Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dustjacket art

Dust jacket art is worthy of a blog of its own, and probably, somewhere out there, someone has one up and running. Book collectors in the know learn to spot subtle differences in dust jackets that occur between editions. Some are true connoisseurs of the art itself, and shown covers of a certain era, can name the artists and illustrators of frontpieces and plates.
I love some of the dust jacket art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Frank Krieger of Newport Vintage Books has an intriguing collection of images of dust jackets on his Web site, including these for Rafael Sabatini's novels. N.C. Wyeth (who was the father of Andrew and other famous Wyeth family artists) was among the artists who brought scenes from Sabatini's adventure tales to life.

You might have fun with these Nancy Drew dust jackets from the 1930s and 1940s, many by Russell H. Tandy.

And there is always this site, where you can see the work of Pogany and many others, and read their biographies.

For me, though, nothing beats a little time spent in the virtual art museum of Violet Books' Web site.

How do I feel about the covers on my own books? My books have been wrapped in cover art both delightful, and...umm, not so delightful. (I'm sure readers have their own nominees for the latter category.) I'm also always fascinated to see how the art changes in the editions published in other countries. I think if you look at the International editions pages on my site, you'll see some truly striking cover art, and some that will ... be nominees.

One of the challenges of crime fiction covers, I'm sure, is to come up with images that may be disquieting but which aren't repulsive. In recent years, I've been very pleased with the cover art on my books. I'm especially happy with the work Ray Lundgren has done on the U.S. editions. He's good at capturing some essential something from each of the books for which he's created covers. He manages to do that in a way that always makes me feel drawn to the book while still conveying an intriguing amount of suspense. I can only hope he's elicited the same reaction in my readers!

2 comments:

SusJ said...

Jan,
I'm reading "18" on my NEW Sony eReader that I got for Christmas. Not only am I enjoying your short stories, I want to thank you for offering your writing electronically. I've also purchased "Kidnapped" to read next.
I just found your blog and plan to stay tuned!

Jan said...

Thank you!

You remind me that I need to straighten out my Palm account (forgotten password, etc.) so that I can download a few books on it. eBooks do make reading while traveling a lot simplier.