When I’m out to buy a new book to keep myself occupied and I have no idea what’s awesome, recommended or will be a good worth while read, I do the faux pas thing and nab a book purchase based on its cover. Ah the old adage ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ comes out ringing loud and true. No you can’t exactly make that judgement call, but what I can do is enjoy the cover of a book then read the nice summary on the back and make a choice.
There’s a very good reason why publishing companies go to good lengths to make a book cover visually appealing. Primarily you’re enticed to have your eye caught on the book for purchasing prospects. Secondary is that it needs to help convey what the story is about (most of the time). And finally you’re suppose to have something pretty to look at and less utilitarian and generic sitting on your shelf.
Book cover art is serious business. This is something that gets printed tens of thousands if not a million times. A.J. (Aimie-Jane) Hateley is an artist who is serious about making book cover art. And she’s doing a damn fine job at it.
What really caught my attention to her work was her combination of artistic skill, love of video games and her clear enjoyment of making book cover art. She’s working through a project entitled ’30 Days of Videogames’ which is basically her creating minimalistic book covers for book which have some representation to famous videogames over the years (such as Half-Life, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Katamari)
Many of them are a bit tongue in cheek when referencing their specific games, while others tend to stand out in the obvious. All of them are good homage to the legendary games they’re supposed to represent. And to sweeten the deal, some covers are available for purchase as cards, prints and shirts.
Videogame book covers aside, Hateley has done alternate covers for George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. Admittedly they are very abstract and a little bizarre from what you would expect to be the cover for Animal Farm but over all I would call the project a great exploration to expand a classic.
Moving beyond book cover design, like all artists, A.J. Hateley has other artistic pursuits but I find them to be less strong as her latter work has been. Primarily it seems to be highly repetitious and doesn’t exactly give me the impression she’s got the capacity to expand or evolve her work. This is the same for the book covers, yes they all take on a different game, but I feel there’s a lot of cookie cutter work design happening between them beyond the usual need to unify them via similar or common elements.
And on one final note, her tumblr. site was one of the ones responsible for me not entirely getting ripped shit pissed at the fail community known as tumblr. She’s got a good theme and layout going and actually knows how to use it better than a large majority of tumblr. users. However, as a gallery tool, tumblr. does not work well for presentation, which makes me a sad panda. Her older works can be found at her abandoned Deviantart Website.
Also if you’re really interested in owning some of her art, her print shop is open for business and prices are reasonable.