Thursday, March 4, 2010

Historical Book Cover Art

Discussion has come up on the modern look of some Christian historical fiction covers. Many publishing houses are using photos shoots with live models instead of the lovely evocative paintings I have always associated with historical romance.

I'm coming out of blogger hibernation to weigh in on cover art. In general, what I LOVE about historical covers has always been artwork that evokes the period in which it was written. I am not a fan of live model covers at all. Very few have pulled them off, IMO. Linore Burkard's Before the Season Ends is a rare cover I liked, and it's the playful looks on the H/h's faces that hooked me. I could feel the chemistry between them.

Not sure if this one was done with a model, but Colleen Coble's new book, the Lightkeeper's Daughter is lovely. It looks painted, and that's what I like about it.

When it comes to the old-school painted covers, like Golden's first example, I am taken in by ambient lighting in subdued, muted tones, the luxuriant fabric of period costume, and the look of "old". That's the whole reason I read historical in the first place. I don't want technicolor or high definition or the feeling I'm watching something in bluray. I'll turn the TV on if I want that. Give me soft edges and a dream-like fade and let my imagination fill in the blanks.

I do not like female models for historical who:

1. wear obvious lip gloss, blush, mascara, eyeliner. . . except maybe the kohl that a Hebrew woman might have worn, if it's a Francine Rivers cover.

2. sport a tan if she's supposed to be a southern belle who prized a milky white complexion

3. have that former-braces-wearer, perfectly-straight white-toothed smile, like a commercial for Orbit gum. "Brilliant!"

4. have that modern, angular, gym-member body. Women from different eras seemed softer.

5. are wearing what is trying hard to look period, but seems more like a weird ensemble gathered from a local goodwill prior to the shoot. Wrinkled and all.

Just my opinion. Hope it was worth a chuckle.

1 comment:

  1. I chuckled. I know what you mean. I think we already discussed this, but Judy Miller's newest book SOMEWHERE TO BELONG is gorgeous!