I know I spoiled this during last week’s spotlight post, but today’s Cover Geek (#16) is an interview with illustrator Lisa Perrin, who has helped create multiple covers for notable young adult novels.
I personally was first introduced to her work a year or two ago on the cover of Wink Poppy Midnight, by April Genevieve Tucholke, and more recently Wicked Like a Wildfire and Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic, and The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.
Ever since then, I’ve loved seeing more of her work pop up in YA novels, especially in those really atmospheric stories that make you feel like it’s a grimmer fairytale.
I don’t want to ramble too long (and I can ramble), so without further ado, here’s the interview!
1. What inspired you to delve into the field of illustration? Did you know this was going to be your career path since you were a child?
I have always loved pictures and story telling. Perusing beautifully illustrated children’s books, watching animated films, or looking at theater designs all inspired me to draw. I can’t say I knew that it would happen, but I always hoped it would! I actually considered many different careers before going back to school to get my Master’s in Illustration. I was very nearly a librarian or english teacher!
2. The covers you made for the Hibiscus Daughters duology and Wink Poppy Midnight are absolutely gorgeous! What were your inspiration for those covers, whether it’s from the book or other sources?
Thank you! I worked closely with the designer, Heather Daughterty at Harper Collins. She had seen my work for other book covers and felt I could capture the right mood for this series. She gave me a synopsis of the story and explained that they were looking for something lush, magical, and romantic, but with hints of something sinister too. I have always been inspired by nature and flowers, so I submitted several sketches reflecting that. She chose one and we went from there.
3. How has your experience been working with Penguin and Harper Collins?
I have been very lucky to have had lovely experiences with publishing clients. I get to work closely with one designer or art director and they convey my work with their team. There is a lot of emailing back and forth! It is always a tad challenging when you are creating art not for yourself, but for a client. There are a lot of people who need to see it and approve it! And you want them to be happy with the art, but you also need for yourself to be happy with it. That being said, its great working with a large publishing house because the book gets a lot of visibility in the real world.
4. What is it like seeing your art on book covers in stores? I know you mentioned on your Instagram how you loved looking at book covers in stores as a kid.
It continues to blow my mind! It seems surreal when I walk into Barnes & Noble and see artwork that I made. I feel very humbled and grateful. I love seeing people picking up and reading the book. It’s really magical!
5. What advice do you have for people who want to become more dedicated to art? I know a lot of people feel by modern societal standards that push people towards STEM fields, what are good ways of combatting this?
I think if making art or looking at art makes you happy that you should absolutely seek it out! It can be in small ways, like visiting galleries, or drawing just for yourself, or in more overt ways, like making a blog where you post your work and seeking out creative opportunities. I have a day job at a greeting card company. (I am lucky to have a creative 9-5!) but by nights and weekends I pursue personal freelance illustration work. It can be hectic at times, but its worth it to me because its something I love doing. That being said, I think STEM is great! But it wasn’t right for me, I just don’t have that kind of brain! I considered pursuing other careers, but I knew if I didn’t try for my dream, that I would always regret it. Listen to your gut! Follow your dreams! You can follow your dreams and have a day job! There is no right way to be an artist or creative person. You can really carve your own path.
More About Lisa
Hello! Lisa Perrin is an award-winning illustrator, designer, collaborator, entrepreneur, educator, and general mover & shaker. Her work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, 3X3 Magazine, and Print Magazine.
Her clients include: Anthropologie, Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Macmillan, Scholastic, The Saturday Evening Post, Buzzfeed.com, Nobrow, Scout Books, and Kripsy Kreme.
After earning her MFA in Illustration Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013, Perrin moved to Cleveland, OH where she now practically lives in Lake Erie, works as an Illustrator for American Greetings card company, and makes pictures.
She can often be found obsessively art making with her beloved rabbit companion, Blanche DuBun. At its heart her work explores the old world in a new way, combining humor with darkness, and beauty with strangeness.
She is represented by Frank Sturges, firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal inquiries at email@example.com
You can find out more about Lisa Perrin & her illustration at any of her social links!