Why Don’t Illustrators (and Cover Artists) Get More Attention? Let’s Discuss.

Posted July 4, 2019 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 62 Comments

Artist vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Recently, I added a field to my review template, and I wondered why I’d waited so long. I use the UBB plugin from Nose Graze (that’s a referral link, by the way), and there’s a field right there for Illustrator. One I’d never added to my template. Why had I been ignoring it?

I think it comes down to the fact that we rarely think about the illustrator unless the book is a picture book (which I don’t typically review on the blog), so I didn’t even really think about adding this to my review template. It wasn’t until I reviewed a middle grade book where I specifically commented on the adorable illustrations that I realized the issue. Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head: Wait, why haven’t I credited this person anywhere?

The phenomenon was not entirely my fault—the book in question was for a blog tour, and when I went through my tour materials I realized the illustrator’s name was nowhere to be found. In fact, I had to do a fair amount of searching to find his name! What’s up with that?

And then there’s the elusive cover artist. Why do I call them elusive? Try to look up the cover artist for your favorite book. Go ahead, I’ll wait… 

Wait, are you coming back? Like, ever? 

The sad truth is that sometimes this information is really hard to find. I recently read a whole series of posts on Novels and Waffles called Going Undercover, where Kat interviews different cover artists. The title of the series is a cute play on words, of course, but it often really does almost feel like you need to be a detective to find the cover artist of a book.

This series inspired me to add another new field to my review template for Cover Artist. These poor souls are so forgotten that I had to create a custom field for them, and I can’t link to them on my blog (I might request this as a feature to be added to UBB). I could have used the Illustrator field, but I wanted to delineate between books that have illustrations throughout and books that only have an illustrated cover.

Every. Single. Cover artist. in Kat’s Going Undercover series mentioned how they wished people would credit them.

How often do we go on and on about the beauty of book covers? How often do we post about our favorite covers (in specific posts about covers or as questions in tags, etc)? How often do we post Bookstagram pictures that specifically highlight the beauty of our books? And yet, when was the last time you credited the cover artist in any of these posts?

If you’re anything like me the answer is … um, never?

I’m vowing to change that, and I challenge you all to do the same! Maybe if we specifically request this information more often (especially for tours and such) it will be easier to come by. If it becomes standard practice to credit illustrators and cover artists, the information will become more readily available. I’m even going to add a link to the cover illustrator’s website or social media below the author’s info whenever I can.

Do you ever credit illustrators and/or cover artists in your posts? Do you think illustrators deserve more love? I want to know!


This post has been linked up to the 2019 Book Blog Discussion Challenge



62 responses to “Why Don’t Illustrators (and Cover Artists) Get More Attention? Let’s Discuss.

  1. I don’t see it much, although I did see a post recently about the possibility of plagiarism for The Poet X. I think Marie Lu thanked her cover artist for The Kingdom of Back. This post is something to think about.

  2. I am pretty sure Jen at Pop Goes the Reader does posts, where she features the artists. I think it’s like with so many things. We know more than one person was involved – the agent, the editor, the designer, etc, but we always talk about the author. There are a lot of amazing artists out there though.

    Sam@wlabb recently posted: #AmReading YA
  3. This is a phenomenal post! Because you are so right, they’re incredibly underacknowledged. And nope, I can’t find who does most cover art either- it’s certainly not on Goodreads or anything. And unless there was a straight up post for the cover reveal… it’s probably near impossible. Which like you said, is unfair for sure. Though it also makes me wonder about all the other people who are involved who go unacknowledged in a book’s publication. Maybe there needs to be a whole page IN the book- sort of like the credits for movies/shows where it lists all those behind the scenes folks who make the thing happen!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee: This Is Me Blog Tour
    • That is certainly true that there are TONS of people who don’t get much attention for their work on a book. But considering our cover-love obsession, illustrators and cover artists seem to get an unfair shake. (I do think you can find the cover artist or illustrator in the actual book if you have a physical copy—not sure if it’s in ARCs or not. Now I’ll have to look).

  4. If the illustrator’s name is on the cover, I include their name in my review of the book. Some authors thank their cover designer in the acknowledgements of books, but I have no idea who designed my favorite covers. I’d have to Google it.

    • Yeah, I’ve noticed that illustrators are rarely mentioned on covers (except for picture books), even when there are a decent number of illustrations in the book. And sometimes the info can be hard to find! I’m going to write another post next week to give hints on how to find the info as easily as possible.

  5. Lisa Welch

    Some good food for thought! I am going to make more of an effort to be aware of this in the future!

  6. I love this post! I read a lot of comics and graphic novels and I always credit the illustrators in my reviews for them, but I never thought about cover artists for novels. Another thing to think about is that with graphic novels and comics, sometimes there are separate people that help to create the artwork. There are artists, pencilers, inkers, and colourists that all contribute to the finished illustrations in comics and grpahic novels.

  7. It is really sad that we forget about this!! Especially when we rave about the book we somehow ascribe the cover to the author when in reality they probably had little say in how it looks. ❤️ And I’ve always wanted that plugin… I firmly believe it would save me so much time. But now I use tags to link to authors and publishers so… BTW how did you find the cover artists?!

  8. Great topic. I know the back of the book (or inside back flap) usually lists the cover designer and illustrator, but I never think to add that information to reviews, even though my dad was a photographer, so I’m pretty sensitive to photo credits in general. It would also be interesting to track this to see if one discovers some cover artists that have done multiple beloved covers! I know as a kid, I could recognize a few illustrators–Quentin Blake and Garth Williams come to mind–and was more likely to pick up an unfamiliar book if I saw their art on the front.

    Wendy @ Falconer's Library recently posted: Fifty Favorites: My Favorite Book Published Each Year of My Life
  9. I agree! Cover artists can set a tone for a book and really affect the way the book is perceived, especially the ones that kind of become iconically associated with the book or franchise. And it’s nice that some cover artists get popular or are in demand- Dan dos Santos comes to mind from the Mercy Thompson (and lots of other) covers.

    I remember reading a blog post a few years ago by Mercy’s husband about when they met and had diner with Michael Whelan, who is huge in the scifi/ fantasy illo field. I’ve always loved Whelan’s stuff and a lot of authors consider it an honor when they get him to do one of their covers. But many great artists of course aren’t as well known. Good for them to see some recognition too!

    Great post!

  10. Kat’s Going Undercover series really got me thinking as well! I’ve started checking who the cover artist is way more frequently now! I think it’s really sad that these artists don’t get the credit they deserve and I want to start working on getting better at crediting them, even though I know it will be difficult!

    What I found particularly awful is that a lot of times even cover reveals don’t properly credit the artists! I definitely think that any changes we can make in the blogging community would be a step forward to making much needed changes! Great post!

    Malka @ Paper Procrastinators recently posted: I Judge Books By Their Covers (And So Do You)
    • Yes, sometimes the cover artist is almost impossible to find! I’ve been going back to add cover artists to my 2019 reading spreadsheet and sometimes I literally can’t find the info, even when I found cover reveals for a book. How sad is that? I did find that most of the time you can find the info for the jacket art on the info page at the beginning of a book, and when I don’t have a physical copy, I can often see that page by going to the Preview on Amazon.

  11. I hardly ever know who created a book cover; I wish that information was more known because they do deserve a lot of credit! I try and include the illustrator when I review book with illustrations, picture book or otherwise, but I’m going to try and make sure I always do that!


    • It’s actually really hard to find the information sometimes. I’ve been trying to go through and add cover artist to my spreadsheet for all the books I read this year, and some books I couldn’t find it at all. It’s usually listed in a physical book at the front, and I did discover a trick of looking at the Preview on Amazon for that front copy if I don’t have a physical book, but it’s not a 100% guarantee you’ll find the info.

  12. I feel so called out lol. I really should do this, especially since I do whole posts about covers. But like you said, I have looked before, and sometimes I can’t even find who the artist is. I don’t actually own a lot of books, so if the artist isn’t credited right in the beginning where the copyright and stuff (since I can use Amazon’s preview feature), then I don’t know where else to look.

    • Lots of us do whole posts on covers without ever crediting a single cover artist (I include myself in that). I’d never really thought about it much in the past, but of course the people who create those beauties would like some credit for their hard work!

  13. Jen

    I completely agree. They’re so unacknowledged. The only one I know off the top of my head, is also because he is the author. Dav Pilkey. That’s it. And my kiddos read books every single day and then we read them books at night. Right now we’re reading to them How To Train a Dragon. I can’t list another illustrator. Ugh. I feel so awful. I’m definitely going to pay attention more, thank you for making me think about this! ♥

    • Just the other day I even read an article from a picture book illustrator who said the same thing happens with them—the authors get a lot more attention (she has illustrated some books and written and illustrated others, and she feels like she gets a lot more attention for the writing, even though she spends less time on it). Seems like with picture books that would NOT be the case!!

  14. Interesting post and such a good point! The artists are so rarely credited anywhere. The only time I’ve seen the cover artist mentioned recently is when there has been a big cover reveal. I honestly don’t think I have ever seen ‘cover artist/illustrator’ on a book review but I will definitely be keeping my eye out now.

  15. As a cover artist. I wish we would get credit more. There are so many out there and any credit would be great. I know most of the authors I work with, credit me in the book but no place else. I tend to always look up the artist if I love the cover of the book, I like to see other designs they have worked on.

    Being a cover artist is hard, I know I have been struggling. I really do believe illustrators deserve a lot of credit. They do such amazing jobs, especially if they are illustrating for an entire book.

    Great post!

  16. I am so bad at this??? AH! I will often mention an illustrator when I read a graphic novel, but perhaps that is simply because they are a named contributor on the cover? I like your suggestion of naming and tagging illustrators and cover artists in reviews and on social media—because one of the biggest reasons I even pick up a book is due to how much I like the cover!

  17. This is such a good post!! Actually, you’re completely right: I always talk about how much I like or dislike covers, but… I almost never go through and try to figure out who the cover artist is? And sometimes, the information just isn’t in a cover reveal or supplied by the publisher, which I think is INCREDIBLY sad. I’m going to try to credit the cover artist in every blog review that I write from now on, as long as I can find the information. <3

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