I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT OUR SPOTLIGHT GUEST TODAY! WE HAVE THE LOVELY AND TALENTED REESE DANTE HERE FOR AN INTERVIEW, AND SHE HAS BROUGHT SOME OF HER AWESOME COVERS SHE HAS DONE FOR US TO SEE: I CAN'T WAIT TO GET STARTED: HERE WE GO!!
First and foremost, THANK YOU for the invite!
Thanks so much for joining us Reese, I can't wait to get to the questions!
1. You are a talented author as well as artist, I am sure they are both a release of tension, but which one do you find is more so?
Thank you! *blush* I’m so glad you enjoy both my writing and design work. I’m blessed and incredibly thankful to be able to do both.
They are each outlets but I think the design allows me to disconnect and just work on a visual (with writing, I tend to dive into both the visual and sensory elements). I often work on a few covers at once so I can easily switch back and forth between them if I get stuck on any one particular item. Also, I can deal with interruptions far more easily when working on a cover.
Unless, of course, there’s a scene that I need to write because it keeps overpowering my train of thought. When that happens, everything stresses me out until I can actually take the time to sit and write it out. Being able to finally write out a scene that has been pushing me is a huge release of tension.
Bec- I can see where the design could be more of an outlet, in writing I guess you are an outlet for the characters, and have to be in tune to how you want them to be expressed! Makes sense, I bet you are glad you have the design outlet!
2. Have you always loved to draw? What gave you the inspiration?
I’ve always drawn in some way, shape or form —whether it’s doodling, sketching or coloring a random piece of paper. I can easily recall several times my brother yelled at me for drawing stuff all over his homework when we were kids. I started pencil portraits in my early teen years. I fell in love with it and worked on analyzing every tiny detail to make my sketches look more realistic.
As far as book covers, without question, I’d say my inspiration came from movie posters. We had a friend who owned a video rental store and he’d give me movie posters of recent releases. I also asked local movie theatres if they’d give me the old posters once they discarded them. I used to have them all over my walls (and ceiling). There wasn’t an inch of wall space visible in my bedroom.
Bec- That is so cool that you could get the posters like that! I bet that was quite the inspiration! We had some good ones back in my day! I had the Maximum Overdrive poster in my room and my little brother refused to come in when he was little! I can only imagine a roomful!
3. You have done a lot of book covers, does one stand out as being your favorite?
That is, seriously, like picking a favorite child. I can’t choose a favorite – I like each for different reasons.
Bec- I get it, every one I have seen is splendid, so I would be hard pressed to choose also, and I didn't draw em! :)
4. Is it harder to work on a book cover for yourself or someone else?
I’ve only written three books, so I can only base my answer on those three covers. Obviously, I’m very familiar with my stories, so it’s a little easier for me to determine what I want for the cover (I can’t say the same for any future books I might write LOL). The covers for The Men of Halfway House series feature one of the characters. I want them to be the central focus. Luckily, I’ve been able to capture my character in the image. To me, that’s important – especially for this series. But, a side note, I have the added advantage of knowing the ‘cover’ side of things. So I typically have the image before I write the character. The first step of my process is to know my characters, and that usually begins with a clear visual. Unfortunately, I can easily delay writing until I find that perfect shot – or at least am able to find an image I can tweak to match the visual in my mind.
When I work on a cover for someone else, it’s a bit tougher for two reasons. First, I’m not familiar with their story. I typically have a series of responses to questions I use as a guide and commonly ask follow-up questions. Secondly, authors typically ‘create’ their character based on a list of traits or are inspired by a celebrity image. So matching another person’s visual can be a little challenging at times. But it’s a challenge I openly welcome. :)
Bec- I am a HUGE fan of your books (for those that don't know Reese is also Jaime Reese!), and those cover fit your guys to a T, but the other books I have read that have your covers, the covers fit those stories also! That is certainly a talent you have for matching up the cover with a story without even knowing the whole story! Fascinating!
5. What is one theme you haven't worked on in a drawing that you really want to?
I’ve worked on all types of covers ranging from contemporary all the way through to historicals, mysteries, paranormals, elves, angels, etc. I haven’t worked on an angel design in quite some time. For some reason, I love working on tattoos and angels. Now, give me a tattooed angel (that’s something I haven’t done) and I think I’d be in heaven. :)
Bec- Ok we really need to find someone to write that book! How cool would that be! WOW! Lol if anyone is reading this that wants to write that book, you know who to come to for the cover! :)
6. What is the most challenging thing about doing cover art?
The greatest challenge is the availability of stock photography. By far, the biggest hurdle is when an M/M author requests a couple (together) on the design. The inventory is very limited and that’s why there are so many of the ‘same’ couples on art. I try to mix it up and alter the images as much as possible, but it is a challenge.
Barring stock inventory, I’d say the biggest design challenge is trying to capture the mood of the story in a cover that stops the reader long enough to read the blurb. With so many releases hitting the cyber-shelves each day, the cover is probably one of the strongest elements to make the book stand out. So it’s important. It should be eye-catching while still representing the story inside.
Bec- I can see where both would be a challenge, but you seem to overcome the challenges really well and give us some amazing cover art! I read A Hunted Man first because I hadn't heard of the series and the cover pic of Cam grabbed me, and his tattoo! :) So you achieve your goal!
7. Last one I promise, what is the one piece of advice you would give up and coming artists that would love to follow in your footsteps?
The ONE piece? Oh my, that’s tough. Define your own style. It’s what will make you different from the other artists.
Bec- That is certainly great advice, it will really help to stand out from the crowd! Thanks so much Reese, this interview was a blast! Come back anytime!
NOW THAT WAS A FUN INTERVIEW TO DO! I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT! NOW FOR A LOOK AT A FEW OF REESE'S COVERS:
A RESTORED MAN; JAIME REESE! I LOVE THIS ONE, IT EVEN HAS COLE'S DIFFERENT COLORED EYES!
THIS BOOK RELEASES THIS MONTH!!
SLAYING ISIDORE'S DRAGONS; CODY KENNEDY, THIS ONE IS SO BEAUTIFUL, A TRUE WORK OF ART!
COMING THIS APRIL!!
THE BOYS OF SUMMER; SARAH MADISON: WOW THIS COVER TRULY TELLS A STORY AND MAKES YOU WANT TO READ THE BOOK FOR SURE!
ALL KINDS OF TIED DOWN; MARY CALMES: THIS ONE SHOWS HOW VERSATILE REESE IS AS AN ARTIST, LOVE THIS ONE!
FULL DISCLOSURE (NICE GUYS #2); KINDLE ALEXANDER: WHO CAN FORGET THIS SEXY COVER? LOVE THIS ONE TOO!
AMAZON BOOK LINK
THIS WAS JUST A SMALL TASTE OF WHAT REESE CAN DO, I HAVE ONE MORE TO SHOW YOU, YOU NO DOUBT HAVE SEEN IT, BUT I HAVE TO INCLUDE IT BECAUSE I LOVE IT SO MUCH: THIS IS HER PROFILE PIC ON FACEBOOK:
MAN I LOVE THIS ONE! THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR THIS SPOTLIGHT PEOPLE! NEXT TIME YOU SEE AN AWESOME BOOK COVER CHANCES ARE IT CAME FROM REESE DANTE! I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT, WE HAD A BLAST DOING THIS POST!