We’re always told not to judge a book by it’s cover, but when it comes to book buying, admit it – most of us do! 😮 😀  The first thing you see that often pulls you in to wanting to even read the blurb on the back is a beautiful looking cover.  While different covers will attract different readers, one thing is for certain: Book covers matter and do affect how many people will read the books.  So why is it, when there are so many new books released every month, that we hardly ever know who designed those amazing covers?

Those beautiful pictures inside

In every book review I’ve done that features pictures inside a book, whether it’s a dedicated picture book or a middle grade or ya fantasy with some lovely artwork or maps, I’ve always felt the need to comment on the illustrations that form the pictures and chapter headers of books as well as mentioning who the author is.  A book’s author is of course very important, after all without an author there would be no book (unless it’s a plain no-text picture book).  But for every book that’s printed with little illustrations in between pages or even ones that create borders around the page, chapter headers or even the page numbers, those illustrations were created by an illustrator.  So I’ve always felt a need to add those illustrators names to the book reviews I write, because often, those books feel more special to read because of the illustrations inside. 

I always felt I was doing some good in mentioning the pictures inside, and the names of those in-book illustrators.  It never crossed my mind to not add these illustrators names, they have taken a long time to make so many books look really good.  And so many of us often gush at those inner images or laugh at some funny cartoonish ones that appear in many middle grade books.  But for all the good I felt I was doing in adding these artists names to my reviews, I was still making a huge mistake.  Because I wasn’t acknowledging what could be argued as an even more important artist (or maybe not that they are more important – don’t want to take away from the other illustrator – but in the first instance they are more important)…the ones who designed the book cover!

Book covers need artists

We often forget that most book covers, espeically those traditionally published, are created by someone, an artist or illustrator, who has taken a lot of time to draw up the intricate or not so intricate design.  These book covers take a lot of time to create and they don’t just come magically from thin air.  Although some authors, those who are self-published, might try to create their own covers (which unless they know what they are doing can look awful – sorry!) for many the cover is made by someone who has taken the time to imagine and then create something that will catch the eye of us readers.

Book covers really do have to look good and if there’s anything that doesn’t we can usually tell.  I can usually spot a badly created self-published cover, for example, because someone didn’t know what they were doing, and I equally really do sometimes gush and have to pull myself away from a book because I’m so intrigued by the cover!  Most of the books I’ve ever bought, or requested from publishers are because of those brilliant book covers.  I might read the blurb later and decide based on that, but the cover is what made me read it.  However, most of the time I don’t even know who created them and that’s a shame.

Credit where it’s due

The cover artist of any book is usually printed inside the copyright information of a book and often on the back cover too (although some publishers might still not do this).  But the lettering is so small that we often don’t bother to even notice it, we just ignore it when we look at a cover.  But that artist’s name is important, because you’re often holding their book because you loved their hard work, so we need to start acknowledging who those cover artists are, and helping to spread the word of how brilliant they are.

I’ve started doing this in my reviews, I’ve only recently done it but it’s something that I’m committed and will stick to doing from now on.  For every book that’s got a book cover (well that’s ALL of them isn’t it?) as long as I can find a cover illustrator, I’ll mention their name at the start of my review along with the author (the inner picture illuustrator if they are different), and I want every one else who writes about books, whether you’re just an avid book reader, reviewer or more importantly a blogger, to help acknowledge those artists too.

Let’s show our love for illustrators/artists

So many of us book bloggers do cover reveals and adore seeing a new cover revealed.  We literally gush all over a new cover of a book and talk all about it, the author and its upcoming release.  But how many of us talk about the person who created the cover?  How many of us ask who created the cover?  So many of us never know who made it and not all publishers are telling us.  So let’s start finding out who the artists are or asking the publishers (nicely) to tell us who made those gorgeous covers.  Let’s start telling everyone, when we write our book reviews, who those book cover artists are, who those people are who created those lovely details or maps on the inside.

If we don’t know, but have asked then don’t feel bad for not being able to credit someone, but let’s do our best to try to credit those artists if we can.  Because I can tell you, as someone who has been drawing and creating art almost my whole life (I even did art GCSE! 😮 ) I’d hate someone to take my work and show it off to the world without telling anyone that it was me who had made it.  I had a review plaigerised and printed without my permission in the past, which wasn’t nice…plaigerism’s not fun and not giving credit to an artist comes under a similar umbrella, especially when there is a name and we can afford to take the extra few seconds to type out the artsit’s name.  Those artists deserve a moment in the spotlight, so let’s give it to them, after all, adding a few extra letters to a book review is hardly going to make our lives as bloggers difficult 🙂

This campaign isn’t mine, it started a long time ago (although I admit I only found out about it after I’d started writing and researching for this blog post).  I noticed a hashtag on twitter: #PicturesMeanBusiness so check it out or visit the campaign’s website: http://www.picturesmeanbusiness.com/ and show your support by talking about the illustrators of all the books you love.  Do this especially if the books you read are ones with lots of pictures in them, like so many middle grade (older children’s) and fantasy books have!

Have a lovely day everyone!  Enjoy the beautiful illustrations on and in every book you read and if you are an illustrator, then I hope you get the wonderful credit you deserve! ❤ 🙂

Do you try to find out about the illustrators of your favourite books?   What do you think about acknowledging the artists/illustrators in reviews?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂