Today, I have a very special treat for you! Ida Jansson, of Amygdala Design, creates some truly stunning book covers. It is my honour to bring you an insight into her and her work. You will find examples of her beautiful work scattered throughout the interview. This is, I hope, just the first interview with somebody performing one of the many essential parts of bringing a book to publication.
When did you first discover the desire to create was so strong in you?
My road to becoming a Graphic Designer is a little different than most others. I actually have a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Science, but have had photography as a hobby for a while. When I discovered Photoshop, along with DeviantArt, everything changed. I was stunned to see what a powerful tool Photoshop was, and how it could be used to create the most amazing artworks. I started experimenting with stock images and digital painting, and eventually added my own works to DeviantArt. After a few years, I was contacted by an author wondering if I would be interested in doing a book cover for her new book. And that is how it all started! Now I get requests for new covers every day, and design covers full time.
I have a one year education in Graphic Design and Multimedia Design, but most of the skills I use in my daily work as a book cover designer were self-taught.
Do you work in a studio or simply anywhere in your home?
Right now I work from home to save money, but I hope to be able to rent an office soon.
What is your preferred art medium?
I prefer digital art in the form of photo manipulation and digital painting.
Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another artist/illustrator, or artists/illustrators?
I just love the work of Nathalia Suellen (Lady Symphonia), and she has been a great inspiration for me. Through my work for Amygdala Design I have developed my own style and technique, but my early works were influenced a lot by her.
Absolutely. Even though I often get very specific requests from the authors I work for, I try to let my own style shine through. My style is naturally influenced by my own experiences in life. I generally tend towards a dark but colourful expression in my art.
Do you create illustrations/cover art for both printed and digital books? Could you show us some examples, please?
Yes, I create about 50/50 of printed covers and digital covers.
Do you create artwork for web design purposes?
It`s not one of my main services, but I have done promotional artworks for authors to use on their websites.
Do you prefer to illustrate “fashionable” works, or do you prefer works that are more “traditional”?
I try not to think too much about being fashionable or original in my work. What is important is that the cover is true to the story of the book, and that the cover is not too crowded. And the cover has to have the eye-catching elements, like strong/contrasting colours and a clear title.
Since I work full time as a designer in my own company, I can adjust my schedule pretty much the way I want. However, I usually work a lot, 12 – 14 hours each day.
Do you plan every piece meticulously before you start on it? If you produce concept sketches, are there any that you could share with us, please?
Because I work with stock images, the planning is done while I browse for stocks. After, I often try different images/image-parts together in Photoshop before deciding on what stocks to use in the final piece. Then I add the digital painting. So I don’t plan that much before I start, I have to see the elements together before reaching a decision about what will work and what will not.
Many artists who work with computers use graphic tablets so that they can still ‘draw by hand’. Do you use such a device, or some other device that suits art in particular?
Yes I do, I use a Wacom Bamboo Tablet. I couldn’t do my job without it! Together with Photoshop, it is my most important tool.
I think the problem with many self-published book covers is that they lack impact. They might be nice to look at, but don’t really stand out from the crowd. With the number of self-published books growing each day, it is extremely important to have an eye-catching cover. Investing money in an eye-catching cover will show the potential reader that you care about, and believe in, your book.
When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?
I love to have a lot of books in my bookshelf to look at and get inspiration from, but I prefer to read on my Kindle or listen to audiobooks. I read a lot, usually 1-2 books per week, and it inspires my work so much.
What is your greatest ambition in art?
Designing book covers full time has been my dream, and now I am living that dream! So in a way I have already reached my ambition. I have designed covers for small publishing companies, but I would love to do work for a major publisher, like Harper Collins or Penguin.
My website: http://www.amygdaladesign.net/