Katelyn Groombridge‘s cover design journey came from years and years of dabbling in all things art and creativity, everything from logo design, painting, and fashion, to interior design, and website design. However, it wasn’t until she finished up a Diploma in Graphic Design that she really thought about pursuing a career in the industry. With a relentless love of diving into a good book, she thought what better way to blend her two passions than to create cover designs.
Katelyn prides herself on creating beautiful, marketable, and affordable covers that authors can be proud to share – whether it’s their first book baby or their hundredth. Katelyn is passionate about book covers, and is so grateful to be able to do what she loves and help authors create a cover that shines! In her spare time, Katelyn loves to pick up a good book – any spare second of the day you can find her curled up somewhere cozy reading or finding a moment to enjoy the day with her partner Adam and their three fur babies Louie, Skittles, and Toki.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. Your favorite superpower you fantasized about.
Definitely flying – I want to travel the world, what better method than flying yourself whenever you feel like it?
Q2. When do you usually draw? Morning or Night?
Inspiration usually hits me either super early in the morning like 6am or later in the evening around 8pm – a 9-5 life definitely doesn’t work for me creatively.
Q3. What do you love to do in your free time?
I love to read (a lot), watch my favorite Netflix series, eat, and binge shop online!
Q4. Who is your favourite Anime character?
Uhh definitely Spike Spiegel – I mean who doesn’t love a bad-ass ex gangster turned bounty hunter?
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
Future I would love to get a glimpse into how things may turn out – maybe even have the chance to change the course if need be!
Q6. What is your last Google search?
Wedding Rings – unfortunately not for myself! This was some research for a custom cover design I am currently working on.
Q7. Which art style appeals the most to you?
Even though it’s not a style I work with much I love Pop Art! I find the use of bold colors, and hyper realistic imagery so fascinating.
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
I can’t think of one single moment – but for me I love to find kind gestures all through the day, even if it’s just a genuine smile, or a sweet comment I consider that so kind and uplifting.
Q9. Fellow Creators or Artists you admire.
Oh there are so many but I absolutely adore cover designs from Ever After Cover Design and Emily Wittig.
Q10. Describe your style in one word.
Dark… not that I show it all the time, but the darker the better!! (Just like my coffee)
Q11. What is one missed opportunity that you wish you could have a second chance at?
I had the chance to work as a graphic designer for a US Based PR company, unfortunately at the time I didn’t feel I had the skill set to take on such a challenge. Looking back I definitely regret taking the opportunity and seeing where it could have led.
Q12. An art or piece of work you wished you had created.
Downtown Blue by Ekaterina Smitnova – so beautiful!
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Katelyn.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Katelyn. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the art.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to make us wonder more about you.
I have recently become addicted to pole dancing and burlesque! It has been so much fun to learn, and the community is so kind, supportive, and super uplifting. Although my poor bruised legs may disagree, honestly the sport is ruthless on your body!
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what kind of art inspires you?
I find a lot of different art inspires me but I absolutely adore any watercolor work! I find I can get lost in watercolor art for hours. There is just something special about that medium that draws you in and gives a sense of wonder.
Q. Interesting. What, to you, are the most important elements of a good art?
I honestly believe rules need to be thrown out the window with art! Studying graphic design taught me how to create attractive designs by the book. But truthfully I think you need a good eye and a lot of heart and emotion, as that is something that I can see shine through in what I would consider ‘good art’.
Q. What’s the toughest work you’ve created so far? What made it so challenging?
Completing a design that you just don’t feel connected to can be the hardest and most frustrating, I have recently experienced this with a custom cover (yet to be released) where the direction of the project was going to a place I just couldn’t see or feel. It’s hard to get the creative juices flowing if you can’t connect! Luckily, I was able to work around this and together with the author we have created a beautiful design that ticks all the boxes. And I feel like I have gained some valuable experience pushing through with a challenging design.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your art that only a few people will find?
Not usually, although sometimes I do have fun creating spins on titles for authors based on their characters names etc, it’s something some people may pick up on but most often gets overlooked!
Q. What’s unique about your style that’s been appreciated by your fans over the years?
A few people have commented on how my designs provide a sense of dark and mysterious vibes, with the colors, typography and imagery chosen I tend to lean into the dark side… and I love it.
Q. How do you progress from an idea to the final piece? Describe your process.
All my projects start with a thorough client brief, from there I do a deep dive into some research on the style they are looking for (particularly if it’s a new style to me), I then work on a few rounds of concepts in Photoshop that I feel fits the brief. During these concept creations I am constantly in contact with the authors touching base on design ideas. Once we have some concepts together it’s really just a back and forth process of adjusting the idea until everyone is happy and the cover ticks all the authors boxes.
Q. What does success look like to you?
Success to me is doing something that makes you happy! For me being able to use my creative skills and working from home doing what I love, helping authors bring their book babies to life is a dream come true. And I am so thankful to have the opportunity and support to pursue something that brings me joy, whilst also giving me the best work/life balance I have ever had.
Q. What inspires you, and where do you seek inspiration for something you’ve never created before?
I find inspiration everywhere! I have a never ending list of incredible cover designers and artists that I love to keep in the loop with on Instagram, plus I love a good scroll through Pinterest which always has some inspiring content, sometimes it’s even as simple as listening to a certain song that just sparks something within, creativity and inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime and I am always open to it.
If I’m researching a genre I have never designed in before I usually do a pretty through run through the most popular books in that genre on Goodreads or Amazon and research trends within that space.
Q. How do you deal with pressure and deadlines?
This can be super tricky, especially if you are juggling multiple projects, or you’ve hit a creative block – this can be the most frustrating and upsetting thing to happen, especially on a deadline. My process is to usually step away, clear my head, do something completely different for a little while, then I can get straight back into the studio and smash out the work. I find giving myself a reset usually gets my head into a super focused zone, perfect to meet deadlines (coffee and chocolates don’t hurt either).
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 keep my finger on the pulse with what is currently popular and trending within the genres I usually work in. To do this I keep up to date with new release, and follow what other authors and designers are creating, and how effective they have been in the market. This usually keeps me pretty up to date with the current skills and practices being used in the industry.
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?
Get involved! Talk to other designers, authors, and readers, find what you love and pursue it!
Honestly my best advice is to immerse yourself fully in the space you want to work in, whether that’s a genre specifically or cover design broadly, you will learn so much from seeing what everyone else does and having connections and support will be invaluable. Don’t forget practice practice practice, you can never get enough! And don’t be afraid to throw out ideas, I know when I first started I hated getting rid of a design I had spent hours on, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work and that’s okay, trust yourself and enjoy the ride.