Dave Caplan- Beautiful Creatures cover artist
The Caster Girls are thrilled to have Dave Caplan here today. We had the pleasure of interviewing him about the AMAZING cover that is “Beautiful Creatures” and below is a glimpse into his craft and the cover.
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is by far one of this year’s favorite covers among teens. It is not only striking, but beautiful and haunting. We had the rare opportunity to interview the mastermind behind the brilliant BEAUTIFUL CREATURES cover and I, Vania, as an artist myself had the giddy pleasure of getting a glimpse into Dave Caplan’s design and creative process as well as Si Scott’s lettering.
Dave, We heard from Kami and Margie that you nailed the cover design for BEAUTIFUL CREATURES on your first try… How did you come up with the concept for this cover?
I actually quietly struggled with the concept in my head for many weeks after I finished reading the manuscript. I really connected with the story, and I especially fell in love with the beautiful Southern Gothic imagery. My greatest challenge, as I saw it, was to capture this atmosphere in a cool and unique way. I wanted to distinguish this cover visually from the many covers that are already out there. I thought instead of trying to lure readers by featuring a picture of Ethan or Lena, it might be more interesting to feature the Southern Gothic setting itself – which is pretty much its own character in the book.
One day while researching, I came across an amazing photograph by Robert Clarke that captured a row of old Live Oak trees covered in Spanish moss. I instantly fell in love with this image, and thought that pairing this with an equally expressive and moody type treatment could be really arresting. I ended up manipulating the original photograph (which is a full color daytime shot) so that it looked more like a spooky nighttime scene.
Si Scott’s lettering is incredibly unique and it stands out unlike any other title treatment. How did that partnership come about?
I’ve always been an admirer of Si Scott’s lettering. His work is so unique and expressive, and I just knew he’d be the perfect person to create a type treatment that would complement the image of the trees and tangled branches. Si is a genius, and to be honest, I gave him very little direction. I had complete faith that he would come up with something gorgeous. And he nailed it on the first try.
What a great partnership! You and Si Scott are GENIUSES!
What inspired the cover design for BEAUTIFUL CREATURES?
I’ve spent a good amount of time in South Carolina, and I immediately connected with the setting of Gatlin. The landscape and architecture in that area is incredibly unique, and once you’ve experienced it first hand, it never quite leaves you. I remember being struck by how incredibly eerie and architectural the trees can be – especially when bearded with Spanish moss. They almost take on a human quality. When I came across Robert Clarke’s photograph of the Live Oak trees, I was immediately transported there. I felt that this image combined with Si Scott’s lettering would create a beautiful and evocative cover image.
It really is a striking cover and what a great blend of mood, landscape, and attention grabbing letttering!
How did you choose purple? Everyone loves it!
I could say that purple is like the Yin and Yang of colors – the perfect love child of hot magenta and cool cyan. I could say this same interplay parallels Lena and Ethan’s connection to each other. But the truth is I thought purple type looked cool against the black background. It’s also one of my favorite colors!
Purple is definitely a beautiful and striking color. I wonder what the color will be for Book Two?!
As designer, when you have a series like BEAUTIFUL CREATURES to work on, do you think ahead to potential cover ideas since the look will have to be cohesive, or do you wait until you get the next book in the series before designing?
Yes, it’s absolutely important to consider how the design for the first book will continue across a series. In this case, I made sure that my design was flexible enough so that I could easily swap in different elements, yet maintain the same “branded” look.
We cannot wait to see Book Two’s cover! We are absolutely drooling with anticipation!
Can you give us a brief description of the process of a book cover from start to finish?
I always start by reading the manuscript – sometimes twice. As I make my way through the story, I jot down bits of imagery or themes that stand out to me. I’ll then usually put it down for a week or two and allow everything to slowly form in my mind. During that time, I write down fragments of cover ideas that come to me spontaneously, or are inspired by an image I’ve come across either online, in a magazine, or on the street. (I find subway ads to be a great source of inspiration!) Once I’ve solidified the concept in my mind, it’s a matter of figuring out how to bring it to life. For example, I may look for an existing stock photograph or I may I hire an illustrator or photographer to create the artwork from scratch.
It’s great to see inspiration spring from such diverse amount of sources. Artists, take note!
Thanks so much, Dave, for taking the time and allowing me (and the readers) a glimpse into your process and craft! It’s been a pleasure !
I know we’ve said this over and over, but we can’t wait to see what Book TWO brings, and what the cover will look like. Dave Caplan + Si Scott= GENIUS!