So today I’m interviewing book cover artist extraordinaire, Victoria Faye. She’s the Designer/Owner at Whit&Ware. She did my book cover and if I do say so myself, I think she did an awesome job.
But first, some good news: my debut novel has been awarded the best upcoming fiction title by Chick-Lit Pad! Excuse me while I do a little jig.
Okay, enough celebrating for now. Let’s get to know Victoria!
Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not designing covers?
Originally I’m from Africa, I was born there (my dad is Sierra Leonean, my mom is Filipina and Chinese). I moved to the states when I was 13. Growing up, it was a very musical/creative household. My dad played guitra, My mom sewed like crazy, my sisters crafted and made ceramics (we had a pottery wheel and kiln in the garage). So I do tend to overload on hobbies while I’m not designing covers, I’m writing, or making music, or DIYing…I can’t seem to ever sit still! I’m thinking of starting a vlog soon, but we’ll see. It’s wishful thinking.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a graphic designer or did you just kind of fall into it?
I always, always, always wanted to be an artist of some kind. I remember telling my mom I was going to spend the rest of my life drawing all day. I was 6. Lol, and if I wasn’t that, I told her my back up plan was to be Whitney Houston. I loved to sing. My parents wanted me to be a doctor – I was like, that’s not happening.
What are your favorite kind of covers to work on?
Ooooh! That’s a tough one! I get into phases, but I guess my absolute favorites are Middle Grade and YA – there’s a lot of imagined worlds in those books, and what can I say. I love to day dream and imagine all those fairy tales to be true, and then bring them to life.
Let’s say an author comes to you and has no idea what they want their cover to look like; how do you get your ideas?
I think an in depth conversation is a good place to start. I talk to the author about what images they like, what feel they want the cover to have. Then I research the genre that they are writing in and I look at all the different covers that are already out there. I want to make a book look unique but at the same time make it look like it could belong next to any other book in that genre. The best place I get my ideas though is in an authors synopsis/summary though. Usually I sketch out ideas that I think would work for both the genre and the particular book. I usually come up with 3 variations, and show that to the author, and then I keep finessing it until it’s just right.
Walk me through your design process.
First I sketch. A LOT. And I drink a lot of sweet tea.When I was in design school it was hammered into me to draw 10 sketches for every concept, and I can’t seem to break the habit. It really does get a lot of ideas out of my head, though. Then I hunt for images (if needed) and/or open up my design programs and rebuild the three best ideas digitally. I clean them up, choose a few different fonts, and then send them over to the author for a first review. Then I sit anxiously and wait for a reply. I get SO nervous right after I hit that send button.After I get feedback, I start revising the cover to get it just right, and then send it back for another review. If it’s an illustration, the above steps may repeat a few times, since I redraw things, but essentially, the whole process is the same every time. Whatever I do though, I try to make sure I keep the author’s vision in mind. After all it’s their baby.
What information should authors have before they approach you about designing covers?
For me, nothing is absolutely required beforehand, but it does help if authors know where to find info about how their book is going to be published for print or eCover. As much info as I can get about what they need for the final outcome is great.
Besides Createspace, there are several different companies that offer printing services, and sometimes the sizes/formatting can be different. Knowing ahead of time makes designing the cover easier – all the technical stuff is all taken care of in the beginning.
What are some questions that clients should ask but don’t?
One of the things that people don’t ask about are licenses for stock images. If I use stock images I will let authors know if there are restrictions for them. But authors should always know what may be attached to the artwork.
Let’s say a client comes to you with an idea that you know just won’t work for a cover–how do you steer them in the right direction?
The only time I may suggest an author go in another direction is when they have too many ideas that they want to put into a cover and it leaves no room for the title or their name on the cover. I then I suggest that we focus the idea, to 1 or 2 visual concepts so the reader isn’t lost when they look at the cover.
What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I used to be a correctional officer (prison guard) . For 2 years I worked at a men’s prison in the general inmate population. No joke.
How can we connect with you online?
For my design stuff and tips for marketing and self-pubbing:
All Social Networks:
For my personal blog and side projects: