocreations.com where she has some of her covers posted along with other information and her contact form.

    Vanessa Grant

  56. What a great resource this little post is!

    Thanks to to the lovely PG and his equally lovely commenters!

  57. I know a lot of the artists who post pre-made covers on this page: https://www.facebook.com/CoverArtCollective They offer covers here that are already done (you get a name & title added in the price), but you can also browse and see if there is someone whose style you like and contact them for custom work too.

  58. Just got back from adding another eight sites to my list.

    You people found some really freakin’ awesome artists.

    After seeing a lot of covers, from Lousy Book Covers to Joel Friedlander’s monthly awards, you can get a feel for what’s out there. There are artists who take stock images and whip up something that works, and then there are those who go beyond, up to working with their own models.

    What I’m trying to say is, clicking through the sites, I kept getting this “oh, wow, he’s fabulous,” and “I want to write a story to fit that cover” and “I can’t tell. Did he crop Paul Simonon smashing his bass from ‘London Calling’ for that cover? D—, that’s brilliant typography.”

    Y’all came up trumps with this list.

  59. I adore my cover artist. Super professional, and she can take a vague idea and run with it. Amazing.


  60. I design websites and book covers for authors. I have quite a few of my covers up on my website, although I’m in the process of redesigning and will have more of the recent ones up soon.


    Also, I designed all of the books covers here: http://www.patriciakay.com/e-books/

    Budget design: $75

    You supply artwork and/or search for design images using our stock photography site, maximum 3 images + title and author name

    Custom design: hourly rate of $50 an hr.

    Usually takes between 2-3hrs. total ($100 – $150) + cost of artwork

    ($25 to $50) using our stock photography site, maximum 5 images + title and author name

  61. Sam Hunt, who I met on Google+, does great covers at a very reasonable price: http://www.theusualmadman.net/cover-art.html

    The only reason I don’t use him myself is that I already had a great cover artist when I met him.

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