I knew early on that I didn’t want photography for my cover art. It was in large part a practical decision. Because it was important to me that my covers reflect the books’ turn-of-the-century setting, it seemed likely that I’d have to go to great trouble and expense hiring models, costumes and props and, of course, a photographer. Admittedly, I didn’t actually check, but I’m fairly confident that there isn’t a lot of m/m Edwardian-themed stock photography out in the marketplace.
I decided I’d commission illustrations not just because they’d be less expensive than elaborate photography set-ups, but also because I thought they might actually be the best choice for a fantasy series. If I see a photograph of someone, well, that’s what they look like. A drawing of someone, however, has some of the artist in it, as well, and is open to interpretation in a way a photograph is not.
I first saw Ulvar‘s work posted unattributed on someone’s tumblr some months before I finally stumbled across her Deviant Art profile, and I fell in love at first sight. For cover illustrations, I wanted something that would be a little reminiscent of Robert McGinnis (I see similarities in brushstroke-y technique very clearly, though McGinnis certainly paints a lot more nude women!), a little bit manga-ish, and somewhat different from what I saw other people doing with their covers. I stalked her for several months while I was writing, hoping she’d open up commissions, and then finally I just got my nerve up and asked her if she’d be interested in doing it.
It’s amazing what being direct can get you :)
I’m hoping to have completed covers to share soon.