The Visual Scout: A Perfect Project

Jon Foster

“A Book Cover Is A Distillation.

It Is A Haiku, If You Will, Of The Story.” -Chip Kidd

Let’s chat about the art of the book cover. It’s a project and a process that embodies the illustration platform. Conveying a concept, tone, or trait of a publication with one image seems like the perfect way to stretch your skills! We have gathered some ideas on how a book cover is an ideal project.

1. Say It or Show It

When it comes to letting the audience see what a book is about, we can either say “Boat” or show a boat. Doing both seems like overkill. It always serves your audience to show rather than tell. Contextual clues and embracing a publication’s essential concepts are building blocks to a masterful book cover.

2. Contrast

We all know how vital it is to understand color theory to create a dynamic image. But, thinking about how to highlight a book’s central themes will come naturally with the use of contrasting colors. Think of the action movie poster rule of a blue background with an orange foreground.

Jon Foster

3. Vision over Versions

When someone hires you as an illustrator, especially for a book cover, they are hiring you to create the idea. They could have used a graphic designer, but there is more to say with a complete image. The illustrator is the distiller of the story (like that large quote above mentioned). How you interpret your project will directly affect the vision you create. Be ready to think big.

Jon Foster

4. Ready for more?

Whether you are a seasoned industry vet, or a beginner ready to take on a new project, Visual Arts Passage is here to keep you inspired, push your art forward, and be a continual source of mentorship. Want to get started? Our fall classes are filling up fast! Head over to our illustration program to learn more and qualify to receive lectures about book cover design, building personal artistic style, and creating a career in the arts industry for free!

Jon Foster

A HAIKU (about books)

Pages fold beneath,
Holding the weight of the word,
Never just a book.

– Grace Simenson