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Interview with Claudia McKinney from Phatpuppy Creations & Pretty When She Kills by Rhiannon Frater cover reveal!

December 1, 2011

I am soooo wicked excited today!!! No, like MORE than usual! First, because I have the AMAZINGLY talented Claudia McKinney here today… and second because I get to reveal the cover of Pretty When She Kills the HIGHLY anticipated sequel to Rhiannon Frater‘s Pretty When She Dies.

Claudia McKinney is the creator of some of my very favorite cover art EVER… You may recognize some of it… 

AirelHonalee (Witches of Honalee, #1)Smokeless Fire (Fire Spirits #1)Scorched Skies (Fire Spirits #2)

1. How did you get into cover designing?

When my daughter was getting ready to sign with a music label here in Los Angeles – we had done some high end photoshoots and I wanted to try my hand at editing them.

2. What is the first book cover you ever did?

A book called “Light Beneath Ferns” by Anne Spollen for Lwellelyn Publishing

(grabbed cover from Amazon)

3. How, if any, has your style changed since then?

I do more mixed media pieces and abstracts for sure – just following my heart on lighting and color and letting it go where it will. I used to care a lot more about fitting in to what was “hot at the time” – now I don’t. Too much already that all looks alike. So I try to do my own thing and have a great time doing it — it’s from that kind of “soulful place” that I feel we get the best art. When we try too hard to be soemthing we really aren’t — it definitely translates into the artwork.

4. Do you have a particular cover that is your favorite? Or that will always stick out in your mind for a specific reason?

My favourite is “Lucia’s Walk to Heaven” – a piece depicting how I felt my great-grandmother looked as she was finding her way to Heaven to be with her husband, Angelo. šŸ™‚

(grabbed from In Focus)

5. After scouring your website, I was absolutely in awe of your talent… Do you digitally create the covers from scratch or paint them??

Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m glad you like my work. I never get tired of hearing that. šŸ™‚

I use photographs and then paint and add elements – most of them are definitely mixed media pieces – some more heavily painted than others.

6. Are your images a one time deal? Like would I ever see your cover art duplicated on covers of two separate books by different authors?

Yes, they are exclusive – however another artist may use the same stock model on another cover that I’m not related to…. That is why now I’m offering custom photoshoots with models no one else has… . it does so much in the long run to produce a one-of-a-kind piece – however they are more costly because a lot more is involved. I do think however that it’s worth the extra time and money.

7. You’ve created some of my favorite covers EVER! With authors putting out books left and right, is it hard to keep up with the demand? Is your waiting list ten miles long??

Never hard to keep up. I work all day long – and I LOVE my work. Next to being a wife and mother – this is totally my passion in life. I don’t know what I would do without it. lol I imagine it is how writers feel if they couldn’t write, yeah?

8. Have you ever had someone request something that you couldn’t or refused to do?

Yes — sometimes I get authors who think truly know what looks good – and it doesn’t. So I ask – if you come to me – you have to trust me and come with the idea that you already like my style — I’ve had one or two covers where authors insisted they wanted something – and hated the outcome — and asked that my name not be put out there with the cover art. I’m ultra picky!

9. Do you often get get cover requests that are as detail oriented as Pretty When She Kills? Which is gorgeous and freaking BRILLIANT, I must add! 

Thank you!  Yes, I do get a lot of covers that are that specific – and I love doing them.   The most important thing for me is that my work always be emotionally charged — otherwise there’s really not a lot of point for me.  Hope that makes sense.

10. I think you captured Amaliya PERFECTLY! I mean, it’s seriously amazing how similar the cover art is to the book character! How much preparation and extra time goes into a cover like the one for Pretty When She Kills?

Well because I do so many covers now – and I am humbled every time I’m asked – truly – it doesn’t take me so long to get the mockup – but maybe the time spent once we have that in creating the right lighting, setting, details added, etc… but again, every piece is different – so some do take much longer than others. Creating the cover for Rhiannon was so much fun — I totally got into it and had a blast! I view it as a totally collaborative effort. Rhiannon and I were a definite team – and I love that part of the job. šŸ™‚

Visit Claudia’s Website – Phatpuppy Art
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And now *deep breath* the COVER REVEAL for Pretty When She Kills!!!!! *SQUEE*
I KNOW right???? How freaking GORGEOUS and PERFECT is it??? I totally and absolutely ADORE it!!! Rhiannon Frater is hoping to release Pretty When She Kills in Spring of 2012! I can’t wait!!!

The WINNER of the Pretty When She Dies read a-long 
(Fang-tastic Fridays) is:



From → Uncategorized

  1. See, not to brag or anything, but I got to see the cover, oh… two-and-a-half weeks early. And it looks FREAKING AMAZING! (Trying to stay PG-13 here!) LOVED the interview with Claudia and the insight into her artistic process. I can't wait to work with her someday!

  2. Love the cover!!! Claudia really has a talent. Awesome interview and look forward to the book

  3. Holy bookgasm that cover is awesome.

  4. I love this awesome cover! I stalked the art on PhatPuppy's site a couple months ago and it's so gorgeous I ended up buying prints.I'd totally buy the book for the cover alone!Love the tattoo, too! Seriously awesome.

  5. Rockin cover. Talk about SQUEE!!! Thanks for hosting the readalong.

  6. WOWIE ZOWIE, I'm in love!!! ā¤ All of those covers are gorgeous to the nth degree — you're so talented, Claudia! And that cover for Pretty When She Kills gives me chills (hey, that rhymes LOL)! That is just… WOW! :)Awesome interview, you guys! It really makes me want to get into cover designing LOL! šŸ˜‰

  7. Claudia was awesome to work with and did such a great job on the cover. I love it so much!

  8. can't wait for this one, ordered my sequel to tale of vampire bride already and own the as the world dies untold tales too!

  9. This cover is pretty fantastic. I am going to have to read these books, they sound so good.

  10. Oh my god you're right! That is absolutely perfect and creepy! I love it. And have to agree, Claudia's cover art is gorgeous.

  11. Oh my that's a pretty cover! And all the other covers are also very beautiful. Love them šŸ™‚

  12. It is totally my dream to design book covers, I would love every minute of it. Her work is just stunning, I especially love that she uses mixed media, I think it gives her pieces an added depth that's really beautiful. Thanks so much for this interview and the cover reveal!

  13. The cover is AMAZING. It is absolutely perfect for the story.

  14. That cover is amazing!Loved the interview too—you can tell when someone has a passion for what they do—it comes through in everything that they do!

  15. I really LOVE what Claudia did with Aaron's AIREL cover. I mean, they're all amazing really, but AIREL is just stunning, so beautiful. Love the interview, Ash!

  16. Wow!! Claudia does amazing work. All those covers are absolutely stunning! You can tell she has a passion for it in how they look. Great interview!!

  17. LOVE this interview, Ashley. I'm so glad that Claudia goes beyond "what's hot in book covers" because they really do look a lot alike. Her work is just stunning and she is clearly talented. It's very cool that uses a variety of tools to make her covers.

  18. How freaking awesome are her eyes?! It's so amazing to me how cover designers create covers and all the different things involved. Great interview, I love meeting cover designers!

  19. Are you kidding me?! My girl crush on Amaliya is over.. now.. I FREAKING LOVE HER. lol. Seriously, love this cover. And I'm such a fan of Claudia, I totally stalk her FB and website. My best friend got married a couple months ago and I honestly dreamed of having Claudia do her magic with one of her wedding photos. Rhiannon + Claudia = Ultra Awesomeness!

  20. woow zombie

  21. You do really amazing, varied work. I can absolutely tell that you love what you do.

  22. Loving the covers and the newest! I'm off to check out your stuff!

  23. Ah-freaking-mazing! Oh, I definitely want to look like Amaliya if I were a vampire. LOLWork never feels like work when you love what you do. Glad you found your passion.

  24. I love working with such talent… the other two books in the series are done and I can't wait to show you book 3…so rockin cool!

  25. I also have a Phat Puppy design for my cover and I have had SO MANY compliments on it. The dreamy use of light and beauty makes it the perfect choice for my story.It is my favorite cover, honestly. China; A Daughter's Quest for Truth by Kay Bratt

  26. Great art and I'm sure a great book. I want to buy it on the strength of the cover itself.

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