Interview with Artist Nathalia Suellen


We all know that you can’t judge a book by its cover but I’m not sure it’s possible to avoid doing just that when you see a cover that is breathtaking. I know that I’ve taken covers for granted even though I fall deeply in love with them. I wanted to change that and find out who was behind them and a little about the industry. Most importantly I wanted to learn about the artists and their inspirations and artwork aside from what they do for the covers.

Nathalia Self Portrait

Nathalia Self Portrait

What better place to start than with Nathalia Suellen the artist behind Splintered and Unhinged.

After visiting her website I was completely amazed with her talent and creativity. I knew that I had to interview her and honor her work on my blog.

Thank you Nathalia for agreeing to take the time to answer my questions.

Concerning Cover Art:
What book series have you produced cover art for?
Oh there are so many series, I don’t think I could say all of them but to name a few:  Otherworld Assassin by Gena Showalter ,  The Last Year by Trisha Leigh , The Grisha Trilogy (uk) by Leigh Bardugo, Splintered by A.G. Howard among others.

As for the process: what knowledge do you have prior of the storyline? Do you get to read the book, talk to the author or are you given requirements for elements that have to be included?
I don’t read all the books I work for, that would be really exhausting for me.  That was not different with Splintered, I had no contact with the book story and not even with the author.  I knew roughly about the story through the art director and of course I had some requirements to comply but nothing too specific. I remember of starting the first sketches thinking in three essential things: bugs, strangeness and eye-catching colors.

Many of you don’t know, but the very first Splintered sketch was a full body Alice with gothic clothes, striped socks, windy hair and a scenery full of bones, mirrors and bugs around (the model was insanely beautiful too). We spent a month or so in this first idea but things got too nice and serious that they decided to move the whole idea for a close up Alice, which I think now was one of the most important things for achieving this “special” thing, it somehow turned the cover more powerful and movie-like.

Do you have to offer multiple conceptual covers for them to choose which to pursue or do you get free reign?
We basically do things together. My clients guide me, they show me exactly what they want and I try to make it as close as I can to what they imagine.  Of course, I can’t do everything I want like in my personal works; we need to work as a team and I need to respect the story and their idea before anything.  Sure, if they give me some freedom, I try to make it even better, always.

Are you a fan of young adult fiction?
Strangely enough I’m not the kind of girl who loves to read, I have the necessity of feeding my eyes with pictures and movement all the time, maybe that’s what keep me creative.  (I can’t even read magazines; I’m just like a child who just looks at the book drawings and then close it.)  However I would say I love anything that drives me out of reality for a period of time. Being a book or not, I love fiction.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Anita Howard and thought that your image of Alyssa on the cover of Splintered resembled her…is that intentional?
Not at all. That’s another big coincidence… you know, it’s happening very often with me, so damn weird.

I love your interpretation of Morpheus on Unhinged, what inspirations did you draw on to create him?
While creating Unhinged, I had to keep in mind that Morpheus was NOT the Mad Hatter and my very first task was to find out the differences between the characters.

Steampunk was the first thing that came to mind regarding Morpheus’ style before knowing he was such a GOTHIC and strange “guy”. I got some inspiration from the author’s Pinterest, and I was shocked how different he actually was when compared with the Mad Hatter. I mean, Morpheus is way more gothic and MUCH more mysterious and strange.  My duty was to show as much as I could on the second book: He is NOT the mad hatter!

General Art Questions:
How long have you been expressing yourself with art?
Professionally, almost 6 years.

It appears that there is photography involved in your artworks, are you a photographer too?
No, sometimes I take my own photography but just for fun.

I was absolutely amazed with your collection of work on your website; I read that you are self-taught. How did you get started in the industry?
I started as anyone else, promoting my art and working HARD. In a beautiful day, God blesses your effort and you get discovered. I still have lot to learn and to improve but you know, I really love what I do.

Giveaway:
I am giving away ONE (1) 7×10 art print of one of Nathalia’s gorgeous works. This is an international giveaway if Society 6 ships to your local. Visit HERE to see which prints to choose from and if they ship to you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. Kathy L. says

    I never knew the artist was given little knowledge about the book their cover will grace. I love gaining insight into covers since I do tend to judge a book on it’s cover even though I shouldn’t. I would have loved to see Nathalia’s thoughts on your Unhinged Lego cover! I would choose Elixir Of Life because it would look so beautiful next to Splintered but The Cupid print would be a very close second. It’s gorgeous as well.

    • says

      She is such a talented artist. I was just amazed at how beautiful all her work is. Can’t wait to see more from her. I’ll be buying myself a print…not sure which yet!

  2. Danielle D says

    OMG I am so jealous that you got to do this interview!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the work that was done for Splintered and now Unhinged. Looking at more of the art I need to find more of her work and gush over it.

  3. says

    I absolutely adore the cover art of Splintered and Unhinged! The UK version of Shadow and Bone is really pretty, too. I’d probably take the one on the top right, with the woman and the bird. Thanks!

  4. says

    Been a huge fan of Nathalia ever since I first saw her artwork at deviantart.com. She is such an amazing graphic artist, I wish my art work was as fantastic as her’s.

  5. says

    This is such a great interview, Kristen! I knew from authors’ comments about cover designs that they typically don’t have a great deal of input, but it’s so interesting to see the perspective from the designer herself. And what a great one to pick! Splintered is such a gorgeous cover. I do wonder what the full-body shot of Alyssa would have looked like, even though I’m sure they made the right decision with the final design.

    For the giveaway, I might choose Those We Don’t Speak Of. But they’re all incredible! If I’m not lucky enough to win, I might have to buy one or two on my own,

  6. Sandy says

    I love both prints equally.

    But at The Reading Cafe in January we chose our favorite covers and SPLINTERED was chosen by a couple of our reviewers. The colors are the first thing to catch the eye and that is 50% of the battle for any author.

  7. Stephest21 says

    Book covers play such an important part in the book selling process and I love when I hear about artists who care for their work and don’t just do it for money. It’s more than obvious that Nathalia has a passion for what she does and I admire her honesty. Her work is gorgeous! :)

  8. Shelbia Faye says

    I have been a fan of Nathalia’s work for so many years. She had not once ceased to surprise me and she had been a great inspiration for me to follow my dreams. If I were to win, I would request “The Cupid”. I adore all of her work, but that one has to be one that stands out to me when I think of her.

    This was a wonderful interview. Thank you so much for posting it!

  9. says

    I’ll choose The Cupid or The Splintered Cover art. The Graphic designing in both of these is unique and different. I just love the color combinations of these both.

  10. says

    A really fantastic interview! I appreciate brilliant cover art so much (after all, when you have as large a book collection as most avid readers, you want them to look good on the shelf) and it’s great to hear from someone whose work I’ve already come across multiple times! Splintered’s cover is actually one of my all-time favourites now. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Amber Lough says

    I loved this interview—especially since it gave such great insight into Natalia’s process. I’m interested because she is doing the cover for my book, and I’m excited to see how she works and what she will come up with. My favorite of her prints here is the one of the girl on the swing.

  12. Cali says

    I love this insight behind the scenes of cover design. Nathalia Suellen’s work is so fabulous that I have no idea what print I’d choose. They’re all great! Hmm, possibly Splintered, or maybe Elixir of Life.

  13. Julia Rain says

    I love Nathalia Suellen! I’ve been following her work on deviantART for years. I think I would choose the Splintered cover. It’s so mysterious and beautiful.

  14. Kamla L. says

    I absolutely love all your covers especially the Otherworld Assassins and the The Historians. The choices for the giveaway are all such wonderful pieces that it makes deciding difficult. I think I would choose RED REAPER…or maybe ELIXIR OF LIFE. Thanks for the chance to win one!

  15. says

    Ahhhhhh. How did I miss this post? She is the mastermind behind so many of my favorite covers and her work is just so freaking gorgeous. I want to line all of my walls with it when I move into my own place. As for the piece I would pick if I won, probably Splintered or Elixir of Life. All the gorgeous colors.

  16. Lori T. says

    Thank you so much for this interview! I wasn’t aware of who designed the beautiful cover art for SPLINTERED and UNHINGED, and now that I do, I’m incredibly impressed with her tremendous talent! Such an amazing artist. And aside from the SPLINTERED work, I loved THE CUPID the best :-)

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