Saturday, February 09, 2008

Original Cover Art

I keep an eye out for sales of original cover art (the actual paintings on which novel cover art is based) and got an alert this week on a Ron Lesser oil painting for a late '80's Harlequin Presents, Vampire Lover by Charlotte Lamb. A very subtle, provocative composition, and if it is the original, not a bad price.

Investing in original art can be expensive, but if you have the chance as a published novelist to buy a painting from one of your cover artists, it's a unique way to preserve part of your personal history as a writer. Paintings usually last a lot longer than books, and it's interesting to see how an artist interprets your fiction.

I own two paintings by artist Alan Pollack that were used for the covers of my novels Beyond Varallan and Shockball. When I give talks about how books are published at the local schools, I sometimes bring one of the paintings with me to show the kids how cover art begins. This, btw, always impresses them -- almost as much as the packs of M&Ms I toss to the smart question askers.

15 comments:

  1. Have you had any luck finding Afterburn's original art? I know how fond you are of that piece.

    But seriously, I would think original cover art would be very desirable.

    Speaking of M&Ms, I saw whole bags of green M&Ms in Publix's Valentine's Day candy display this morning. Probably not the thing to hand out at school talks, though...

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  2. I have artists proofs/lithographs of all three of my covers, signed and numbered by Edward Miller, my cover artist. The first two are framed and hanging in our living room, the other's still rolled up awaiting the extra money to get it matted and mounted. I'd love to get one of the originals, but they cost several thousands of dollars. He's so talented, it just blows me away.

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  3. That's a grand idea, Sheila. I hadn't thought about it, but what a wonderful way to support the artists who do you right as well :).

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  4. How did you find out about buying the artwork for your covers?

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  5. Will Entrekin9:48 PM

    So do you also purchase the rights to the paintings, as well as the paintings themselves, when you buy them? Perhaps it's different in considering painted media, but I've encountered situations in which people have bought photographs themselves but not the rights to the photographs, as owner and author are separate legal distinctions.

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  6. Jean wrote: Have you had any luck finding Afterburn's original art? I know how fond you are of that piece.

    Please. Three years, and I still have nightmares about that damn cover chasing me, with the theme to the old Flipper TV show playing in the background . . .

    Speaking of M&Ms, I saw whole bags of green M&Ms in Publix's Valentine's Day candy display this morning. Probably not the thing to hand out at school talks, though...

    Ah, no, probably not. I've tried granola bites and raisins and other healthy stuff, but the kids end up tossing them in the trash as they leave the class. M&Ms are a universal favorite, no matter what age the kids are, with mini-Snickers as runner up.

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  7. Tam wrote: I have artists proofs/lithographs of all three of my covers, signed and numbered by Edward Miller, my cover artist.

    Great idea. One of the paintings used for my covers that was my personal favorite was sold before I had the chance to make an offer, but maybe the artist has some prints available....

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  8. Shiloh wrote: How did you find out about buying the artwork for your covers?

    I got the artist's contact information from my editor, wrote to him and inquired about making the purchase.

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  9. Will wrote: So do you also purchase the rights to the paintings, as well as the paintings themselves, when you buy them?

    As I understand it -- and if I'm wrong, someone please jump in and correct me -- unless the artist specifically sells or signs the rights over to you, no, you don't get them along with the art.

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  10. I agree that original cover art for a book would make a wonderful keepsake for its author, but the assertion that a painting lasts longer than a book is debatable. Yes, drawings on caves, before language was codified cannot be ignored to buttress your statement, and it is undoubtedly true that great cover art on a genre book of dubious longevity will probably outlast the contents it is illustrating. On the other hand, the Bible is a word book, not a picture book, and has had a pretty long run.

    http://warrenadler.blogspot.com/

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  11. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to be given the original art work to one of the Angelique books by Sergeanne Colon. It's gorgeous and I treasure the piece. When I evacuate the Keys for a hurricane, I always bring it with me for safekeeping.

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  12. I have a couple of children's book prints--and one real watercolor from No Moon No Milk. I love that art because it's purdy and because it reminds me of some of my favorite time--reading aloud to my babies.

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  13. I got the artist's contact information from my editor, wrote to him and inquired about making the purchase.

    Oh, dang... lol... now that's one solution I never thought of, just asking. :P

    And daggone it, blogger is messing around with their sign in process again.

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  14. Are any of your novels cover art available in poster form, like say the StarDoc sereis? That would be cool!......And a great item for one of your giveaways!

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  15. My dad was the paperback book cover illustrator, H. Lawrence Hoffman. In 1938 he did the cover to the original hardcover and paperback book, Rebecca. My sister and I would like to sell the original oil painting we have that he did for that cover. We don't know how to do it and who to go to. Can you or any of your readers advise us?
    Thank you,
    David Hoffman

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