Red Country Artwork: Colour me Bad

August 10th, 2012

We’d pretty much arrived at a final cover in terms of elements and arrangements, but there was some concern that the colour was too close to the previous books, and we needed to take things in a slightly different direction.  So Laura cooked up a few different colour treatments…

I and my editor then argued furiously over which was the right choice, hardly able to believe each other’s stubborn wrong-headedness in supporting different ones.  Then I realised that they were jumbled up in the email I was sent and I’d been reading the numbers wrong, and we were actually supporting the same one.  Which was number five as you look at it.  We felt that 1 and 6 were too close to the original parchment feel.  That 3 and 4 were too dark (necessitating the white text which I find a bit ropey) and perhaps trying too hard to be a different colour just for the sake of it.  Why green, after all?  2 just a bit luridly orange, and white text again.  5 seemed to me to be the only one that was actually adding something, rather than just being a different option.  It still looked convincingly parchmenty, perhaps with a flavour of a map pored over under a spectacular western sunset, the knives and coins both popped from the background, there’s also a bit of variety in the colour that the others don’t seem to have.  We were agreed.  The extremely sharp-eyed among you may notice some vertical fault lines – until the book’s set and you therefore know how many pages it’ll have, and therefore how thick the spine will be, you can’t know exactly how wide the wraparound will need to be, so the designer leaves a little wiggle room.  But aside from that and a few other trifling tweaks, we have a final cover.

Incidentally, I’m off on holiday for a week – probably the first holiday in about six years before which I haven’t thought, “at last a holiday!  Now I can finally get some work done.”  Then I’ll be up at Fantasy Faction’s High Fantasy Night at Blackwell’s London on the evening of the 17th, hope to see some of you there, maybe.  Then I’ll be working 14 hours a day in a backstage port-a-cabin throbbing with bass at the V-Festival, the one yearly editing job I still do.  So the intarwebs will have to get along without me for a week or two.  Don’t get upset if your hate mail remains unanswered for the time being…

Posted in artwork by Joe Abercrombie on August 10th, 2012.

25 comments so far

  • Good choice! I do like the lurid orange as well, simply because of the title of the book, but overall, No 5 has the best balance. I am so horrendously excited for this book, you’ve no idea. If I were not so far away, I’d love to come to the FFHFN.

    Thank you, for all that you do. You remain an inspiration, as always~

  • Michael says:

    Have to agree, number 5 has an element of menace and foreboding to it.

    Enjoy the vacation!

  • Alex says:

    Apart from the white writing I have to say I like the purple/blue one. Reminds me of Before They Are Hanged, gives it all a nice symmetry. That said 5 is the best.

  • Chevi77 says:

    I admit I like a lot the second one, I take it as a more “leather-like” tan colour, which I think maps would be made of in a western-like environment (can’t think of many rolls of parchment about in a town like Armadillo from Red Dead Redemption); but if white colour text is a no no, then number 5 is second best for me…

  • thorne says:

    Number 5 is the best colour.. and maybe gold nuggets instead of the coins?

  • Frank Fitzpatrick says:

    Number 5 was a good choice, number 2 would have been equally acceptable in my eyes.

    Have fun with your summer holidays then, you lucky bugger.

  • SwindonNick says:

    You should try buying carpets with my wife. Apparently “I don’t give a shit, just pick one” was the wrong answer….

  • Rick says:

    You can never have too many knives.

  • Thaddeus says:

    I would’ve gone for number 2 as well.

    That said, 1, 2, 5 and 6 are all ok. I don’t think the darkness of 3 and 4 are that much of a problem, they just seem a bit off.

  • JonathanL says:

    I think you come to the right decision. The top 2 are definitely 2 and 5. It’s just a question of whether you wanted something brighter or dingier.

  • Bruce says:

    Joe, any thoughts on maps in your books? What they add, how important they are to ‘place’ your narrative, the appeal or otherwise to your fanbase, etc.

    Just asking cos I read a book called Maphead that discussed maps in fantasy books and I hadn’t really considered it before.


  • Jacob says:

    Number 2 looks superb. It gives off this very specific “Southwestern United States” look and feel, appears very worn out, and gives off this “red rock” blood color feel to it. Atmosphere, overall.

    Number 5 looks, a little “bright” in all honesty. *shrugs*

  • Curtis says:

    I dont give a shit just pick one…..brilliant.

  • James says:

    Looks like you had all the options….covered.

  • Sziuku says:

    They all are not good enough, the green one is not bad, but it is not Green Country. I guess, cover should be red, and the title could be black.

  • T.C says:

    Definitely number five for me. The ones above are a little bit too saturated for my taste and the one below looks a tad too familiar somehow.

    I love how, for the seasoned Abercrombie reader, the weaponry says it all.

    Welcome back Old Friend. I’ve missed you.

  • Giasone says:

    Probably the wisest choice. I have to admit I’d be curious to see what kind of story would lie within the green cover…

  • Daniel says:

    I wouldn’t care if it came with no cover! Its what’s inside that counts! But looks good 🙂

  • Morgan says:

    Giasone —

    Green Country: Dollar bills galore

    Have a good trip, Joe.

  • J.M. Martin says:

    Agree that #2 and #5 are the best versions, and I actually prefer #2 slightly over #5 just because it really pops and also has a warmth to it that draws the eye.

  • MEGALEAFS says:

    Hey your Red Country Extract links to Best Served Cold!

    Tease !

  • Andrew says:

    ^He does love to be coy.

  • Sarah T says:

    Oh how I wish the U.S covers were like the U.K covers. So much more appealing!

  • BenMcS says:

    Ahhh, dammit… US readers getting screwed again on the good cover. It took us near 20 years to start getting proper Kidby covers on our Pratchetts, how long do we gotta go until we start getting the good covers for Abercrombie? Blargh.

    Looks sweet, and yes… good call on five, it’s the best balanced.

  • Curt J says:

    I’m sure you’ve made the best choice there. And reading the dust jacket inset I just finally realized you are bringing back the best drunkard ever created. All hail Nicomo! I’d follow that rash laden bastard anywhere.

    Just as a side note, my wife works at our local tiny bookstore here in Homer, Alaska and she has lovingly placed The Heroes on the top of the fantasy shelf, dead center. They have really been selling!
    Although sorry to say Fifty Shades of Shite is still outpacing you. Whereas, I have to make deals with “the devil” namely Amazon.Uk to appease my completion neurosis and have all my Abercrombie books with the UK covers. The american covers are certainly eye catching. While I feel the UK covers scratch all my old
    Warhammer Fantasy RPG itches with maps, weapons and gold. They just carry a sense of “gravitas” with them. Anyway, keep up the great writing! Us Northmen eagerly await the release of Red Country. At least reading about a desert land will make us feel warmer, but in the end “you have to be realistic about these things.”

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