Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Again with the Book Covers

Yesterday, I talked a bit about book covers and specifically about part of the process that went into making the cover for Andrew Leon's new book, The House on the Corner: First Person Edition

Today I wanted to talk a bit about my own cover, the novelette I released a couple of weeks ago had another cover that I painted, I was particularly proud of the final image I used for a pretty stupid reason. I didn't bother with using anyone for reference when I painted the guy. I just thought he ended up looking pretty good. At the last minute I decided it was much more dramatic to put him (mostly) in silhouette, striking his dramatic pose.

But then, maybe a week after I had the book out I noticed something, something odd. I'd created a bit of an optical illusion. You know, like the thing with the single vase or two people thing

I don't even know what I am
Optical illusions are funny things, sometimes once you see an image one way you can't unsee it. It's there forever. I'm sure there are reams of data that describes what seeing optical illusions have to tell us about how our brain works, in fact, I've read a ream or two myself on the topic. Very interesting.

If anyone hasn't been aware of these wonders, please spend a few minutes on google, you'll be amazed at some very amazing illusions.

Mine on the other hand, isn't amazing, just annoying. Sigh. Sometimes I just can't win. This illusion I created is bad because although subtle, to me, if you see it the way I didn't intend, the image becomes much less dramatic, much less powerful, and much less of what  I wanted. So I want to ask everyone a simple question.

In the cover below - where is our cowboy looking?

I'll give you a hint, if you don't think this is awesome, you're looking at it wrong.



10 comments:

Rogue Mutt said...

Great, now I'm going to feel like Ethan Suplee in "Mallrats" who never could see the sailboat in the fucking Magic Eye poster. "When do I get to see the sailboat? When God, when?!!!"

Andrew said...

He's looking down?
At his left foot...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

At first I thought he was looking down, but that's forward. Is the image of his backside and he's looking up?

Kim Mullican said...

Maybe I'm mental but I cannot find a contact me button. I'd like to talk to you about cover art. I've decided to self-pub and, well, I'm a digital retard and have no idea how to do this effectively.

kmullican2 at comcast.net - hit me up! TY

Munk said...

Uuuummmm, I think it's awesome. Yeah, that's it, I think it is awesome.

Michael Offutt said...

He's looking down and facing us. I don't get what I'm supposed to see here.

Claire Lachance said...

It's so hard to tell. I think it's great!

Tonja said...

He was looking down. Now he's looking up.

julie fedderson said...

I suck at seeing dimensional imagery. But when I first saw the book, I saw one man looking down at his heart in a defeated pose/another with face to the sky showing his heart with vulnerability. And then when I saw it up close with the colors, it made me think of a phoenix in the fire. The flick of color at the center of the dark figure gave it a more ethereal quality--made me wonder if the man is actually a preternatural creature being reborn. Of course, I've had a lot of wine tonight, so it's possible I'm seeing a lot of stuff that just isn't there. It's a cool cover, hands down.

Rusty Webb said...

Rogue - dammit, I put you through all that pain and you still didn't let me know what you saw.

Andrew - that is more or less what I drew.

Alex - I think what you say is at least kind of the illusion I was thinking of. Some people started telling me that they thought he was looking just over their (the reader's) left shoulder instead of down towards his own chest.

Kim - sorry. I made a new tab last week and didn't even bother to mention my email address... the whole damn tab is dedicated to finding me online. Stupid.

Munk - well, I guess that was my intent. You must be seeing it correctly then.

Michael - exactly, if you don't see anything else then I'd rather not tell you, um, so don't read my comment to Alex.

Claire - Nice politically correct answer. I like it.

Tonja - Exactly! He's supposed to be looking down. I should have put a highlight on his hat or something so it didn't cause some folks that confusion.

Julie - Damn. You got it all more or less exactly right... well, except for the reborn thing, but still. Kudos for getting the image right, and recognizing that he is being silhouetted against fire. I kind of half-assed it now that I look at it in retrospect. Wine gives you great insight.