Shelf Candy is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Five Alarm Books. This meme gives us an opportunity to highlight a cover we love and the artist who created it. Please click the button above to find out how to participate and to see what other covers are being discussed this week.
This week’s Shelf Candy is another collection of beautiful work – cover art from the Sirantha Jax series. These covers are just simply gorgeous.
WHY I LOVE THESE COVERS:
I admit I’ve only read the first two in the series (I know, I know I have to catch up before the sixth and final book is released), but I think they capture the character of Sirantha Jax. She is vulnerable and complex and has been through a lot, but she brings herself through it and I think the cover art captures the strength of her spirit perfectly. I also appreciate that while she looks sexy, she is not hypersexualized. The emphasis is on her strength and not her ass.
The artist responsible for this work is Scott M. Fischer. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Scott has created cover art for adult, middle grade, and children’s fiction. On top of that, Scott is also an author having written and illustrated his first children’s book, Twinkle, in 2007. And as a conceptual designer, Scott has worked on projects for Microsoft, Sony, and Disney.
Without further ado….Scott M. Fischer!
SWR: Can you describe the moment you realized you wanted to make art your life and profession?
From birth! Actually when I discovered Dungeons & Dragons in 4th grade. We had an assignment about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I wrote, “I want to make the art for Dungeons and Dragons” No kidding. When, as an adult I illustrated the Beholder for the Monster Manual, my inner 4th grader was pretty stoked.
SWR: How did you get involved with creating cover art?
I was doing gaming art for card games (Magic the Gathering) and D&D. but I really wanted to break into the larger publishing world, so I started formatting all my gaming art in novel cover proportions (even though most of the art would be cropped out on a tiny card) but I used those in my portfolio and started submitting samples to art directors.
SWR: What is your process? Once you get a brief for the creation of a cover, what is the next step?
Lots of thumbnail sketches. Chicken scratch really only decipherable by me. Then I scan one of those and tighten up the sketch, which I submit to the art director. Once I get approval, there are a million ways to skin a cat, often a fusion of traditional and digital media. Photoshop being my primary workhorse.
SWR: How did you get involved with the Sirantha Jax series?
Honestly I am not sure how they picked me, but I am glad they did! My guess is they saw my work, maybe in the Spectrum Fantastic Art annual. But I got the call and was psyched to do it.
SWR: Had you read the manuscript prior to creating the art, and, if not, what kind of direction did you get from the art department on the first cover?
I read the MS for the first novel, and totally fell in love with the character. So I think I came up with that concept. For the remainder of the series, Lesley Worrell, my fantastic Art Director, had pretty specific ideas for the covers, so I would read the descriptions, and often flip through the MS as well.
SWR: How has Sirantha’s cover art changed over the series? Does it get harder or easier?
Each one has its unique challenges. On top of that I have been doing them so long that my art has evolved as well. But in the end, Sirantha is such a strong character, that they really were all a pleasure to work on. And I’ve often heard from the Author, Ann Aguirre, after I finish a cover and she has been amazingly supportive of the work. Such a pleasure for an illustrator to get that kind of positive feedback from the Author. After all we are trying to illustrate a world we can’t see inside their head! So to get even close is a nice feeling.
SWR: Where do you find your inspiration?
EVERYWHERE! That is a pretty generic answer but it is true. I am a tinkerer by nature. For instance, I have a pile of old rusty stuff that I turn into robots, and I love spending hours figuring out how the pieces from various sources can fit together into a cool looking robot. Really I do the same thing with my art. Trying to fit various things together in a pleasing way.
SWR: I read that you are a trained musician. How does music inform your artwork?
I think the arts are all related. My music is put together much the same way as my rusty robots, and paintings. A unique arrangement of bits assembled to strike an emotional cord with the viewer.
SWR: You’re also a children’s book writer. How does it feel to create a story in words as well as images?
There is nothing like it. The marriage of words and visuals is the ultimate to me. And when I am working on the children’s books or chapter books, and a burst out laughing in an empty studio about what I am working on… well it is a great day at work!
SWR: What, if any, are covers you consider iconic or influential?
Robert McGinnis has to be one of my all time favorites. His blending of design and painting chops in unrivaled to this day.
SWR: Finally, if you were given the opportunity to create the cover for any book ever published, what would that book be and why?
A Wrinkle in Time. Because the book is that great, and trippy. And what a great chance to get a bit cerebral in the art.
And, now, for fun…Scott was game enough to take the Pivot quiz and here are his answers:
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
What turns you off?
Deadlines, but they are needed!
What is your favorite curse word?
I’d say the F-bomb. When my computer crashes and I lose hours of work on a piece of art because I forgot to save, no other word will do.
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of the coffee pot.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The buzz of a mosquito in my ear.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Kids TV show host!
What profession would you not like to do?
The guy who scrapes the gum off the sidewalk. And where does all that gum come from anyway? I find it hard to believe there are that many people out there spitting out their gum where people walk.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Go back you are not done yet.
Scott has a brand new blog where he talks art and technique.
You can also find him at his official website and Twitter.
You can learn more about the Sirantha Jax series at the website of the author,
the fabulous Anne Aguirre.
And a shout out to SpazP for inspiring this post and for reminding me of how truly great these covers are!