During my career as a professional artist, most of my paintings have been commissioned by UK Publishing Houses for the covers of paperback novels. This means, first, l need to read the book. It is then down to me to come up with an image that will both reflect the novel's content, as well as look eye-catching on a bookshelf.
You may have heard the saying "Never judge a book by its cover". I've always been unsure why some people say this? In my opinion, an eye-catching book cover is crucial in helping with sales of a book. It's not as though we can stand in a shop all day and read a whole book before choosing to buy it or not. So yes, we should judge a book by its cover... or at least be guided by it.
First, I always read the book, doodling plenty of loose thumbnail sketches; playing around with ideas and colour until I end up with a sketch that I feel best reflects the book's content. I then send my "rough" to the art director of the Publishing House. Once approved, the fun can begin. I'm then free to start on the painting. It may take me a day or two using a soft pencil to map out my intended composition onto artboard, yet once this is done I can then begin with the colouring-in part.
I nearly always use acrylic paints, with patiently layered thin glazes of acrylic ink for the skies, done with my trusted Iwata airbrush. Paintings can take up to three weeks to paint, depending on their complexity, but it is always satisfying to reach the 'finishing touches" stage (or Flynnishing touches as my friends call it).
Over the years, I have tended not to sell my book-jacket "original" paintings. To be honest, I didn't like to part with them, especially as many of the paintings were commissioned for some of the grand masters of Science Fiction; including Robert Heinlein and Sir Arthur C Clarke, but I guess I don't mind too much if they are genuine fans of the author, and also my art.
Professionally at the moment, most of my time is taken up with my MoonAliens venture. However, this summer I will be making time to paint some new fantasy landscapes especially for this website.