I’m just going to say it: I suck at art direction. While I’m able to visualize my created worlds in great detail, I’m utter crap when it comes to visualizing book covers. Many writers love having that level of creative control, but me, I know my limits, and feel quite relieved handing over the reins to someone more qualified.
Although I try to add input during the cover creation process, a professional designer possesses an eye for art that I lack. I’ve worked with many designers over the years, and haven’t been disappointed yet. However, after five years, the time has come to freshen up the look of my books going forward, and I’ve found just the right person.
Allow me to introduce you to Eve F., an extremely talented graphic designer from Germany. Working with Eve has been a collaboration in the truest sense, as we’ve spent hours upon hours together discussing ideas and reviewing concepts (thank all that’s holy for her unbelievable patience). She is the ultra-gifted mastermind behind the cover for my latest release Dollhouse, but it won’t be the last project we’ll work on together. More on that at another time.
So, without further ado, let’s get to know Eve:
[DAVIDHULEGAARD.COM]: To start things off, tell everybody where you’re from.
[EVE F.]: I’m originally from near Stuttgart, Germany, but now I’m based closer to Frankfurt.
[DH.COM]: When did you first discover that you had artistic ability?
[EVE F.]: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I haven’t always been good at it, but my interest in drawing and painting kept me practicing and continuing over the years. When I finally got my first drawing tablet in my early teenage years, there wasn’t much doubt about my passion for art anymore.
[DH.COM]: Can you remember the first thing you ever drew?
[EVE F.]: I don’t remember my very first drawings anymore, but there’s one noteworthy example from my past I still remember. When I was in kindergarten, the kids in my group were painting a picture of a green field with the sky above. Everyone else painted the sky as a blue line on the very top of the paper, but I made the effort of filling in the entire paper except for the green floor. That is how it was in real life, so I painted it like that, and I remember being a little bit sad that not everyone would do it like that.
[DH.COM]: What are some of your favorite objects or scenes to illustrate?
[EVE F.]: Characters, people, creatures; mostly from the fantasy genre. These categories have been my focus for years now. When it comes to objects, I prefer metallic, reflective materials (like armor) or leather (like armor as well). In general, I enjoy painting pictures that challenge me, and make me learn and improve in the process. Considering that, there’s probably nothing I don’t enjoy drawing.
[DH.COM]: How did you come up with the cover concept for Dollhouse?
[EVE F.]: Sometimes I come up with good ideas right before falling asleep—that odd state in-between conscious and unconscious. I always keep a pen and paper right next to my bed in case I come up with something during the night. That is exactly what happened the night I read the story, and went to bed some hours after.
Mental images of Dollhouse kept occupying my mind until I hit the point where I came up with the idea, which I then scribbled down, half-asleep. The next morning, I didn’t even remember having done that until I stepped on a bell on a string–which I use to play with my cat–and apparently she had carried it into my bedroom. When I heard the ring of that tiny bell, I had one of those “Oh, yeah, I remember!” moments. I instantly started working on the cover.
[DH.COM]: Some people have mentioned being pretty freaked out by the cover. Did creating it give you any bad dreams?
[EVE F.]: I didn’t have any bad dreams. In fact, quite the opposite happened. It made falling asleep very hard for me. The male mannequin in particular popped into my head occasionally when I closed my eyes, which then had me wide awake every time.
[DH.COM]: Was Dollhouse your first book cover?
[EVE F.]: Yes. I’ve made a couple of music-CD covers before, and some story illustrations, but this is my first real book cover.
[EVE F.]: Yes, a lot! Working with Dave has been very pleasant and uncomplicated. In general, it felt like we’ve been on the same page for the entirety of the process, from start to finish.
[DH.COM]: Where can people see more of your work?
[EVE F.]: The best ways to find more of my work are my tumblr page, my deviantart page, and my website. I haven’t been as active lately as I’d like, due to starting a new job, but that will change once I’ve settled into my new environment.