Cover Artist Interview: Trish Revolinksy

I was happy to work with my friend Trish Revolinksy for the release of my first directly published short story, Anpo (The Dawn). You can learn more about the story in the blog post for its release.

Below is an interview with Trish about the cover. Thanks for answering all these questions and for this wonderful collaboration!

How would you describe the cover?

The cover is of the modern science fiction variety. It emulates Kim Stanley Robinson’s first edition covers of the Mars trilogy and Andy Weir’s The Martian. Both covers give the subject and setting of their stories to the reader using only the cover and I was inspired by that approach. In this cover, there is a planet covered by storms that is ambiguous when examined alone, but is confirmed as Earth when you spot Earth’s moon tucked behind the planet. The cover shows my interpretation of the moment the Swirl takes place. The space vehicle is prominently placed and interacting with the Swirl.

This is the first time you’ve done a book cover, correct? What new things did you have to consider and what changes did you have to make to your usual artistic process?

Yes, this is my first book cover! The most prominent and new things I had to consider were pixels and quality of the images I used. At one point in the process, I had a grainy moon and a crisp planet that distracted from my intended focus of the cover, which is the Swirl. Most of my past projects made in graphics editing software were for personal use and I was not concerned about image quality or content source since the result would live in my computer and never be used elsewhere. For this project, I was very careful of image source and permissions and ensuring the cover image quality translated for a thumbnail up to a zoomed in image on a large monitor. It forced me to be very deliberate with my image choices and to revisit design choices when I encountered difficulties with image copyright or quality. It changed my process to a more structured method that required more planning. The structure was different, but a nice learning experience.

Cover art could be described as an act of translation (from words to images) and visual summary (conveying quickly what this story is about). Why did you choose the elements you did as being the most important to convey to a potential reader?

I wanted to convey the urgency of the story with each cover element. The massive storm covering the visible planet indicates that all is not well on the planet and in the story. There is a sense of danger and mystery that the hurricane represents. Saveen is at the center of his story and humanity’s story. While he is not experiencing the immediate danger of the story moving around him, he is trapped in the middle of it all. He carries the responsibility of a task placed on him that requires so much sacrifice. I echoed the eye of the storm in the center point of the Swirl to draw that parallel between the events on Earth and events in the Swirl. The vehicle where Saveen enters the Swirl is near the planet, but held at a distance to demonstrate in a physical sense how Saveen is valued but forced outside humanity. The moon is visually close to the planet to further isolate the Swirl from every other human. I also did not include stars on this design because they represent hope and offer an escape. I wanted to reinforce that the Swirl is the only route Saveen can take.

Would you change your approach to creating future book covers based on your experience with this one?

I would change my approach for future book covers by being more deliberate with the plan going into each cover design. This cover and alternate covers started with a general idea of the style I wanted to use. I then added elements and removed them as the design shifted. It took a number of iterations to reach a design I was comfortable sharing for review. I would definitely plan out the designs more before even starting to build a cover next time.

Are you open to new commissions for cover art or art in general? If so, what are you interested in doing and how can people contact you?

Absolutely! I enjoy exploring different art forms and learning about other creative processes. Working with others helps me to learn more and I am all about it! People are welcome to reach out on instagram @trickaject or by email to [trickajet at gmail dot com].

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