Art Deco Period – One of the Most Beautiful Styles in History

1 June 2019

From Widewalls:

We have recently explored the movement in decorative arts and architecture called Art Deco. We’ve touched upon the concepts and influences of one of the most beautiful styles in history. But now, we will go further and focus more on the social context of this visually stunning form, discuss its origins, time period and reflect upon its everlasting influence. Where was Art Deco period born? What circumstances led to the development of one of the most beautiful styles of artistic expression? Just how far did this obsession with beauty go? This unique art movement gripped the imagination of nations worldwide, bringing the sleek lines and decorative style to architecture, furniture, jewelry, arts, and many other forms. It has elevated the mass travel to an experience of comfort, glamor and luxury. It influenced our vision of the future and produced timeless landmarks still standing tall today. Art Deco was an eclectic style which drew upon many sources. It reflected the human need for pleasure and escape, providing a modern outlook on life. Art Deco was a celebration of life in its most luxurious form.

. . . .

It was a time of Industrial Revolution and progress, people were becoming wealthy, different generations with different prioritieswere coming to conquer the scene. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the face of the western world was changing dramatically. Known as the ‘lost generation’, those who came of age during World War I and the 1920’s wanted more from life. They were clamoring for glamour, filled with Joie de vivre, they craved the very best that life could offer. They were dubbed as the ‘lost generation’ because they rashly spent the flower of their youth, either dying before or during World War II. In between the two global conflicts, something beautiful blossomed, found its way through the prevailing mixed feelings of relief and joy, anxiety and trepidation. Art Deco was born. The style reached the apex of its popularity right in the 1920s and 1930s, with the ultimate celebration of the new designs displayed in an exhibition held in 1925 in Paris. Many international exhibitions promoted Art Deco and developed its influence, but none was more important than the one in Paris entitled the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Thousands of designs from all over Europe and beyond were brought together, gathering more than staggering 16 million visitors. This event was a pivotal one for Art Deco, marking the high point of its first phase. The show aimed to establish the pre-eminence of French taste and luxury goods. This celebration of life and taste marked Paris as one of the most fashionable cities. Paris transformed into an arts mecca. Major manufacturers, department stores, designers, avenues of boutiques and other enticing venues and happenings would draw countless visitors during the day. At night, Paris would earn its very deserving title of ‘the city of light’. Bridges, fountains, monumental gates and major landmarks would become illuminated and breathe life into the streets of the heart of France, making the entire city a blazing spectacle. Art Deco began to attain its character, the themes and formal repertoire were being established and the exhibition made an immediate impact throughout the global scene.

Link to the rest at Widewalls

Here is some of the art accompanying the OP:


Vogue Magazine cover (USA 1926)


Travel Poster


Architectural Detail, Lobby of The Chicago Board of Trade, built in 1930

Link to the rest at Widewalls

The Best Book Designs in Crime, Mystery, and Thrillers – May 2019

1 June 2019

From Crime Reads:



Sujata Massey, The Satapur Moonstone (Soho Press)
Cover Design by Janne Agro; Cover Illustration by Andrew Davidson

A vivid, beautiful balance of color and shadows perfectly evocative of the rich atmospherics Massey has perfected.

Link to the rest, including more great covers, at Crime Reads

The Art of Book Covers (1820–1914)

1 May 2019

For some time, PG has enjoyed viewing images from a website called The Public Domain Review.

The website describes itself as follows:

Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas.

In particular, as our name suggests, the focus is on works which have now fallen into the public domain, that vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to promote and celebrate the public domain in all its abundance and variety, and help our readers explore its rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.

With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, we hope to provide an ever-growing cabinet of curiosities for the digital age, a kind of hyperlinked Wunderkammer – an archive of content which truly celebrates the breadth and diversity of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it.

Link to the rest at About The Public Domain Review

From Public Domain Review, some lovely old book covers:


Link to more old book covers at Public Domain Review

Ideas for Book Covers

28 February 2019

Covers are a recurring topic for indie authors.

Perhaps the most important means of stopping a reader browsing on Amazon and persuading them to look more closely at a book is the cover.

PG has noted that in some genres, many of the covers look the same.

There can be a perfectly good reason for this. Nothing says Zombie! like a decaying hand.


or someone enjoying a light snack.


However, it can be easy to get into a visual rut.

In PG’s experience, many people don’t know that Adobe has a website to help people who use its software show their accomplishments to the world.

PG searched Bēhance for book covers and discovered far more original cover designs than he ever sees on Amazon.

Following is a small sample. Click on the image for a larger version.

You can all of the images are subject to the artist’s copyright.

PG has inserted a link to the artist’s page on Bēhance above each image.


. . . .







Link to the rest at Bēhance

US Book Covers vs. UK Book Covers for 2018

10 February 2019

From The Literary Hub:

Over any given year, those of us in the literary media see hundreds of books pass by. Some of their covers are great, some mediocre, some simply odd, but the ones we remember from the pack tend to be either the most unusual or the most repeated. So one of my favorite exercises after a year of covering and reading about books is to shake up my memory and see how the covers I’m familiar with looked in other countries. Since big books are often published concurrently (or at least closely together) in the US and the UK, I thought I would compare some of my favorites here, and even dare to choose which one I like better.

On that note, please bear in mind that I am an American writer and reader, and therefore US book covers are made for people like me—but also bear in mind that I may have gotten bored with the American covers, and the UK ones have that sparkly new quality that makes me like them better.

. . . .

Winner: These covers are so different in tone that it’s really hard to choose. I love the audacity of the UK cover, especially with the backward text, which is something I could easily see an over-cautious publicity department nixing. But as far as which one has the potential to make me cross the room to pick it up? I suppose that would have to be the US cover—though I’m a devoted Mendelsund fan, so take it with a grain of salt.

. . . .

Winner: Ditto above. The office was split—lots found the UK cover more interesting, complex and compelling, but I always go in for simplicity, and the purity of that juicy yellow on the US cover… Can’t beat it.

. . . .

Winner: This is an interesting one: I like all the elements of the US cover better—the hand painted lettering, the impressionistic face—but I think the overall impression of the UK cover is more striking. It looks more like a Big Serious Novel, but more importantly, it invites the viewer to pick apart all of its patchwork slices to find meaning.

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub


Welcome to the Bold and Blocky Instagram Era of Book Covers

2 February 2019

From Vulture:

If you’re looking for the most anticipated books of 2019, chances are your search will start with Google and end at Amazon. Chances are even better that one book cover will consistently jump off the screen: Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf, its graphic white title entwining with a writhing, jewel-toned print of a shape-shifting beast. This first book in the Booker Prize–winning author’s Dark Star trilogy, a queer, Afrofuturist fantasy series, has already been called the “African Game of Thrones.” (Another tagline: the literary Black Panther.) It’s clearly being positioned by publishers and booksellers as a cultural icon, with a blazing cover to match.

Scroll on through the best-of lists and other titles will pop just as loudly: The title of Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s Bangkok Wakes to Rain gleams in gold letters over a drippy green abstraction of leaves. Helen Oyeyemi’s Ginger Bread shouts in bold yellow against a lightly ombré coral backdrop, its plane broken by a black crow grasping a gleaming tangerine. And Kristen Arnett’s Mostly Dead Things features a twisted, hand-drawn flamingo on a field of avocado green, with the title scrawled over it in what appears to be a fat white sharpie.

None of these titles is available yet, but anywhere you find them online will likely direct you to preorder on Amazon. [Ed.: Guilty.] In fact, their covers are designed to ensure that you will. At a time when half of all book purchases in the U.S. are made on Amazon — and many of those on mobile — the first job of a book cover, after gesturing at the content inside, is to look great in miniature. That means that where fine details once thrived, splashyprints have taken over, grounding text that’s sturdy enough to be deciphered on screens ranging from medium to miniscule.

If books have design eras, we’re in an age of statement wallpaper and fatty text. We have the internet to thank — and not just the interface but the economy that’s evolved around it. From the leather-bound volumes of old to lurid mass-market paperbacks, book covers were never designed in a vacuum. Their presentation had everything to do with the way books were made, where and how and to whom they were sold. And when you look at book covers right now, what you’ll see blaring back at you, bold and dazzling, is a highly competitive marketing landscape dominated by online retail, social media, and their curiously symbiotic rival, the resurgent independent bookstore.

Link to the rest at Vulture and thanks to DaveMich for the tip.

Pulp Classics

28 January 2019

PG just discovered Pulp Classics. Click on the covers.



Link to the rest at Pulp The Classics

The care and feeding of your cover artist

26 August 2018

From Romance Rehab:

Authors need to foster a lot of relationships—relationships with their readers, book bloggers, their editorial staff, and their cover artist to name a few. Working well with your cover artist is hugely important, because after all, your cover is the first thing potential readers see.

So, assuming you don’t already have a cover artist you love and adore *bats eyes at my ridiculously patient cover artist* let’s look at how to find a cover artist.

. . . .

If you’re looking at indie publication, you’re gonna need a cover artist. Unless you’re already a Photoshop master. Those authors exist. I can think of three great ones off the top of my head. But, most of us don’t have that skill set.

So, how do you find a cover artist? First of all, get thee to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or iBooks and start looking at book covers. Make a note of indie book covers you love. You can use the “look inside” function to scan the copyright page. Often, you can find the cover artist info right there. See if you can find at least 5-10 artists’ names you’d like to investigate a little further.

. . . .

Once you have your dream list of artists assembled, visit their business webpage, blog, and/or social media pages. If they have their rates listed, you can find out who’s in your budget and narrow your list accordingly. I’ve seen prices from $50 to $500 and everything in between. Some charge an hourly rate. If prices aren’t listed, you can always email them and ask.

. . . .

What are your rates?
Obviously, it’s best for both parties to know upfront if it’s financially feasible to work together.

Do you charge by the finished image or do you charge by the hour?
This is important to know up front, especially since the search for cover models can be a lengthy and tiresome one. And covers that incorporate a lot of layers to get the desired effect can also be time consuming.

Do you also make print flats, audiobook covers, 3-D images, banners, ads, social media graphics, etc.?
Sometimes, all you need is an ebook cover, but you may discover that you need additional images later on. You can ask if the artist has package prices for any of the above or if it’s more of an ala carte situation. It would also be a good idea to find out if they’d be willing to do any of the following in the future and if it would cost more to make it later than it would to make it now.

How many versions/tweaks of the cover do you allow before there’s an additional charge?
We’ll go into this in more depth a bit later, but authors that constantly want tweaks or complete do-overs can be a giant pain in the ass for cover artists to work with. And it’s important for both of you to know if there’s a limit for these things before beginning the cover art creation process.

. . . .

I’d like to take a minute to talk about talk about a few cover art related things you may not be aware of when you’re envisioning what you’d like to see on your cover.

  • The vast majority of cover artists don’t do their own photoshoots, they use what’s available at royalty-free stock art sites, like Deposit Photos, Shutter Stock, Dreamstime, Period Images for historical cover art and for fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. Heads-up, specialty image sites tend to be pricier, and if you decide on images from a more expensive site, you should expect to be upcharged accordingly. (Links will be included in a list of resources at the end)So if the exact pose of the exact person or people you’re imagining doesn’t exist, your cover artist can’t make it exist. She can probably do wonders with Photoshop and manipulate things about the images you’ve decided on, but she (unless she’s a wizard, Harry) can’t create something from nothing.
  • You know those really fancy, intricate fonts you love? They may become virtually unreadable once they’re shrunk down to thumbnail size on a vendor’s site.
  • Dark colored cover art usually looks fine on the computer, but it doesn’t translate well to print format. It tends to turn out considerably darker and muddier, and often fine details are lost entirely.
  • Cover art is meant convey genre and evoke a mood enticing readers to buy a book. It’s not meant to be an actual representation of the characters or a scene from the book. I think a lot of times, authors get hung up on creating a visual representation on the cover of what they see in their heads.

. . . .

Don’t micromanage your artist’s process. 
Yes, this is your cover, and it’s important that you’re happy with it. But if your artist tells you that the cover will be too busy if you have a winter skating scene, an ambulance, the hero and heroine, Chinese lanterns, a hedgehog, and the series logo, you need to understand that this cover is going to be a train wreck and look amateurish.

Link to the rest at Romance Rehab and thanks to Joel for the tip.

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