Don’t you just want to grab this kid, pull him into a hug first, and then shove him behind your back, staving off all his demons with a razor edged machete? You do? Well, then you have been enticed by just a cover. A dark, brooding, emoting-so-loudly-you-can-practically-hear-the-kid’s-thoughts-as-he-thinks-them, fantabulous cover.
A Broken Kind of Life, written by J.P. Barnaby (writing as Jamie Mayfield), art done by AngstyG (whose website, on a side note, I could write odes to ’cause it’s that damn cool), is a novel about a troubled youth battling with his own inner demons and his parents thoughts of having him institutionalized. This is the sort of book that I’m always wickedly conflicted about reading. I’m not an angst fan. I’m not a soppy gooey Mary Sue lover either but angst, well let’s just say, my significant other won’t let me watch Emergency Vets anymore cause I end up in tears by the end every time. Which is odd cause romantic movies? Nothing, nary a quivering lip in sight.
But I digress. The cover. I am so caught out by the look in his eyes, the grim faded colors of his world, and the shockingly bright red of the word broken that just seems to shout, PAIN WITHIN, that I want to read this.
Every week, the wonderful person that is Lisa Horan sends me a folder of book covers. Usually about 10 to 14 on average (so far), and I pick from within. I open the folder and take my first look, usually discounting all but 2 or 3 in the very first few minutes. Then I set it aside for a bit, go have dinner or whatever else, re-watch Sherlock for the umpteenth million time, work on some homework or art and come back to it later. Then I take a closer look. I look at the backgrounds, the colors, the fonts. I try to get a general feel for the book cover. Which one is speaking loudest? Why? That’s what I usually do; this week, not so much. This cover just leapt out at me, drawing my attention from the very first glance.
I can’t really pinpoint a favorite part as I’m enjoying it as a whole picture. I love that the artist used a particularly turbulent looking storm to represent the characters state of mind in a very literal sense. By positioning it in the area we usually equate to our brain being, and over the starkness of the words, it really drives home the loneliness and fear of the character. The splintering of the lightening equates itself to the splintering of the young man’s mind. The position of the character low on the page seems to give off fearfulness, a ducking of a shameful head, but the eyes are peering upwards, perhaps hopeful, perhaps not completely beaten down then.
The font is well fitted as well. A slightly more ragged looking font combined with a very rigid looking font reflects the imbalance of the story as well. The colors are compelling, especially the vivid red which makes the word “Broken” jump out at you. Fonts are tough to get right, believe it or not. I know that for myself, I scroll through a huge list of fonts trying to find the perfect one and sometimes you think you have it, and nope it’s just a teeny tiny bit off. If it doesn’t fit, it really detracts from the cover. If it fits, it enhances it. It’s like putting the final touch on a perfectly frosted cake that you’ve slaved over for hours. One slight misstep can wreak artistic havoc. Luckily for J.P. Barnaby she not only got an artist that knows their way around graphics and artistic vision, but one that is accomplished in choosing the correct fonts as well.
Hopefully I’ve been able to show the simple, grim, beauty of this cover, and have been able to convey my enjoyment of it, dark though it appears to be. It just goes to show that a cover can be beautiful even when it’s understated, such as this one. As well as a good lesson to remember if you’re prone to tossing all sorts of things at a cover and seeing what sticks. That said, however, it is equally vital that you choose interesting pictures if you are going with a more minimalistic approach because honestly, if the pictures are boring, the cover is boring, and people will tend to think that the story is boring as well.
On the subject of covers for this week, that’s all I’ve got.
Have a great day and may the good books be with you!
A.J. – Got You Covered
All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.