The author of the Clown book series answers questions about book-cover design.
Q: You create your own book covers?
A: Yes. I love doing it. In seminary, I learned to do rice-paper collage and I’m just crazy about it. Each cover is a collage.
Q: Collage. What exactly is that?
A: Quite simply, collage is affixing materials to a surface with artistic intent. I paint rice paper with rich colors, cut and tear the paper into the shapes, and affix the shapes to illustration board using watered-down glue. Sometimes I add other items as well: beads or threads, whatever gives the needed effect.
Q: What is it about collage that you’re crazy about?
A: It’s not an easy art form, that’s for sure. Glue gets stuck to my fingers, rather than to the surface; the illustration board bows up with all the water applied, so I have to flip it over and wet down the other side. Getting the shapes I need is a challenge. But collage is very forgiving. When I mess up, I simply peel off what didn’t work, shed a few tears, and start over. And with all the water, it’s a baptism every time I do collage.
Q: Do you have a theme for your book covers?
A: A book-cover-design conference I attended favored simplicity for book covers. And I get that: I did one book cover that way because the book’s theme is stark. But for the Clown series, I wanted a spectrum of rich colors—and I wanted intrigue.
I love book covers that puzzle me: ones that seem incongruous, then, when I’m midway into the story there’s that “Ah-ha!” moment. Each Clown book features a rendering (related to that book) of the Clown’s three primary-colored orbs. I hope readers enjoy getting to the “Ah-ha!” moment with each one of them. And, of course, reading the stories within the story.