Adrian Valencia is the man behind some of the most gorgeous cover illustrations. Kavita Jaswal asks him about how he got into the industry.
How did you get your start?
Twelve years ago I was very new in London and when I decided I wanted to test myself as an illustrator, I didn’t know where to start. I spent two months building my portfolio and once it was ready I took notes of art directors’ contacts from the magazines I wanted to work with. My English wasn’t great and on top of that I was clueless about the industry but in a way I guess I had nothing to lose. I had a business card and a few printed pages with my illustrations to be remembered. No website, just a printed portfolio. I called every single publication in London and I was lucky that most of them agreed to meet me. Since then I have been lucky enough to never stop working.
What are some titles of covers you have illustrated?
I heart series – Lindsey Kelk; All the Single Ladies – Jane Costello; Daughters, Separate Beds – Elizabeth Buchan; all the covers for Nicky Pellegrino; Monday to Friday Man; Ten Years On – Alice Peterson; The Spellman series – Lisa Lutz; Summer Loving, Summer Nights – Allie Spencer; The Perfect Location by Kate Forster; among others.
How did you get into illustrating?
I drew from a very young age, so illustration has always been there. I always wanted to work with book covers. Authors spend so much time writing but then it is really important that the book on the shelf gets the readers’ attention. Every new book cover is a lovely challenge.
Have you always been into art/design?
Yes. I was trained as a graphic designer.
When did you realise this is what you wanted to do?
As soon as I arrived in London. Illustration was everywhere and I thought I want to do that instead of graphic design.
How did you get your first cover?
Through my agent in London. I did lots of book cover mock-ups in order to build up my portfolio.
How does the cover process work?
It really depends on the designer and the publisher. Some designers have a very clear idea of what they want and others are more open to suggestions. Sometimes a designer asks for the same feeling as some existing illustrations that I have in my portfolio but we always produce a new illustration for a book cover in the end.
Kavita Jaswal lives in Naperville, IL. A marketing consultant by day and Sassy Chick at night, follow Sassy Chick’s blog at: sassychick1.blogspot.com.