Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with Cover Artist Rebecca K Sterling

Today I'm interviewing cover artist Rebecca K. Sterling about how she became a freelance book cover artist.  In a few days, she'll tell us her process for making covers, and give some samples so you can see. 

Kate: Good morning, Rebecca. Thanks for joining us.

Rebecca (yawning): My pleasure. Shame it had to be so early though. We artsy-fartsy types generally like to sleep late.

Kate: Yeah, me, too, but it couldn't be helped.  Anyway, so tell us, how did you get started in the cover art business?

Rebecca: It was something I'd wanted to do for quite a while, but really didn't know how to get started. I  was suffering from the common Catch 22 of no experience/no job offer, so I just pouted for a while and began making covers for some of your own works in progress... by the way... where are all those books?

Kate: We're not here to talk about me. What happened after that?  Did you build a portfolio and go banging on doors with it?  Emailing art directors?  Offering illicit services if they'd hire you?

Rebecca (looks quickly from side to side): Where did you hear that?  It's not true! 
Actually, I still didn't do anything with it because I was too intimidated by all the great cover artists out there.  I figured I didn't stand a chance, so I just kept making them for fun and practice.  Then one day I saw that Sable Grey from Cobblestone Press was hosting a cover art workshop for the publisher's anniversary, and from that workshop, they were going to choose one intern to work with them for a while.  Sort of like The Apprentice, but the boss had better hair.

Kate: So, what happened next?  Did a lot of people show up?

Rebecca: Oh, yeah.  At first.  But soon it was down to just a few die hards, and the competition got really - and I mean REALLY - stiff.  I mean, I was up against PJ Friel and Kendra Egert, for crying out loud!  Who did I think I was?  And at the end, I believe we were the last three.

Kate: What happened next?

Rebecca: Well, I knew there was no way in Hades' undershorts that I was going to win against them, but I was still happy just to have participated to the end.  I spent three long days working around the clock churning out theme after theme that Sable threw at us.  On the final day, I just collapsed, satisfied that I had at least gotten valuable experience.  And a day or two later, I received an email saying I'd been chosen.  I was completely flabbergasted.

Kate: I would imagine so.  I've seen PJ and Kendra, and frankly, my dear - they're much better than you are.

Rebecca: Hey! A little support here, if you don't mind!  This is MY interview after all.  But yeah, they're awesome, so in the end, Sable decided to take on all of us.  I was really glad.  And now, we've all passed from the internship phase to being full-fledged artists with Cobblestone Press, and I just love it.

Kate: That's great when someone gets to do the work they love - I'm happy for you! I'd also like to hear how you come up with the ideas, but we've run out of space here.  Perhaps another day?

Rebecca: Sure, if you bring bagels next time.


  1. Kate, what a cool story! And I'm sure you're as good or better than the other two. The next time I see a Cobblestone cover, I'll wonder if you did it. :)

  2. Thanks, Edie. If you click on any of the books at Cobblestone, it will usually tell you who the cover artist was in a line under the image & blurb. Mine show up as Rebecca Sterling, or Rebecca K. Sterling.

  3. What? No, no, I'm not calling the folks with the butterfly nets. What made you think that? :)

  4. Charles, they've been chasing me my whole life - I'm just too slippery for them. 8)

  5. Um, Charles... I think you'd better make that call after all. I just had to update the whole interview because I got the names of the two mixed up. :D


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