Today Slick is interviewing Cover Artist, Scott Carpenter
Slick’s note: I can’t begin to tell you the thrill I got when Scott Carpenter agreed to do this interview with me. It was his work that drew me to reading erotic romances and for that I’m eternally grateful. On top of that, he’s always been so nice when I’ve contacted him about a cover or his writing. I love his sense of humor and his open nature. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed getting to do it. Take a look at the covers of his I’ve picked out as some of my favorites in his very large body of work. He really is an amazing artist!
Slick: Scott, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be interviewing you today. I’ve admired your covers for a long time; in fact I kind of pride myself on being able to pick your covers out just by sight. I’m right about 90 percent of the time. So, I’m truly honored that you agreed to talk with me about your craft. How long have you been doing cover art? Was it a career choice or just something you happened upon?
Scott: I have been doing cover art for almost 10 years. I started at Ellora’s Cave and have moved around to a lot of places and really love it. I work in the printing field and studied Graphic Design in college. Damn, that’s a long time ago. We used to etch drawings in our cave when the dinosaurs slept.
Slick: What do you like best about this type of work? What would you change about it if you could?
Scott: For me it’s interacting with authors. If I can help make them feel the cover reflects their story, then I am happy. The process is time consuming at times because of all the back and forth sometimes with editors, authors, marketing. I like being smooth and steady. Art is art and objective. Can’t change that.
Slick: You should be happy a lot then because your covers always seem to “fit” the story. I know you’ve work with Samhain publishing quite a bit, but you’ve recently started a company of your own P and N Graphics. Can you tell us about your new company and what services you offer?
Scott: Was Art Director at Samhain for 6 years and it was wonderful. The new company is the brainchild of Sahara Kelly and myself. I always said it would be great to offer cover art. Promo art, video, and all other services to authors at a fair price and help if I can. After being around this long I know a lot of authors and know how hard it can be to get things done. I offer what I know and get them better pricing and hook them up with other people for things I don’t do like editing and formatting.
Slick: I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve bought more than one book because of the cover. In fact, I’ve “discovered” quite a few authors because of covers you’ve done. This particular cover caught my eye and made me by this book. As a cover artist, do you try and think like a buyer? Do you ask the question, if I was looking to buy a book would this cover catch my eye?
Scott: I look at the cover as a picture from the story. I’ll admit I tend to like pushing the limits a little. Gotten slapped on the hand quite a few times. I really like images that make you pause. Like this one. It’s an exclusive image from a friend of mine in Russia. But I saw it and read Karen’s cover request and thought, “Now this is a hot book and deserves a hot cover.” My main focus is and has been to make the author happy. Happy authors promote books.
Slick: Like I said, you did good because that particular cover sold that book to me. I know you’ve done the covers for Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series and those are some of my favorites from your body of work. My absolute favorite is the one from Kissin’ Tell. There is a spontaneous feeling to this one that just appeals to me. Are you normally present when these covers are photographed and if so, do you work with the photographer to get the shot you are looking for?
Scott: Photography has always intrigued me. I see others do it and am envious. I just got my own camera so watch out. For Lorelei we wanted exclusive images. So I organized the photo shoots. I am always present and direct them. The photographers know all the secrets and the things I like. So I walk around after setting up the shot and watch the models. Some are phenomenal and don’t need told a lot except what pose. But I love candid and spontaneous captures.
Slick: Do you prefer to work with stock photos or live photo shoots when doing covers?
Scott: Stock photos are part of the industry. Can’t get away from it. But personally I like having my own images. I work with photographers all over the world. They trust me and know I won’t use their art for anything bad. For P and N Graphics we are going to start offering exclusive images. Nobody else will have them. Once the author says “that one” it’s gone.
Slick: I love that you are doing that. I’ll admit I get confused when I see the same image on a book and I think I’ve read it but I haven’t…it’s a different book with the same couple or person on it. When you begin work on a cover, do you ask the author about their story or do they fill out a general form about the physical traits of their characters? (I’m really curious about this because sometimes I read a book and the cover just doesn’t “match” the story, none of yours that I can recall!)
Scott: Publishers have Cover Art forms they fill out and it has descriptions of the characters and scenes. We have one for P and N for our clients. I like talking with an author because even if things aren’t exact to what they want the trust is there that it represents things and will draw a reader’s eye.
Slick: What else would you like our readers to know about you?
Scott: I write as well. Lol, being an author does help in doing art. I understand the frustrations authors have when they get a cover that doesn’t make them smile and say “That’s my book”. As an artist I love making authors and readers happy. Like someone to say, “Yes, I like this art and Scott did it.” When I deal with people I try to help as much as I can and don’t charge crazy money for things because as an author the initial costs are what hurts.
Slick: Well Scott, I say that all the time when I see your covers. Like I said, it’s very easy for me to spot your work it just stands out and screams at me “Scott Carpenter did this cover.” You do write and I enjoy your work because you bring a different perspective to light and your humor is always present something I very much enjoy. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today. It has truly been an honor to pick your brain about your art and learn more about you. Thank you so much!
Scott: No problem. Thanks for asking me to answer your questions. Now where are the Doritos?
Slick: I ate them…sorry, you’ll have to buy more!