my-photoWe’re a few days into February’s BCOTM bracket, but I have something special for you all today. January’s winner, Joshua Rafols, was kind enough to share his time with us in the form of an interview. It was a pleasure to get to know him, and I’m happy to share that conversation with you now.
First, Joshua, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s go ahead and get right to it.
When did you get in to art?
 – I started going into art when I was in high school. I started to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and started exploring different techniques and designs.
How long have you been creating covers?
-I started just two years ago when I was working at Tate Publishing. But previous to that, I used to make notebook covers for conferences and camps at our church.
What got you started in creating covers?
-It was when I started working at Tate. I found a different joy when authors received their books along with the cover.
Do you prefer one medium over another?
-I don’t have any other medium except Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
Do you have someone who inspired your own work? If so, who? Why?
-There are a lot of people who inspire my work but my primary inspiration as I work on each cover is my Lord Jesus Christ. Because I believe that as I work for each client, I am also working for the Lord.
What do you look for in a great client? 
– A great client is simply someone who gives clear instructions and knows what he or she wants.
All cover artwork you see was created by Mr. Rafols and with his permission. Any further use without his written consent is done so against copyright law.

What are some of your pet peeves about clients?

– When clients demand for a design that goes beyond the limits of Photoshop, or when they keep changing their design concepts.
What were your initial thoughts where you were asked to do the cover for Loveless?
– My thoughts at first was, this is an interesting book. It wasn’t difficult to visualize and it was easy to do.
Artistically, what were your goals for the cover?
-I went for a minimalist and a bit of mystery design.
How was Marissa to work with?
-Marissa was really easy to work with. She asked for suggestions and gave very clear instructions as to what she wanted – which made it easier for me to do my job.
Can you walk me through the process of creating the cover? How did it go? What were the challenges? How pleased were the two of you with the results?
-I started searching Shutterstock for two open eyes and one closed eye. Then I placed them respectively at the top as the left eye, center the closed eye, and bottom the right eye. So i started with the top eye. To give an effect as if the eye were colored, I brushed random colors on the eyes and placed -if i remember correctly- a screen effect on the color brushes. The center was tricky because it looked like a closed left eye so what i did was i duplicated it and then erased a side for each then arranged it to look as if the eye was centered. The bottom was simply a right eye, which I colored using a gray scale. The challenge that I always face when creating a cover is looking for a font that would match the book. I had the same struggle with this book cover. After sending it to the author, we were both pleased with the results of the book cover.
411sff159rl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Loveless was a very well received cover. Is it your favorite? If so, why/why not?
– After I designed it, I honestly thought it was just another ordinary cover. I never really expected it to go this far. Perhaps it is because of its simplicity and minimalistic feel that I myself did not really notice its beauty at first.
Is there anything you’d like to say to readers?
– I just want to say thank you for supporting the cover of Marissa’s book. I greatly appreciate it.
Once more Josh, I just want to thank you for spending time to do this interview. You’re an amazing artist, and I, for one, am glad I’ve gotten to know you.
Thank you and a blessed day
It’s my hope to do interviews like this with all the artists, but they’re busy people, and sometimes it’s flat out hard to find them. I promise you that I’ll do my best to reach out to them and provide more interviews like this.
Thanks for reading,

8 thoughts on “Interview with January Book Cover of the Month Winner Joshua Rafols

  1. Solid interview, Matt. Found it interesting that he listed finding the font as one of the challenges when designing a cover. Ironically, anytime I am dabbling or practicing (because I eventually want to be able to do every aspect of publishing myself), I spend the most time scrolling through the couple hundred or so fonts I have in Photoshop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think font is more often than not what makes or breaks a cover. I see a BUNCH of really great pieces of art every day, but inevitably, the wrong font choice or color can kill an image now matter how great.

      Liked by 1 person

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