Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Analyzing Cover Art

We're gonna beat some sh*t up!
I'm on a mystic quest for
self discovery!
Shelving books for 3 months at the regional library introduced me to the art and science of books covers. I learned to discern branches of Christian fiction by the tilt of the cover-heroine's chin. I realized that fantasy novels that are marketed toward women readers feature soft, sketchy cover art that indicates they are "mystical," while fantasy novels targeting men are brightly colored, more realistic, and highlight action scenes.
Or at least, that's what I imagined.

Different cover designs obviously appeal to different audiences. They dramaticize certain aspects of the book. Check out these covers from different editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Pink! Pink! Pink!
Wow! Ditching the Disney-blond Alice archetype!

I loved Alice as a child!
 Now I'll share this charming story with my own sweet children!

O.G. cover featuring Tenniel's original artwork

Questions for discussion:

  • What character made it to the cover? Why?
  • Does this depection of the character match the character you imagined? How is it different? How is it the same?
  • Does the cover depict a specific scene in the book? Why is this scene important?
  • Compare and contrast the cover with the original scene.
  • Who is the target audience of this edition? Explain.
  • What theme or mood does the covery communicate?
  • How accurately does the cover represent the book?
  • How does the title font and any captions effect the cover?

Suggested Activity:

  • Design your own cover for [relevant book]
    • Draw, sketch or paint
    • Paper collage (old magazines and catalogues are good sources for images. The Graphics Fairy has lots of free, interesting vintage images you could use)
    • Digital collage (pull together digital images or draw your own on the computer. Gimp is comparable to Photoshop and you can download it free)
  • Identify 3 characters, symbols, images, scenes, or locations from the book that you included in your book cover.
  • Write a short business memo identifying your target audience. Explain why the cover and the book itself will appeal to this audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment