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.