Couldn’t help but notice…

I feel really old school. I kind of like the painted/drawn covers, not the photoshopped ones with real people in them. I do appreciate covers depicting an artist’s impression of how a certain scene in the book might look like. A good cover for me includes delightful little details showing that the artist did read the book – like Kinuko Y. Craft, whose art graces the covers of many of Patricia A. McKillip’s novels, for example. Her covers are lovely and they are beautiful conversation pieces about the story itself yet don’t reveal anything too definite that could ruin a reading experience. I feel like most of the covers today are pretty but ultimately, forgettable. Granted, it’s really the story we want, the cover should just grab our attention initially. In fact, it’s good that the cover is forgettable, isn’t it? Because we don’t want the cover stuff to influence our reading of the story too much… but personally, I’m getting to the point where all the books look the same and then follows the thinking that all the storylines must therefore be the same, too (which is not necessarily untrue).

I found these book covers (most of them relatively recently published) as I was browsing around and blog-hopping for future reads. Do these covers attract you? If so, which cover category would attract you most?


Limp girls lying on the ground 


Hooded men with shadowed faces


The Staring Eye


Hair Takes Centre Stage




  1. ever since Tamora Pierce’s Daughter of the Lioness Duet was released, I’ve been noticing how much more i like the painted covers. i actually paid double the price to buy the Australian covers, because i felt like they matched the rest of my Tortall books better.
    and wow, i knew there were a lot of similarity in the themes of book covers these days, but i didn’t realize how much!

  2. I like drawn covers better too, and none of the categories here listed really thrills me. It’s much more fun when the cover artist comes up with a really cool way to represent the ideas of the book that’s not necessarily straightforwardly representational.

  3. Me too. I love the painted covers better, than the generic Photoshopped ones. Just think of all the real artistic talent being wasted.

  4. I agree with you 100%. I really think that a painting or drawing is able to capture a scene so much better, and even more the kind of ‘magic’ in a book, too. I think it sparks the imagination a lot more, or at least inspires more wonder/enthusiasm. I think the PhotoShopped pictures just make the book look cheap and unoriginal and frankly, I think I’d be embarrassed to be caught with some of these covers. I just feel like with a good book, the author puts so much work into the writing—so the cover ought to reflect that.

    I’m amazed at just how similar all the covers you posted are! You’re right…they’re totally forgettable! And almost completely interchangeable.

  5. Lovkyne – I knew I was getting certain books confused but I wasn’t so sure why….also, just looking at other photos other readers have put of what’s in their mailbox, one can’t help but notice how sometimes the covers are so similar! Also, I always feel so sad when the publishers change the cover of a book from a nice, drawn one to a generic photoshopped one. I was so happy I got most of my Shannon Hale books with the pencil crayon covers (don’t know if that’s what they’re actually drawn with), but they’re so much prettier/creative than the ones with the beautiful people just standing there, looking noble and knowing.

    Jenny – These covers aren’t even really straightforwardly representational. They’re just kinda of the same stuff with oh, maybe a slightly different background, or maybe the girl has different colored hair etc. But, as a reader that usually judges a book by its cover, I would probably glance right past it because I’d think that I’d already read the synopsis for that one. It happened to me so many times (I’m getting old), it was getting a little pathetic. 😛

    Skye – Agreed! I’m wondering if maybe it is just too costly to hire an artist like Kinuko Y. Craft to do your covers for you? Maybe the photoshopped ones are much cheaper but still pretty effective so they’ve opted for that instead. That makes me a little sad…

    Sissy – It is a little pet peeve of mine to have the cover reveal how the main character looks like in every detail, so photoshopped pictures of a glamorous hero/ine already makes me roll my eyes a little. I don’t mind so much the random objects. But, now that I think about it more, covers influence my reading of a book a whole lot, because I tend to think that the author had a choice in picking the cover design (which it hardly ever true but I can’t help but think this), and then extrapolate subconsciously from there. So, if there was a cheap/forgettable cover, even if I do read the story, it would probably be with great skepticism.

  6. Charlotte – Agreed! Too many hoods makes me categorize all these characters as mysterious, loner-type guys, likely antiheroes who had to deal with the darker powers but must reform – those type of characters. They always wear hoods and skulk about miserably, which normally I wouldn’t mind, but…yes, too “hoody”!

  7. I like painted covers, too, but only if they’re more “adult” looking (like Jason Chan’s art, for instance). Sometimes YA books with painted covers read as “childish”/cartoon-y to me, which makes me think they’re really MG/kids books, which makes me not want to read them as badly as I maybe would have wanted to read them if they had different covers. Also some painted covers are really fugly, which completely turns me off a book. (Same with some photoshopped covers, to be fair.)

    Anyway, I hate the butterfly thing. Can we stop doing butterflies now, please?

  8. Anastasia – yes, no more butterflies unless they truly are crucial to the plot in some way. Also, I do love painted, textured covers but yes, there are some pretty terrible ones. Even so, I still prefer a terrible hand-drawn cover than a quick-fix ugly photoshopped one.

  9. […] are downright awful. Some of them make for good humor…and some of them are cheap, repetitious PhotoShop manips. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite cover artist? Does the cover really not matter to […]

  10. […] I guess there’s an ugly side to everything, and of course I think a lot of covers are downright awful. Some of them make for good humor…and some of them are cheap, repetitious PhotoShop manips. […]

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