Have you ever wondered how an artist goes about creating custom artwork for a book cover? Wonder no more. Christine Gamache, the artist who designed the cover of Near-Life Experience, answers that question and more in this cover artist Q&A:
Is this the first book cover art you’ve created?
I’d done one other book cover before—for my own book. (It’s called The Tainted. Get it on Amazon.) It’s different when it’s your own—because I’d had that idea from early on in the creation of the book. And I knew what the book was about, it’s tone, and the feel I wanted to go for. It’s different when I’m designing for someone else—there’s always that worry it won’t be exactly what they were hoping, or the tone or message won’t jive with what the book is about.
What inspired you?
For this cover? It was one of the excerpts you sent me when you were giving me details about the book and the world. (Follow @lifeimperative on Facebook to read that excerpt) The way you described that scene was so engaging, and I had a mental picture of what I wanted to do pretty quickly. And from the description, it sounded like it pulled in some important details/people/settings all in one. Sometimes as an artist, the first idea is hard to let go of, even though I knew it’d take a while to do.
How would you describe your art in general?
I have what I like to call a scratchboard-esque style. I love it, but it takes longer because of how I do it. Every line is an individual stroke, and I use the number of lines and pen pressure to indicate highlights and shadows. It adds a lot of detail and texture on everything. It creates not quite realistic images, on black backgrounds, which really helps make a subject stand out in dramatic ways. It’s a style I created a few years ago, and I love doing it. Art is just muscle memory, so the more you do it, the better you get. The same is true with different styles—the more you work in one particular style the better you get. I learn something new every day, and find ways to make it better the more I do it.
Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Other than art? I have several key passions in my life—art, nature, and martial arts. I love hiking, and I travel specifically to places so that I can go hiking and see things I’ve never seen before. I also teach martial arts—specifically HEMA, which is historical European martial arts. So I teach people how to use German medieval and renaissance longsword, dusack, rapier, dagger, unarmed, spear, etc using manuals written by masters from those time periods. I’ts so much fun! I always have swords in my car. If I’m not doing either of those, than I am drawing. I draw every day.
Who is your favorite artist?
I was inspired pretty early in my art career by Caravaggio, and, oddly, Bernini. For Caravaggio, I was always in awe of his mastery of highlights and shadows, and the genius of how he constructed his images utilizing all the tips and tricks we now know are essential to a good composition. He was so good at that. And, even though I’ve never been a sculptor, Bernini’s skill with making marble look realistic has always struck me. The Baroque period in general I find very fascinating.
If someone thinks your art is awesome and wants to see more, where can they look?
I just recently started a YouTube channel to teach people how to draw—it’s called the Artist POD. Support the work of the Artist Pod on Patreon.