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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Book and its Cover

I never knew how difficult and complicated getting a book published could be. I thought I would land a publisher and wha-la have If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny out in print. But there's so much more to it. Like getting a decent book cover, for example.

The other day I met with the cover artist, Stan Mullins (, to wrap up the details of the cover art. As vanity would have it, I'm on the cover of my own book. So we had to discuss things like facial expressions, clothing selections, hand gestures, and very important technicalities like making sure he rendered me without any wrinkles - artistic license, you know.

Anyway, while we hashed things out, periodically he would leave and come back with an example of other work to help me understand the process and visualize the final product. In his absences I found my eyes wandering around his studio, the walls of which featured huge oil-painted canvases. One particular theme struck me as nearly universal - women's breasts.

There were probably paintings of lots of other things, but since I have a unique, but unintentional, habit of finding reasons to feel uncomfortable, all I saw were breasts. So when he eventually got around to asking me about that particular aspect of my persona on paper, embarrassingly, all the blood rushed to my face. I have no idea what he thought I was thinking, but he remained professional and plugged along at the task.

"Do you want them to be full, large, petite, what?"

Inadvertently my gaze shifted to the walls, sifting through the options like thumbing through a catalogue in a plastic surgeon's office, and I found myself thinking, "Well, hers are nice. Or those over there could be good."

In the end, I stupidly stammered, "No artistic license. As is." Flat as the paper they're on.

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