Saturday, November 05, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Cover Artist Ryan Bibby

I'd like to welcome Ryan Bibby, an up and coming Cover Artist who took some time out from his schedule to share with us writers, a few things about himself and his work. He has also very generously offered a FREE COVER to a random commenter on this post!

Here's a little about Ryan, and be sure to check out his new site

Ryan Bibby an English man in Auckland (Sounds similar to the Police lyric don’t you think?) I’m 30 years young. Married to the most amazing woman with two incredible children, Isabel 2 ½ and Dexter who is 8 months old. I studied at University in the UK and worked for several years around England before moving to the southern hemisphere for the better weather and lifestyle here in New Zealand. No regrets what so ever!
1. What made you decide to get into doing cover art for books?

It’s something I have always thought about before in the past but never really had the opportunity. It wasn’t until a chance tweet that I stumble across the indie book scene and discovered the quality and depth that is out there. I couldn’t believe the quality of the writing and wondered why some novels “made it” and other remained somewhat underground. So I thought I might be able to offer something to help get a book noticed. I know it’s not the whole deal but making an eye catching professional cover can certainly help when it comes to be taken seriously in the huge market out there.

2. I'm guessing that like all creative types, you have a particular form of inspiration, would you mind sharing it with us?

No! Just kidding, it’s nothing special really I get most of my inspiration just from wandering around with my eyes open. Anything that catches my attention really, be it a advert on the side of a bus or a promotional flyer that gets put in the letterbox. You can find great design all over the place it’s just a case of opening your eyes and realising what you’re looking at. I’m also a bit of typography geek! I can spend hours (seriously) just browsing through different fonts and sometimes this can be the foundation of the entire design. Since I started taking the book cover side of design seriously I’m also a permanent resident in my local second hand book shop picking up whatever catches my eye.

3. I see a lot of Stephen King's, The Dark Tower artwork on your site. Is this a particular favorite of yours?

Absolutely, there is something about King that just speaks to me, it’s as if he can paint pictures straight into the old grey matter. The Dark Tower in particular is something I seem to always find my way back too every couple of years. For those of you that have it on the to-do-list… DO IT! You won’t regret it I promise.

4. Are you looking for clients right now?

Being new to this area of design I don’t yet have the word out there about what I can do and offer. So yes I’m on the hunt for anyone that wants to see what I can put together. I try and pride myself on listening to the client and keeping in constant communication with regards to how progress is going. From experience people really appreciate being kept in the loop even if it’s just letting them know you can’t do any work on a particular day it’s better to let them know then to drop of the radar for 24 hours. Communication is king in my book.

5. What's your turn around time from being given the idea for the cover art and having it back into your clients eager little hands?

I try and get something for them to look at in within a week. It normally takes a little back and forth to get to the finished design, but once again it’s all down to communication. This is where, so far, working with authors has been a total dream. For oblivious reason you can articulate yourself so much better than the normal grunts and shoulder shrugs I get from other clients when putting together a design brief. I also try and take my time, as your novel is normally a very personal thing, your baby if you like and it’s an honor to be allowed to put a face to that for the world to see. In fact it’s a really cool thing to get the chance to do.

6. Do you mind if I ask how much you are charging?

For an ebook cover my rate is a very reasonable $35. Which I would like to think is a bargain. One of the reasons for this price point is that as with all design fields you’re constantly learning, so I see every project as a learning experience that I don’t have to pay for. So you get a cover that you’re happy with and I get to hone my craft, it’s a win win really!

7. How long have you been doing cover art for?

Only for a couple of months now, but I have been doing other design work for a number of years. I have been involved with a lot of corporate and branding identity work along with website and other promotional design projects. The t-shirts you can see on my site are just a hobby really to help me vent the creative urge when I get home from a particularly dull day. Design is my passion it’s what enjoy doing so after a day of photo shopping products into customers I love to go home and experiment with some more creative aspects of the software.

8. Favorite book cover of all time is?

Wow tough question, I think it’s most likely also from one of my favorite books of all time or at least in my top 5, the classic 1984. I picked it up along with Animal farm in a bundled deal and they’re really my cup of tea when it comes to design. Very stylised and timeless, looking at them both now the Animal farm cover is probably more striking but I remember the 1984 cover having more of an effect on me at the time. Great covers and both great books. Ask me the same question next week and I would most likely have changed my mind!

9. Sinful indulgence you eat/drink while working on your craft? (Give it up, we all have at least one!)

Guilty as charged, how did you know? My wife is from Scotland so from the outlaws most Christmas and Birthday presents I get tend to come in a bottle aged at least 12 years! So if I’m working in the evening it would likely be a single malt whiskey with a couple of ice cubes. Hmmmmm too early in the day to think about that right now however.
10. Best cover art you've done so far (in your opinion)

Normally it would be the work I have just finished but at the moment I have a special spot for The Kayson Cycle cover. For one, I think the author Jonathan D Allen really dug it, and secondly it’s the first cover that I have had put up for sale. So that’s a special cover for me at the moment. I am also loving the second Angst concept cover that David Pedersen allowed me to do. I think it has some great little touches that make it pop nicely off the page.
 Thank you so much Ryan for sharing with us your art!
And for all those reading this and looking for a cover artist be sure to check Ryan's sites out and do leave a comment for a chance to win a cover of your very own done by this very talented artist! This opportunity will be all wrapped up by November 10th at noon. Be sure to leave your email so that you can be notified if you are the winner!


Jonathan D Allen said...

Hey Ryan! Just wanted to give my testimonial here: Ryan's been nothing but a professional in working with me, and I was very pleased with his covers. I definitely plan on hiring him again in the near future.

Oh, and he likes the Dark Tower series, so you know he can't be all bad :)

Lorhainne Eckhart said...

Hi Ryan,
My hats off to you. I have great respect for anyone in the graphic art field to pull together a great book cover from what us authors have stuck in our head. You must also be a mind reader (well pretty close.

Once, and only once did I try to create my own book cover for my second novel, and quickly gave up when I discovered there's more to just throwing together a few graphics. And a great cover really does sell a book. It's the first thing people see, it's what makes them want to read the blurb, and the novel. So you really have the toughest job, the one in the spotlight that we all see when we click on that Amazon page.

Erika said...

I love both the covers you've done for Angst. Checking out all your work, they are definitely my favourites. Great job!

Interesting interview. I've never seen an interview for a cover artist before. This definitely opened my eyes :)

Clive Scarff said...

You seem to have a good head on your shoulders... realistic and not full of yourself which is refreshing! I may be calling you!


Rabbi said...

Clive's comment is derived from us talking about a headless sparrow in Bev's garden. He's only putting that in to get a ballot in the giveaway. he should be disqualified.

Rabbi said...

That was just a kind of whistle-blowing comment.
This is my real comment.

First of all, I liked the second 'Angst' cover better than the first, but barely. I think they both work very well.

And good idea, Shannon, to guest blog with a non-writer, but someone who is associated with the writing world.

Ryan, your covers are terrific. I think they work as eye-catchers, which can be vital to get the book looked at closer, and maybe lead to a sale but they also look like a professional has created them. Well done.
I would be interested to see what you could do with a cover for a book that doesn't lend itself to being rendered from a text-based story to a visual.
All the best in your new career,


Ryan said...

@Lorhainne Eckhart Thanks for the comments. It can be a challenge that's for sure but it's all down to communication. I ask loads of questions, some never even really make a difference to the final cover but it helps forge the feel for the design. So listening is a big part of it and lucky with authors listening so far has always been a pleasure! I also like to read as much as I can of the book before starting (sample chapters)this can help sooo much! Thanks again

Ryan said...

@Erika Thanks, the Angst covers were really fun to do as I was reading the book at the time and just loved it. I think that can help with a good cover sometimes. I hope David gets around to another Angst novel soon.

Ryan said...

@Clive Scarff Thanks Clive would love to hear from you! Good luck with the comp.

Ryan said...

@Rabbi Awesome comments, thank you so much. It's always a worry putting yourself out there and it's great to get positive feedback. As for the non text-based story cover, do you have any ideas? As I would love to add one to my portfolio.

Lyn Thorne Alder said...

The cover of "Angst" is gorgeous!