Friday, March 15, 2013

Cover Artist Interviews: George Arnold - WGA Designs

By Jacob Donley

I networked with George Arnold, of WGA Designs, through Twitter. Looking over his work, I thought he would be an excellent cover artists to interview to let authors needing to find graphic artists the opportunity to get to know him a little better.

[FFM] Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

[GA] I started graphic design in the early ’90s as a way to have a more white-collar job than I had in the past. I have continued to learn new software and techniques as time has gone by.  Primarily, my employment has been a graphic designer for a company designing everything from signs to vehicle wraps.
I got into designing book covers because my wife, Carolyn Arnold, decided to self publish one of her novels “Ties That Bind”. Once that cover got out there, other authors wanted to know if I would design a cover for them. Thus WGA Designs was born.
[FFM] Can you share your process in creating a book cover?

[GA] What I like to do is get the author to send me the synopsis of the novel and what elements of the story they what to be depicted on the cover. This is very important as the author is the only one who knows the exact feeling of the book, thus their vision has to be realized—if possible exceeded. Then I process their input and try to capture the emotion they are going for.
First, I visualize the design in my mind, and then I go about making that imagery come to life on the computer by combining the appropriate graphic effects and images.
[FFM] Can you tell us about your challenges in getting started in cover design?

[GA] The main challenge had been translating what the author sees in their mind but can’t articulate in a few words.  Another challenge has been to design covers that look good full size and as a thumbnail. As most of the books I design covers for are sold on the Internet, the cover is often displayed very small. This limits font choice to maintain readability when displayed at these sizes.
[FFM] What is your favorite cover you've designed?

[GA] I would have to say “Eleven” by Carolyn Arnold. I was given free rein on this project to make the cover as dark and creepy as the killer in the novel.
[FFM] What program(s) do you use when you design covers?

[GA] Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and 3DS Max are the most common programs I use.
[FFM] Do you have anything specific that you would like to tell aspiring cover artists?

[GA] The best advice I could give:  keep it simple. Quite often you see covers with really artistic fonts that are not legible. Less is more. Too much flash, not enough bang. The cover needs to grab someone’s attention in 5 seconds or less, if not their eye is on to the next book. We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we all do. It is human nature to ignore what is not pleasing to the eye.
George Arnold, of WGA Designs, can be contacted at:
Twitter:  @WGeorgeArnold