On the eve of the publication of the complete edition of The Order of the White Boar, Books 1 and 2, I’m delighted to welcome on to my blog Ellie, from Book Visuals, the designer of my fantastic new cover.
Ellie has been kind enough to satisfy my curiosity about her work and inspiration by answering a few questions for me. I hope you’ll find them as interesting as I did.
As ever, it’s best to start at the beginning…
Alex: Hello, Ellie – thank you for joining us today. Can you tell me a little about your background and how you got in to book cover design?
Ellie: I have always loved looking at book covers and trying to figure out how they were made. Last year, I started designing images on Canva, which started terribly, but practice makes perfect, and they slowly improved. After a while, I realized I had hit a dead end with Canva and moved on to Photoshop, where I am constantly learning how to do new things. I have always been surrounded by books and, while you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I find that I am much more likely to pick up a book that has a nice cover than one that doesn’t. I want to be able to help authors in their quest to have a cover that someone will want to pick up.
Alex: What are your favourite covers and illustrators? Who or what has inspired your work?
Ellie: I don’t have a favourite illustrator, but I love covers that have particularly pretty colours and nature involved. I must say, it was the cover for The Other Cipher (Soli Hansen Mysteries, Book 2) by Heidi Eljarbo that has most inspired my work, and indeed was one of the reasons I started book cover designing.
Alex: That is a particularly evocative design, for a rather different genre from mine! Which genres do you particularly like designing for – and reading yourself? Which would you prefer to avoid – in terms of designing and/or reading?
Ellie: My favourite covers to design are Young Adult and Romance covers. I am not a fan of designing Horror covers. I find it much easier to make a cover inviting and pretty than horrific! I like reading practically anything, especially young adult books and thrillers. I don’t have a book genre that I don’t like reading, but that said, I am not the biggest fan of books that drag on, or that have pages upon pages of description.
Alex: What author (dead or alive) or book would you most like to design a cover for?
Ellie: There are quite a few authors that I would love to design covers for, and they are all authors that I love reading. I would love to create a cover for a Nicholas Sparks book. I have several of his books on my shelf, and the covers have inspired some of my own.
Alex: Away from books specifically, do you have any favourite artists? What most draws you to their work?
Ellie: I have always loved the Impressionists and their artwork. When I was younger, I did a school project on them and their work, and I became obsessed with Monet. I even had one of his paintings hung up in my room (not a real one, though!) Recently, I have loved watching videos of people painting with watercolours and Bob Ross tutorials. I like these in particular because every piece of art starts simply and builds until it is a masterpiece. Sadly, I am a travesty with a paintbrush.
Alex: During the pandemic, some writers haven’t been able to write, others can’t stop writing. Many readers are experiencing similar things. Has lockdown helped or hindered you in your work – or indeed your reading?
Ellie: I created Book Visuals, my book cover design business, in lockdown, so it has definitely been a time that has helped my work. Likewise, I have done more reading in lockdown than I did the year before. With restrictions on what is open and where I can go, sitting down with a book or my computer to design a cover has given me something to do.
Alex: Talking of lockdown, this question can be particularly pertinent for creative people (literally as well as figuratively). Do you have a room of your own?
Ellie: I have a room that I work in, which has a desk, a bookcase and far too many house plants. I go there when I have work to do or when I design covers. Sometimes I do some writing, but lately I haven’t been doing this as much. Having a room to shut myself away in has been very helpful during lockdown, as it puts me in a work mindset and helps me get more done.
Alex: Apart from visiting/hugging family and friends, what’s top of your list for where to go/what to do once lockdown ends?
Ellie: My family has always been the kind of family to visit every single historical site possible, and some of them I’ve been to so many times I could walk around them blindfolded. Before lockdown, I will admit, I didn’t enjoy these outings that much and would have preferred to stay at home watching a movie or reading. However, during lockdown I haven’t been to any of these places, and I am secretly missing them. As soon as it is possible, I would love to go to one and spend the whole day there. Oh, and to a restaurant, so I don’t have to wash up after eating!
Many thanks, Ellie, for spending time with us today. I’m sure she’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the cover she’s designed for The Order of the White Boar, Books 1 and 2, if you’d like to leave any comments below. Or do come along to the launch event on Sunday if you can and discuss this striking cover there, along with chatting to several guest authors, and taking part in competitions and giveaways (at https://www.facebook.com/events/434559574492584).
Ellie and Book Visuals can be found at:
and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BookVisuals
Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A third book in the ‘White Boar’ sequence, King in Waiting, will be published in 2021, as will Alex’s forthcoming timeslip novel Time out of Time.
Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at: