Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hmmm...That Looks Familiar!

Ever look at a book cover and think...haven't I seen that picture somewhere before?

Well, you probably have.

Considering all the artwork out there in the world, it really seems sloppy to reuse the same images over and over---and in the case of Emma Hamilton--over and over and over again.

Even if all the books shown are about Emma Hamilton, more than one image of her does exist. Be creative, for heaven's sake!

The worst offender shown, I think, has got to be HarperCollins. In the very same year--2006--they used the exact same girl on John Crowley's Little, Big and Pearl Luke's Madam Zee. Did the HarperCollins art directors never compare notes? Apparently not. The same Chickie also appeared on two other covers that year. She's cute, but she ain't that cute.

And this is not the first time that Sieur Crowley has gotten shafted with over-exposed cover art. The painting used used on the hardback of Lord Byron's Novel--Wanderer above a Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich--can also be seen on at least two other books. Of course I can't remember the names of the other books, but trust me on this one. In this case, at least the publisher came to its senses; the cover was redone when the book went into paperback.

Since people really do often shop via dust jacket, it must be infuriating to have your book so closely resemble someone else's. Yet another sling and arrow that the poor writer is subject to, with no control.

I'm guessing that all the various cover designers are getting their images out of the same image library; still, one would think that library would be big enough not to stifle creativity. Perhaps not. Or maybe great minds think alike.


Paul Witcover said...

One of those books was The Birth of the Modern, a nonfiction tome for which, unlike the Crowley, the painting was a sensible cover choice.

The painting that appears to striking effect on the cover of Liz Hand's Mortal Love has also since appeared on at least one other novel.

Ysabeau Wilce said...

Ah yes, that was the book I was thinking of The Birth of the Modern. I knew it was something ponderous and historical. And you are right about Liz's cover, which features Rossetti's La Ghiralanda. Interestingly enough, the dust jacket gives credit for cover painting to some guy I've never heard of but who is definitely NOT Dante Gabriel Rossetti...A very unkind cut, tho' Rossetti's style speaks for itself and is unmistakable.