Friday, August 17, 2007

Welcome to Syneca - Cover Artist

One comment I've heard over and over about my books is, "Gorgeous Covers." Today, I'm pleased to share this space with Syneca, the artist who's created so many gorgeous covers for EC and CP books.
As authors, we fill out a 'cover request form,' and then sit back and hold our breath. What happens between sending in that form and having a cover to display? I asked Syneca to share the process.

The first thing that happens when the Graphics Department receives a cover request is that Will, our cover liaison files it into a folder for me. I read the request and then either assign it to an artist (including myself).

In the case of Starting Over, we went through a bit of a refining process to get Terry's vision correct, but once we understood the feel of what she wanted I knew what would work. I'd taken some shots of an eagle in my back yard in the spring and one of them was perfect for the cover. Will and I scoured around through all of our photo resources and found two women that I used to create the woman in the background. (One for the face and the other for the hair). Once I had the cover completed I took it to my boss, Exec. VP Darrell King. In case you all don't know, Darrell is to cover art what Yoda is to the Jedi. A master baby!! He can spot a problem in a cover in a nanosecond. The man has an amazing eye along with being an extraordinary artist. In this instance, Darrell gave the cover the green light and it was a go. We did some tweaking with color and focus and everyone was happy.

I have to say that as a general rule of thumb most of the writers for CP and EC - and now Lotus Circle, are easy to work with. Normally authors are a bit apprehensive on their first cover and tend to be a little less trusting of the artists. Once they have a book under their belt, they relax and start to trust us. Some of the writers are so trusting they just send a character description with a synopsis and say "wow me". LOL, we try and I have to say that I love it when we're allowed such creative freedom. It enables us to really do what we do best and that is create covers. We love getting suggestions from authors and to be honest, there are a lot of authors who have incredible ideas and combining creative talents with them is a lot of fun.

We do sometimes run into difficulties with cover requests. Sometimes things authors ask for just are not possible. It's not like we can rush out and do a photo shoot for each and every cover. When that happens I'm straight up with the authors and find that being straight with them and working on a variation on the original theme often produces great results.

Some things like backgrounds or landscapes, or even sets we can do on the fly. We're always digging into the prop box (things we pick up from flea markets, garage sales, and even a couple of times stuff that people are just throwing away) and setting up a table or desk in front of a window or a photographic backdrop and shooting background stuff for a cover. Or running outside and getting shots of trees or cars or the sky. I tried staying up one night to get shots of the meteor shower but fell asleep sitting on the patio waiting.We have some amazingly talented people working for and with us. Staff and freelance all, they are a great bunch of people. We use photos we take in-house at our own shoots, stock photos we purchase the rights to, and have a fabulous photographer, Les Byerley, who does photography and covers for us. As a rule, we do all of the title work in house. We're a bit picky about the kind of fonts we use and text placement, so normally artists turn in covers without titles and names. When those come in, I do the titles. All covers from the artists come to me. If I feel they're ready to be shown to Darrell King, then I do so. If they need work, I ask the artist for the changes I see that need to be made. When the cover meets my approval then I present it to Darrell. If he deems it worthy then it's a go. If he sees changes that need to be made, then I go back to the artists and we work on making the changes.

And then, of course, the covers go to the authors and we all cross our fingers, hold our breath and pray that we get a response saying "Yes!" That is an extremely happy moment for all of us. I'd like to thank you, Terry and all of the authors I've had the pleasure of working with on covers. Everyone realizes the importance of a good cover and we all take it quite seriously. We all understand that whether it's your first book or your one hundredth, each book is part of you and therefore important and worthy of respect. We try hard to make each cover the "most" important one on our plate. Do we always hit the nail on the head? Well, more times than not, I think

Leave a comment and I'll give one lucky poster a copy of the cover for Starting Over. I'll announce the winner on Monday, so be sure to check back.


Ashlyn Chase said...


That was a wonderful sneak peek into the artistic process. I always assumed it was just some sort of 'luck' when you received an awesome cover. Now I know better.

Thanks for all the hard work to you and your dept.


Syneca said...

Hey there!

Terry thanks for the exposure and being fun to work with!!

Ash, luck is definitely a factor - sometimes we luck out and have just the perfect photos to use - other times we "frankenstein" the starch out of photos and combine arms, legs, head, bodies, hair and ..ahem ... other parts from multiple photos for our creations (like of like the theme song from Mad Sciene ... "it's my creation - is it real?)

Big hugs ladies - you ROCK!!!!

Mona said...

Syneca, it was good to see how you go about bringing to life our books. The cover is what we imagine our story to be. I'm one of the first time authors who recently filled an application for book cover and sent it to you. I can't wait to stare at my book cover with adoration. Thank you.


Terry said...

Hi everyone! Guess what. Roadrunner is down and I have no internet access at home. I sneaked into a spare computer at my husband's office, but I can't stay. Sure hope it's resolved.

Thanks to Syneca for sharing her work process. We all agree the covers are awesome

Laurie said...

I've always been impressed with both the CP and EC covers - it's wonderful to hear that you work so closely with your authors to get the right "feel" and vision the author has for their book. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us!

K. Z. Snow said...


I have to chime in and say you guys are the greatest! It's obvious you take time to try for not just the right look but the right "feel" for all our books. Even if and when we want something a bit different, you try your damnedest to conform to our wishes.

Love ya, kiddo! If I'm ever a PITA, don't hesitate to let me know.

K. Z. Snow

Kaz Augustin said...

Terry, that was a great idea to interview a cover artist; they are such an important part of book production. Well done Syneca! :)

In a case of strange attractors, my next blog post is about cover artists and my attempt to get bookcards printed here in Singapore. Syneca, you may get a blast out of it...or maybe not.

N.J.Walters said...

First, love the cover for Starting Over. It's just gorgeous. Has sort of a Ladyhawke feel about it.

Syneca is an incredibly talented artist and I've been luck enough to have her do the majority of my covers. She has a way of "seeing" what I want even better than I do myself.

The EC art department is so wonderful and everyone does such an amazing job. I love getting new covers. You never quite know what you're gonna get, but you know it's going to be something special.

Great interview, Terry! It was very cool to see the process from the other side.

Shelley Munro said...

It was really interesting hearing about what happens after we send in the cover requests. I just love EC/CP covers and think you all do a wonderful job. Thanks!

Lisa said...

Awesome Cover Terry! Congratulation on it!