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Question for TB

Bruce Brown

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When looking for a cover artist for a book, what is the best way to choose the

right artist for the right story? I had a an all ages book that I did awhile ago, but not really too

many cover artists that are a draw in itself for that. But for other books, what

would your advice be? It's such an important part of comics, that you want to make the

best choice you can. Just wondered your thoughts.

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Well in this particular instance I have the advantage of having spent 21 years in the industry.

Along the way I've done countless shows, met 1000's of artists, and been exposed to things I wouldn't have been otherwise.

It helps to be active. If you are an art director and all you do is scan the periodicals and artist annuals like Spectrum, you may see some amazing art but your choices remain somewhat limited. Especially given the fact that a lot of the talent in Spectrum is tip top, meaning, high artist rates, and difficult schedules (sometimes impossible). I've also forged a lot of friendships along the way which means that if I call BROM on the phone and ask him to do a cover for me, I already know two things going in. 1. I've done my research and I know he is well suited for the job I'm offering, and 2. I know he's normally booked 6-8 months in advance. So I would never call him with a rush job. I also have credibility. Brom knows me. He knows I'm for real. He knows he'll get paid and he knows he'll have a blast doing what I've thrown at him because I'm going to give him latitude to play to his strengths.


I'm never afraid to contact a heavy hitter because I have a clean reputation. And if the artist in question does not know me personally, all he/she has to do is ask a few of their friends. Chances are we've crossed paths. If you don't have the benefit of being a known artist yourself, hey, that's not a problem either.

It just helps ;)


In any normal case there are several things to consider.

What is your subject matter? Who has a reputation in that arena?

What's your budget? - Who can you afford?

Make a list, best guys at the top, middle of the road but solid talent next.

Then, who could you "live" with.


Let's say your "all ages" book is about some kids who befriend a giant robot guy.

If I had a decent budget I'd immediately think of "Jon Foster", or "Ashley Wood".

They are different artists but both have the ability to hone back their intensity and soften things up.

Very appropriate for all ages or even children's books. And they are masters at composition and execution.

That list would have about 25 names on it if I had to solve this problem.

Someone like "Jill Thompson" is uniquely qualified because she can hop through genre's like a hot potato.

She's good at everything. She can be straight, comedic, quirky, or dark. Or, any combination or variation.


Subject matter + Budget + Talent = your cover artist.


The main obstacle is knowing enough about the subject you are dealing with and then compiling that list of wonderful artists.

That can take some heavy research.

Then it's just a question of whittling down your list, and then who is available.



Hope that helps.


- TB

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