Elyse and I recently had the pleasure of stalking/interviewing Conzpiracy! He’s out there making some seriously amazing horror covers for some seriously amazing authors. Like the one above is actually the cover for the Contamination of Sandra Wolfe by Derek J. Goodman. Which is out right now through Permuted Press!
You’ve recently seen his work on the covers for Emily Goodwin’s Contagium Series and Pathogen by E.L. Loraine and Tim Frazier on this blog.
Okay, enough fangirling.
CR: Our followers have seen your work, most recently with Emily Goodwin’s Contagium Series, but they might not know a lot about you or your work. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Conzpiracy: Well.. I’m a Horror specialist from the UK, I started in graphic design / digital art at an early age, working initially in music event promotion. I’m a huge genre fan and avid reader also.
CR: What draws you to the horror genre?
Conzpiracy: Right from the outset, my interests were firmly rooted in horror. My first drawings were of monsters, and I’ve had the same ‘tunnel vision’ for the genre ever since. To me, horror is the thrill of the chase, and the primordial violence we have in our DNA. I also believe that the macabre can be beautiful too. Aside from these points, mortality is one of the last true mysteries, and I think that is what intrigues us.
CR: I’ve seen you say you were willing to give anything a shot when it comes to covers. Is there any genre of work that you would be unwilling to work with?
Conzpiracy: I don’t think I’d be keen on illustrating a cover for a book which has a purpose of causing division and hate. Xenophobic, exploitative or purposefully hateful literature I suppose.
CR: Is there any particular sub-genre of horror that you enjoy to work with more than others?
Conzpiracy: We all know that the zombie boom is doing very well, so I always like to work the ‘kooky’ concepts that don’t come around that often.. Mechanized dinosaurs, conjoined twins, intra-dimensional creatures, goat demons, you name it!! I do love a challenge, sometimes the wackier the better.
CR: The publishing industry is a tough place to work, I imagine graphic art isn’t much easier, what keeps you going despite all the other obstacles that come from working in these two worlds?
Conzpiracy: The need to eat.. Haha, only joking!! My peers in the digital art community and the awesome folk who support me online keep me going, as well as a personal desire to reach a ‘world-class’ level in my chosen field. I’ve been doing this so long now, I couldn’t imagine a life without it (creating art for clients).
CR: How do you handle “difficult” clients?
Conzpiracy: Difficult clients.. I take some time to explain that a ‘high-impact’ cover increases clicks, shares, likes, comments and purchases – that’s the name of the game. So, whilst we may not be able to articulate the meticulous narrative details on the cover, I can guarantee that the cover will be ‘noteworthy’, and get people excited to find out what’s inside.
We work together using that as a basis, and it usually does the trick.
CR: How much of the final design is author concept vs creative liberties?
Sometimes it’s 100% author concept, sometimes it’s 100% creative liberties.. other times it’s a beautiful union of the two!! Every gig is different.
CR: How close do you think you are to actually achieving world domination in the design industry? Because the work you’re doing outshines a lot of other artists out there. Trust us, we look at a lot of book covers.
Conzpiracy: Well team, you are too kind, thanks so much!!
World domination in the design industry doesn’t actually mean a lot. Those at the absolute apex of the craft, live very humble lives. In terms of skill-set, I believe I am five years away from where I want to be, and I’m just taking it a day at a time and enjoying the journey.
CR: Do you have spare time? Because it seems like you are putting out loads of amazing covers recently. What do you do to relax?
Conzpiracy: I do have spare time, even though I spend a large number of hours creating covers and marketing.
My favourite way to unwind is to have a ‘movie-binge’, I’ll watch three to four movies in a row (usually on a hangover day, like saturday!!). I’m also a massive MMA nerd, so I like to watch the fights, as well as the analysts and the behind the scenes stuff. Weightlifting helps me unwind too.
CR: Do you have any advice for new artists?
Conzpiracy: Consistency is everything.. work hard, submit often, build a brand.
I could write an entire book on this subject; but being courteous, being on-time and not publicly complaining about clients are a few of the main tips I give out. Being good isn’t good enough, you also have to be visible and accessible, whilst creating a desire for your product.
CR: What kind of advice can you give authors about choosing cover artists and what cover works best for their work?
Conzpiracy: It’s all about audience. Figure out who you’re selling to, research the outstanding covers for that genre. What covers scream out to you? Take those covers, find a competent designer in the field, and say ‘I want something like that..’
Go for specialists as opposed to generalists.
Hot Seat Questions!
Goonies or Monster Squad? Goonies
Fast or slow zombies? Slow Zombies
Coffee or Tea? I’m British.. Tea obviously!!
Iowa or Florida? *hint Iowa is the right answer* I am drawn to Iowa for some reason..
Boxers of Briefs? Boxers
Labyrinth or Willow? Labyrinth
PC or Mac? Mac
CR: Bonus Question: How disturbing are your Facebook stalkers *coughuscough*?
Conzpiracy: Not as disturbing as I’d hoped!! (Note to Elyse, we need to step up our game!)
Thanks so much for answering our questions!!!!