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Interview your cover designer (even if it’s you!)(talk about other covers they have worked on, what you love about their work, etc.)
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Back in March of 2015, I interviewed my cover artist for this blog. I’ll include it as my response to this question this month because he is extremely busy and tough to pin down for sometimes. With everything on his plate normally and the redesign of his website, I don’t want to disturb him to supply information he’s already done for me.
Originally Posted March 24, 2015.
Through mutual friends I met Scott Deyett, graphic artist, and was immediately impressed by his body of work at InHouse Graphics, LLC. I hired him to do the cover for OP-DEC: Operation Deceit and have since hired him to do the rest of the covers for my books, some graphics for my website, bookmarks and the all important business cards. If life is willing, I will probably have Mr. Deyett design the covers for my books from here to eternity…unless someone offers me the most epic artwork to ever exist, and is simultaneously NOT Deyett. (That person probably doesn’t exist.)
So, this month, I asked if he’d mind me interviewing him for the Artist portion of the blog. He’s joined me at Booktrope Publishing and done some covers for other authors that have just wowed my socks off. Our conversations during meetings are always entertaining. He leads a very interesting life. It also has occurred to me that a lot of people don’t understand the nature of his art/business. This is the perfect opportunity for a behind the scenes look at graphic design:
- Most artists have rituals before they can create, is there something in particular that you must do or have before you can work? Not so much a “ritual”… if it’s a more mundane thing, like a business card or brochure, then I might research what has been done for other businesses of the same nature, so I can see what barriers have been set–turn the music on and go. If it’s a more creative project, like a book cover or poster, crank the music, maybe doodle a little sketch for the basic composition of what I’m looking for, browse my stock images for the right subject matter I need, and then finally search my library of textures to see what I can use to layer for the right feel of the piece. Then, I go to town on it. Digitally, stock art plays a big part of my projects and given the amount of experience I have from the years I’ve been doing this, I can visualize pretty easily how things will fall when I piece them together in my head. Oh, there may or may not be a sacrificial goat in there somewhere. Maybe.
- What or who gives you inspiration? Well, when growing up, I played table top RPGs, read comic books, played video games… anything I could do to spark my imagination. But, I often found more inspiration from darker media. It’s those dynamic, darker subject matters that I’ve noticed give more of an emotional response from myself, and others. It’s something I carried with me throughout my undergraduate degree in Fine Arts. I’d cover massive sections of paper, maybe 6’ x 9’, in solid black pastel and then cut back into it with an eraser to let the imagery form. Almost in a very Caravaggio style, the subject emerged from this sea of darkness. I think a lot of this comes from growing up in the 80’s when we had an overabundance of darker tones in our entertainment without worry or concern of what it might do to the youth of the day (Maybe not so much a good thing, after all?!). Secret of NIMH, The Last Unicorn, Watership Down, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Transformers: the Movie- I can go on and on. All of them are amazingly dark visuals, with muted hues, gritty storylines and remarkable life lessons. There are few things in life that can stir a sense of emotion than watching a spectral Reaper Bunny prance around, beckoning the hero of the story to come with it.
- Who was your favorite artist growing, and is it the same person now? I guess if I had to pick someone I would say artist Dave McKean who’s known for working with Neil Gaiman. I’ve always been illustrative with my own personal work and his illustrative works are an amazing. They are these complex visual montages of mixed media and texture. He would work in hand drawn marks, photos, three-dimensional objects and more, all manipulated into a single form or scene. And again, his tones are very dark and in their twisted interpretations, tell an amazing story. I’d highly recommend looking up the Vertigo Tarot deck he did. Unbelievable imagery.
- Do you ever have to do research for your work and what sort of research is involved? Actually I get inspiration from all around me. As cheesy of a reply as that seems, it’s true. I’m constantly observing the world around me to see how everything reacts visually to everything else. I take that knowledge into my work which tends to deal mostly with combining all sorts of elements and making them feel like they are all in the same plane, believably. To do that you have to know how light sources, shadows, atmosphere, reflections, the elements, all these things interact and affect the attributes of the subject. You get that from the world around you.
- What are you working on now that you can tell our readers about? Oh, all sorts of things. My business offers so many services that it’s never a dull moment at the computer. Currently I’ve got some nice book covers going on, a couple logos, promotions for a Las Vegas client and a BDSM Card Game. Yep. BDSM. I said it’s never dull, right?
Scott Deyett is owner and Creative Director at InHouse Graphics, LLC. He studied at Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute and SUNY Oswego. He lives in central New York with his fiancé and two beautiful little girls. Deyett joined Booktrope as a designer in 2014. His most notable client is certain Magician from America’s Got Talent, Mat Franco (2014).
What I love about his work is how clean and well designed it is. It’s sharp and eye-catching. I like that Scott is able to take a vision from your head and put it into a graphic to be used for your covers or advertising. When he created OP-DEC, I was honestly floored by this ability. It was like a vision straight out of my book. His work now graces many other books and advertising across the United States. He’s impressive in skill and will be in business for many years to come. Who knows? Maybe, I’ll be able to influence the future producers of OP-DEC to bring him on for the posters! No pressure, Scott.