Friday, May 18, 2007

Picture This

You can't tell a book by its cover, right? Maybe not, but a striking cover draws the potential reader's eye. Maybe they'll pick it up and read the back, flip a few pages, look at the cover again, then take it to the cash register (or click it into that ubiquitous Shopping Cart at on-line stores).

It's nice to sell a story. Having it illustrated is icing on the cake. I've asked the artists who illustrated by stories how they went about capturing the story, sometimes in a single illustration.

Holly Eddy is a regular illustrator for a number of magazines. She created the wonderful picture of Sasquatch that accompanied by story "Chilpequin 22 Miles" in Lorelei Signal. This particular illustration came in 4th Place in the Preditors & Editors Poll for best story art. Made me proud, she did.

Teri Santitoro is an artist, writer, and editor. 7ARS was born in another century under the name theresa alice rapposelli, and added santitoro when she married a human. She currently lives in NE PA with her husband, son, dog, bird and fish. She is the editor of Sam's Dot Publishing magazine, Scifaikuest. Again, I'm familiar with her work because she's illustrated both of my Cadida chapbooks produced through Sam's Dot Publishing. Her cover illustrations capture my thoughts on Cadida perfectly. See Teri's website for more illustrations.

Marva: Hello, ladies. Thanks for answering my questions and allowing me to post some of your illustrations on my blog.

First question: How did you get involved illustrating stories?

Holly: I have always loved art, and creating something from nothing, so naturally I pursued that path. I received my BFA in commercial art: Illustration last may and have been working freelance steadily since then.

Teri: Actually, I began when I was still in school. I made up my own comics and also tried doing illustrations for stories or books that inspired me. Mr. James B. Baker and Mr. J Erwine published my first paid illustration in one of ProMart's ezines.

Marva: What do you look for in a story as the main concept to illustrate? Is there are process or is it seat-of-the-pants?

Holly: Well, I try to look for parts of the story that I think would be most aesthetically pleasing. But there is always a process, I never start out with just one idea. I go through a lot of sketches and ideas before I can narrow it down to one concept and then I have to find references for what I am drawing. For example, on your story I had all sorts of reference photos of bigfoot, and apes, bars, bartenders, glasses...anything I thought would be of help to create a believable setting.

Teri: What I look for are stories that have a lot of what I refer to as "events". Not necessarily a lot of "action", but rather scenes that grab the reader and imprint themselves on the memory. Those are the ones that are the most fun to illustrate. Some of my work seems to develop almost on its own, while other projects must be thoughtfully considered before and during the creative process.

Marva: Black and white OR color? If you had your druthers, which would you prefer to use in illustrations?

Holly: I usually have a choice, but I prefer color.

Teri: I prefer color. I love color--it's like a treat for the eyes.

Marva: Would you recommend to budding artists to pursue story illustration? If so, what one piece of advice would you give them?

Holly: I would recommend It, but it is an extremely competitive market. As for advice, be on the top of your game, Don't take anything too personally, and never stop advertising yourself.

Teri: Definitely. My advice would be: Develop your own style, and then illustrate the kind of stories that inspire you the most.

Marva: Again, thanks a bunch to both of you. I'm proud to have had my stories illustrated by both of you.

Holly: Thank you. I wish you the best and I really enjoyed illustrating your story.

Teri: You're welcome.


  1. Wonderful! Art is so inspiring to me in writing my stories. Thank you!

  2. I loved the dragon pic!


  3. I'm with ellis; the painting dragon is great.

  4. nice website
    very informative