Cover artists do not get enough credit.
Creating a book’s cover ain’t easy. And that’s just the design itself! On the business side, I’ve heard terrible stories from cover artists who struggle to meet authors’ visions, who revise, revise, revise–and then they have to beg, plead, and hope they get paid. Is it any wonder why artists are gunshy about working with new clients?
And before you send me all the notes–oh yes. I’ve heard some truly sad stories about authors who have bad experiences with artists too. Everything from quality to delivery.
So really, it can be rough all around.
When you find a great artist, you could HUG them.
Or you could pester them for an interview so you can share them with the world.
World, Meet Kevin Leiss. Professional from start to finish, it’s an absolute pleasure to work with him. Goodness is he talented!
This is the cover he created for me from scratch. That means he essentially ‘hand’-sculpted the character, digitally speaking. Warning: it will spoil you. It’s ruined me for all cover-creating methods. I never ever want to go back to photo-bashed art. Kevin, YOU ROCK!!!
So who is Kevin Leiss? He’s a top-notch creator living in Germany, and he was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions for those who are curious about him and his process.
I absolutely love your work. Have you always been artistically inclined?
Thank you! Yes. In kindergarten, I was already known as the “kid who likes to draw”. I can still remember how I drew endless pages with imaginary stories.
Aww! How neat that art has always been with you! Did you begin with traditional media, or with digital?
As you can imagine, I started on traditional media, haha. I even switched fairly late to the digital medium. I think I got my first graphic tablet when I was 17 or 18. Since then, I switched almost entirely to digital media. Photoshop and ZBrush being my main software to use.
The fact that you started ‘late’ in your digital journey & mastered it in such a short time–that’s impressive! What artists inspire you?
Way too many. There are so many awesome artists out there who all obtained such a tremendous amount of skill. But the most influential in the past years were Rafael Grassetti. His skill and work ethic is absolutely insane and I am not sure that I will ever get close to him.
OH MY LAND Grassetti is a favorite of mine too–and don’t sell yourself short!! =O Your skill is phenomenal. What is your favorite medium to work in?
It depends on my mood. I am a trained 2D artist and I really enjoy drawing and painting but since 2019 I really fell in love with 3D. So I can’t really tell. But I guess 3D will win in the long run.
From what I’ve seen, digital sculpting is a very involved, intensive process, much like physical sculpting is. On average, how long does it take you to create a digital artwork?
Yes, it can be a very long and demanding process. It all depends on what the final result should be like. I can sculpt a simple project in about one or two hours–but a project like your cover is a bit more complicated. I need to model the Character, then I have to create various maps (in 3D maps are used to give the object various information like color or specularity). After I’ve done this I have to pose the character and make an interesting light setup. This one took me about 20-30 Hours. But I get faster with every project I do.
Of the pieces you’ve created, can you show us your favorites?
That’s a tough question. The latest piece is always my favorite. This lasts for about a day or until I start a new piece. I think I am more in love with the process than the final product. If I had to decide, I would say that my current project is my favorite so far. I am painting friends of mine in a specific art style of a game we are playing together and it has been a blast.
Being that you have to spend a great length of time on the process, it’s actually a benefit that you love this part the most :). (And your current project sounds neat as heck!) Now onto the BIG question: Are you open for commissions?
Yes, I am. If you are in need of my service you can use the contact form on my website or write to me on my social media account. But please remember that this is a job and even an artist needs to make a living.
Absolutely. I look forward to stalking your work and seeing (and commissioning!) future projects! Thank you so much, Kevin! Your work is fabulous!! <3
Find Kevin Leiss’ artwork at:
How amazingly talented he is. This cover drew me in to check out the book, and the image really helped define my image of the character. This artist is a keeper! I agree that artists should be paid well for their work. I love my surface design projects, but it is difficult to price your own work sometimes. It is hard to match the expectations of another, but Mr. Leiss has managed it with excellence in my opinion!
I am so sorry! I am just seeing your post now–I apologize for the *extremely* tardy reply!!
YES on artists need to be paid for their time. And so true on the difficulty pricing your own work.
Thank you!! Mr. Leiss really did an amazing job! <3