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Old Jul 29 2005, 09:51 AM   #1
Jolèt
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Default Do illustrators really read the books?

To what extent has the illustrations on your various editions been faithful and true to the descriptions of characters in the Pern - series? Everything from uniform designs to landscapes and even the colour and style of hair?

This should be very interesting to hear because 90% of the time i've read anything about AMC the illustration doesn't support the description of the world in the book! My opinion, what about yours?
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Old Jul 29 2005, 10:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Cover artists are rarely given the chance to read a book. Firstly they don't have time to sit and read every book they illustrate, and secondly they're usually commissioned to create the cover while the book is still being written/edited. The way it generally works is the publisher tells the artist a general description of what they want in a few sentences or perhaps paragraphs if the artist is lucky. The artist produces one or more rough concepts for the cover, from which the publisher chooses and makes further comments on things to adjust, and then the final art is produced. You'll note the author isn't usually consulted at all during this process, and this does indeed lead to art that oftentimes really doesn't match the book.

Exceptions do occur at times, especially if new art is being designed for a previously published book. Michael Whelan had read Dragonflight and Dragonquest already when he was commissioned to do new artwork for the US editions along with the cover of the brand new White Dragon, and I think that set of covers fits the books pretty well.

I'm not impressed with many of the covers of the crystal singer series - the images of crystals in no way matches the description of how they're mined within the text!
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Old Jul 29 2005, 11:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Thanx for clarifying the process I've always wondered about it; but, personally, it is a faulty procedure because i've always been under the impression that the illustrations should be a 'teaser' as to what you can expect in the book. At least, if i was ever to be an illustrator, i should want to meet the author and discuss in debth how she wants her world to be viewed by fans.

Crystal Singer specifically irritates me still
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Old Jul 29 2005, 11:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Jolèt, Anne herself told us several times she most often has absolutely no say in he matter of cover art. It is the domain of the Marketing Divisions of the publishers and publishing houses

However, she also told that if she, as author, is vehemently against a certain cover, she will pull her weight. she did this once, she told me, in the case of a Tower and Hive cover for a German edition which made Damia look like a whore (she said)

Add to that the fact that a professional illustrator will just not have the time to read the book... They probably read the marketing blurb on the back cover but that doesn't exactly tell you how a dragon looks or the spaceship that is featured in the books, right?

I am in contact with Les Edwards, the person who did the last two Pern cover books. I'll send him a mail and ask him to comment on this, maybe he can shed some more light on what a cover artist/illustrator does or doesn't?
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Old Jul 29 2005, 12:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

I very nearly didn't read my first introduction to Pern because of the absurd cover art on the book I saw at the local library. My daughter talked me into checking it out but I ignored it until my mother read it and said it was good.

It isn't just Anne's books that suffer from this problem either. There are a lot of books I have passed by because of the cover art. Whatever the current process is, and however convenient it may be for the publishers, I think they should re-examine the situation. Producing covers that more accurately represent what's inside could do a lot to increase sales.
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Old Jul 29 2005, 03:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Don't judge a book by it's cover - cause the cover likely has nothing to do with the book! LOL, sorry, coudln't resist. This is only meant as a joke.




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Old Jul 29 2005, 05:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Anne managed to get the rights of approval of her UK covers which was very unusual This came some time after the cover she absolutely hated of a naked Lessa on a dragon for the first UK hardback Edition of Dragonquest

As she says, it's COLD up there, so give the poor girl some clothes
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Old Jul 30 2005, 04:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

I like the Swedish Dragonflight cover even better... Also a naked Lessa but not a photograph of a nude woman on a porcelain dragon [yuck] but a rather funny cartoon like drawing. Man, that dragon is funny!
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Old Jul 30 2005, 10:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

There are 4 artists I can think of that if they haven't read the books, they've at least gotten specific recognizable scenes right from the book. Such as some of Michael Whelan's (Dragonflight, Renegades and All the Weyrs of Pern especially), Steve Weston (though I really do NOT like his style of dragons), Rowena Morrill, and Greg Call.

Though his dragons aren't true to Anne's descriptions, (and he did AWFUL burdenbeasts ) Whelan's cover art is my overall favorite. I love the way he fleshes out the landscapes. His mountains and unique landforms are really facinating, and he got the Skybroom trees on the cover of Renegades perfectly!
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Old Jul 30 2005, 11:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
I am in contact with Les Edwards, the person who did the last two Pern cover books. I'll send him a mail and ask him to comment on this, maybe he can shed some more light on what a cover artist/illustrator does or doesn't?
That'd be great Hans! My info comes from various sources, such as articles in past issues of DRIN (Del Rey Internet Newsletter) and FAQs on artists' websites. Being able to quiz an illustrator more directly would shed much light on the topic!
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Old Jul 30 2005, 02:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff
There are 4 artists I can think of that if they haven't read the books, they've at least gotten specific recognizable scenes right from the book. Such as some of Michael Whelan's (Dragonflight, Renegades and All the Weyrs of Pern especially), Steve Weston (though I really do NOT like his style of dragons), Rowena Morrill, and Greg Call.

Though his dragons aren't true to Anne's descriptions, (and he did AWFUL burdenbeasts ) Whelan's cover art is my overall favorite. I love the way he fleshes out the landscapes. His mountains and unique landforms are really facinating, and he got the Skybroom trees on the cover of Renegades perfectly!
Les Edwards, who did The Skies of Pern, Dragon's Kin and Dragonsblood, made covers that certainly depict the main subject of the book! And I personally think his dragons are in the top for Pern dragons.
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Old Jul 30 2005, 06:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
I like the Swedish Dragonflight cover even better... Also a naked Lessa but not a photograph of a nude woman on a porcelain dragon [yuck] but a rather funny cartoon like drawing. Man, that dragon is funny!
Link, please?

I agree with Sandi. I know I'm sad, I shouldn't "judge a book by its cover", but sometimes I do. At the very least, sometimes in the bookstore there's a choice between two covers, and I will take the better-looking one, even if it costs slightly more (though I can't recall right now if there ever has been a difference in cost).
Or, if I'm trying to decide on one book from several by authors I've never tried, if the recommendations I've heard about them don't help (I never read back blurbs), I'll choose the best looking one. I figure, if I choose a book that sucks, it might as well look nice.
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Old Jul 30 2005, 07:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenrider Tresa
Don't judge a book by it's cover - cause the cover likely has nothing to do with the book! LOL, sorry, coudln't resist. This is only meant as a joke.




Tresa

Actually, that's not all that far from being truthful. Thinking of the French versions of Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums that depicts Menolly as being a naked fairy with tree branches growing out of her head...

----------------------

As for the original question...

I will also go along with what many have said about Michael Whelan's artwork. I especially love his dragons. And, to be completely honest, I kind of...well...prefer his design of the dragons over Anne's. I've also seen his artwork for another book, Nor Crystal Tears, which also very accurate in capturing the story's theme.

But the illustration that bothers me in all of the Pern books I have is the one in Nerilka's Story that depicts Oklina's Impression of Hannath. That quenn dragonet looks waaaay too small! She's more the size of a full-grown fire-lizard!!
But other than that...
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Old Jul 31 2005, 07:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

McClance, why do you assume it is Menolly depicted on the French cover?

It is not
A cover does not have to depcit something from the book per sé... and the French just want an interesting cover on the book, a cover that hgas not necessarily anything to do with the book; and this goes for the vast majority of the French McCaffrey books.
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Old Jul 31 2005, 07:34 AM   #15
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beisla
Link, please?

I agree with Sandi. I know I'm sad, I shouldn't "judge a book by its cover", but sometimes I do. At the very least, sometimes in the bookstore there's a choice between two covers, and I will take the better-looking one, even if it costs slightly more (though I can't recall right now if there ever has been a difference in cost).
Or, if I'm trying to decide on one book from several by authors I've never tried, if the recommendations I've heard about them don't help (I never read back blurbs), I'll choose the best looking one. I figure, if I choose a book that sucks, it might as well look nice.
Hmm, let's see if this works

click here

Yep, it does. I absolutely love that littel dragon with his big mouth and the Weyrwoman with the big eh... mass of blond hair?
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Old Jul 31 2005, 09:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

That dragon surely has a huge mouth! Waaaay too large for its body! And I see what you mean about the mass of blonde hair...
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Old Jul 31 2005, 04:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
Hmm, let's see if this works

click here

Yep, it does. I absolutely love that littel dragon with his big mouth and the Weyrwoman with the big eh... mass of blond hair?
Thanks!
The dragon is sure cute! I love it!
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Old Jul 31 2005, 09:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
McClance, why do you assume it is Menolly depicted on the French cover?

It is not

I'm not the one who orginally assumed it to be Menolly. Someone else assumed it in another thread.


Quote:
A cover does not have to depcit something from the book per sé... and the French just want an interesting cover on the book, a cover that hgas not necessarily anything to do with the book; and this goes for the vast majority of the French McCaffrey books.
That's sort of what I was pointing to in my response to Tresa's comment in that she wasn't far from the truth when she said that cover may have nothing to do with the book.
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Old Aug 2 2005, 11:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

the US renegades cover looks like the illustraor read the books but didn't click about dray beasts!
What gets on my nerves are little details like firelizard claws etc! most of the UK corgi covers are ok though!

the best EVER cover is the 1968 UK Restoree cover- totally disconcerting but totally right!
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Old Aug 5 2005, 06:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Do illustrators really read the books?

Les Edwards kindly informed me he hasn't the time at this moment to answer our questions. He mailed me to say his wife Val is rather ill and he has been unable to leave her and go to WorldCon (in Glasgow).

He hopes to get back at us on this and gave me permission to remind him in a few weeks if he has not
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