Alexander first discovered book design in 2010 through self-written stories and the corresponding covers. On his 18th birthday, he started his own business as a freelancer and since then he has never looked back. He designs book covers for publishers and self-publishing authors. He is passionate about his profession, and always happy to work on new projects.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. Your favorite superpower you fantasized about.
Q2. When do you usually design? Morning or Night?
I design almost every day from morning until evening.
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m more of an introvert. But that doesn’t make me a shy person. I just recharge my social batteries when I’m at home. 🙂
Q4. Who is your favourite Anime character?
I don’t have a favourite at the moment.
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
To the past (1960s-1970s) to talk to the people in my family I’ve never got the chance to meet.
Q6. What is your last Google search?
“2000s animes” because I needed to remind myself which animes I had watched during my childhood for question 4 lol.
Q7. Which art style appeals the most to you?
I love very detailed, fantasy style art.
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
There are so many things I’m grateful for that it would feel unfair to name just one.
Q9. Fellow Creators or Artists you admire.
My friends because a lot of them are creators (writers, designers, illustrators). More popular creators that I like: Sasha Vinogradova, Billelis, Hoàng Lâp.
Q10. Describe your style in one word.
Q11. What is one missed opportunity that you wish you could have a second chance at?
Designing the book covers for a friend of mine. I was loaded with work at the time so I couldn’t accept the request from the publisher.
Q12. An art or piece of work you wished you had created.
The “King of Scars” book cover. It’s so beautiful!
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Alexander.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Alexander. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the designs.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to make us wonder more about you.
Initially I didn’t want to actively pursue a career in the creative industry. It was mainly because I always was convinced that you would live an uncertain and tough life (especially financially) as an artist/designer. But now I live the happiest life I could have ever imagined for myself.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what kind of art inspires you?
I do like to dive deep into fantasy art that is inspired by book characters and stuff like that. But I also draw a lot of inspiration from traditional art like renaissance paintings or ancient sculptures. Although every art form can inspire me – except minimalistic art forms. I’m not a big fan of that at the moment, but I see why people enjoy this type of art.
Q. Interesting. What, to you, are the most important elements of a good book cover?
The perfect book cover would be something that catches the eye, tells a story and creates a curiosity for the book – or even better: the absolute need to read it.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your art/design that only a few people will find?
Yes. Especially in my older designs when I didn’t have access to stock libraries, I used to photoshop myself into a design. I couldn’t pay any models so whenever I needed a silhouette, an eye, a hand model or whatever, I used myself as a model and/or reference. But it was always in a way, people would not get it without knowing it. Nowadays I don’t do that anymore. But sometimes I hide little details in the cover designs that you can discover on the second look.
Q. What’s the toughest work you’ve created so far? What made it so challenging?
My first 3D cover design for a premade cover trilogy. It was challenging because the technique was fairly new to me. You need to find the right light, texture and composition and it was still hard for me to navigate within the 3D software. And I had covid at the time. But I sold all three covers within 2 hours after posting them, so it was worth it.
Q. What’s unique about your style that’s been appreciated by your fans over the years?
I don’t actually know for sure. Many people tell me that they recognize my book covers but I can’t always see why. I do get many compliments about the colors I use and the contextual accuracy of my designs though.
Q. How do you progress from an idea to the final piece? Describe your process.
I usually read the brief and the summary of the story first. Then I think about the best concept for the cover design, search for fitting images, put them all together in photoshop including a fitting typography design. After that I send the draft to the client for the first revision. For the second round, I incorporate all the changes/wishes made by the client and so on … until the cover is done. 🙂
Q. What does success look like to you?
Success is different for everybody. For me success means being happy. For some people that might be a huge number of sales, for others maybe the appreciation of your work. What makes me really happy regarding my career is creating book covers that make readers and writers happy. So, the appreciation and therefore motivation from readers/authors/social media helps a lot to create new book covers.
Q. What inspires you, and where do you seek inspiration for something you’ve never created before?
For me, anything has the power to inspire. Whether it’s a song, a movie or just a nice chat with an interesting person. But oftentimes the inspiration comes from the stories I design the book covers for. Because of that I barely struggle with finding inspiration –– because the authors deliver it to me with their amazing stories. I just need to design face of the story for them.
Q. How do you deal with pressure and deadlines?
I’m german so it’s ingrained in my brain to always be on time. I’d rather do a night shift than being late with a design. The pressure is real of course when you design so many book covers, but I appreciate pressure as a motivational force. And I remind myself that I’m not a machine and mistakes can happen. It’s never the end of the world. As long as my clients are happy, I’m happy too. 🙂
Q. They say time and tide waits for no one, and one needs to keep evolving to survive. How do you adopt and develop new skills?
I like to do 1:1 learning with online tutors. This is also how I learned 3D design. I’ve found it very useful when you pay a teacher/tutor because you keep going when you don’t want your money to go to waste. 🙂 For me that works better than just watch free tutorials on YouTube. It’s also helpful to talk to a professional and ask specific questions.
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions for newcomers in this field? If so, what are they?
I would suggest that you should only pursue a creative career as a freelancer when it’s your passion. When you don’t love what you do, you will probably lose motivation and drive on the way – which can be tough. For years I practiced Photoshop every day because it was fun, not because I wanted to gain anything from it. About 2 years after I had opened Photoshop for the first time, I designed my first paid book cover and after 4-5 years I could live from my income as a book cover designer. I imagine it to be extremely difficult to keep up the daily practice if it wasn’t fun.