Hello J Caleb. Tell us about your creative journey. What was your path to becoming a book cover designer?
I’ve always loved art and loved reading. In my sophomore year of college I saw a book cover by Raymond Swanland and was enamored by it. I knew that book cover design was what I wanted to do. Fast forward six years later working in a small town print shop and I stumble upon some book cover opportunities over the web. Bada bing bada boom. The rest is history.
What do you enjoy most about being a book cover designer?
I enjoy creating a great looking image that makes people stop and go “whoa, that’s badass.” If I can do that, I’ve done my job.
What makes a book cover great?
Simplicity and amplification. A simple idea – character, image – that is then amplified so its clear, concise and on point.
What part of book cover design do you find most compelling?
All of it honestly. A badass image paired with strong typography is hard to beat! I love this job. It’s been a fantastic career so far.
Do you have a favorite genre or theme to design for and why is your favorite? Or if you’ve niched into a specific genre, why did you pick that genre?
Fantasy and scifi are my go to genres. Grimdark fantasy, however, will always have a special place in my heart. The darkness and the grittiness of genre have always appealed to me.
Where do you see the future of book cover design and indie publishing headed?
Right now we live in the golden age of content creation. I think as the world continues to get more and more connected the demand for stories will only increase. That in turn will filter down to the need of more and more covers to be designed. I’d say the future is bright.
What do authors need to know to have the best outcome when working with a professional cover designer?
With a professional designer who has a solid portfolio, trust them. Don’t try to cram the kitchen sink on a cover, give them the details and let them take the ball and run.
What does your creative/workspace look like? What tech/computer do you use?
I use two computers. One Mac for my main work, photoshop and the like. The other is mean PC I use for renders and renders only.
Do you have any “fur babies” who assist in your design process?
My work buddy is Hatch. He keeps me on the straight and narrow.
What do you do when you’re not designing? Any hobbies?
When not designing I’m dad to wonderful twin girls and husband to an awesome lady. I also own a Toyota Tacoma that I can stop modding.