The Cover Art of Robert Berran

If you view any website about publishing in today’s digital age, you’re sure to see a post about the importance of book covers. For authors like me who self publish their novels and stories, creating book covers that capture a reader’s attention in a meaningful way is a science worth studying.

When I first started writing for publication, I didn’t have to worry about designing covers. That was handled by my publisher, and other than providing my editor with a cheat sheet listing hair color, eye color, and the main setting where my story took place, I really didn’t have any input about what would or would not end up on the cover of my book.

Thankfully, my publisher engaged the services of a wonderful cover artist named Robert Berran. He had a special talent for depicting the Regency era, and he created cover illustrations for my publisher, as well as others.

In 1997 I contributed a short story to an anthology titled A Mother’s Love. Here’s the cover:

That’s Robert Berran’s artwork you see on the cover, although his signature was cropped to accommodated the title, author names, and branding.

For comparison, here’s a copy of the original artwork. You can see more of the beautiful landscape Mr. Berran created, as well as his signature in the bottom left-hand corner.

With a cover like this, readers knew what they were getting: a sweet, clean Regency romance, with an emphasis on the special relationship between a mother and her children.

Here’s another example of Robert Berran’s work titled, Summer Picnic:

Based on the illustration, what kind of Regency romance would you guess this to be? Steamy and sensual? Sweet and clean? Somewhere down the middle?

I also wonder if there’s any significance to our heroine holding an apple. Perhaps she’s tempting the hero just a little?

The next Robert Berran cover I’ll share was created for a Regency romance titled Scandalous Journey.

Based on the book’s title and the cover art, I would guess the novel didn’t fall into the sweet and clean category. While it may not have been a steamy novel either, the cover seems to suggest a story that has some temptingly sensual moments, doesn’t it?

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s something about a story that introduces a dog (or a cat, or a parakeet, or any other pet) that signals a story with some lighthearted moments, and this Robert Berran cover art fits the bill nicely:

One thing I appreciate after reviewing several of Robert Berran’s cover illustrations is how well he captures the setting of the story.

He definitely knows how to evoke the beauty of the English countryside.

The next cover, with the gorgeous colors in the sky and the stately home in the distance, is one of my favorites. I have to wonder, however, how much of the background made it into the final cropped version of the cover.

And then there were the covers Robert Berran created that hinted at some action that took place in the novel itself. Like this young lady who just took a tumble on a secluded woodland path:

Or this cover, which hinted at the heroine’s talent (and if you guessed she was an artist, you’d be right!).

And then there were his action covers that leaned a little more toward the romantic, like this one depicting a heroine being carried off by her handsome groom on her wedding day:

You may have guessed by now that Robert Berran was one of my favorite cover artists. Each of his covers is a unique and lovely work of art, and I cherish the covers he created for my novels.

Did you know some of his original Regency romance cover illustrations are for sale? They pop up from time to time on various art websites. Click here to visit one of those sites.

And if you’d like to learn more about Robert Berran and his artwork, you can visit his website by clicking here. 

I’d love to have a full-size original of one of his Regency creations; unfortunately, my budget limits me to hanging framed copies of my old covers on my office walls. But if I ever win the lottery, watch out!

How about you? Do you have a favorite cover artist?

How do you think today’s Regency romance covers compare to covers created in the 1990s or 2000s?

The Art of the Fan

Ladies of fashion have been using fans for generations as an essential fashion accessory. As Joseph Addison said in The Spectator, “Women are armed with Fans as Men with Swords, and sometimes do more Execution with them.”

At the Opera by Robert Schumann

At the Opera by Robert Schumann

Mr. Addison described the following encounter with an attractive lady and her fan at a Sunday church service:

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She displayed the most beautiful Bosom imaginable, which heaved and fell with some Fervour, while a delicate well-shaped Arm held a Fan over her Face. It was not in Nature to command ones Eyes from this Object; I could not avoid taking notice also of her Fan, which had on it various Figures, very improper to behold on that Occasion. There lay in the Body of the Piece a Venus, under a Purple Canopy furled with curious Wreaths of Drapery, half naked, attended with a Train of Cupids, who were busied in Fanning her as she slept. Behind her was drawn a Satyr peeping over the silken Fence, and threatening to break through it.

Artist: Frederico Andreotti

Artist: Frederico Andreotti

It’s possible Mr. Addison may have drawn on his own experience when he wrote:

There is an infinite Variety of Motions to be made use of in the Flutter of a Fan. There is the angry Flutter, the modest Flutter, the timorous Flutter, the confused Flutter, the merry Flutter, and the amorous Flutter. Not to be tedious, there is scarce any Emotion in the Mind does not produce a suitable Agitation in the Fan.

Artist: Thomas Benjamin Kennington

Artist: Thomas Benjamin Kennington

In Georgette Heyer’s The Masqueraders, Robin Tremaine disguises himself as a woman and makes great comic use of a fan to flirt with Sir Anthony Fanshawe.

Artist: Gaetano Bellei

Artist: Gaetano Bellei

You can read more about the history of the lady’s fan here at Victoriana.

 

Free on Amazon: A Scandalous Season

My Regency romance A Scandalous Season is available for free on Amazon Kindle. You’ll have to hurry: this offer is only good for the next 5 days!

Cover Art_A Scandalous Season 3Headstrong Lady Eleanor Chilton is determined to marry a country gentleman of her own choosing. But when her father insists that she have a London Season, she resolves to be so disagreeable, no man will even dance with her. Her icy demeanor and unpleasant words soon repel every dandy who makes her acquaintance – Including Sir Andrew de Ardescote, London’s most sought-after bachelor.

Sir Andrew is not used to being snubbed, and he doesn’t take to it kindly, even though the contrary young lady is quite the loveliest creature he’s ever met. He’ll have his revenge: A simple wager with friends that he will be the first to melt the icy young maiden’s heart with a kiss.
As he sets about charm Lady Eleanor to fall in love with him, it isn’t long before Sir Andrew realizes he’s the one in danger of losing his heart.

“A light-hearted drawing room comedy to brighten your day.” – Romantic Times
“Pretty entertaining, I must say!” – Goodreads

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Follow his link to Amazon to get your copy:

Amazon Kindle

Now Available: One Dance with You

Cover One Dance with You 2015 resizedMy Regency short story “One Dance with You” is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes!

I enjoyed writing this story of a young woman who gives up on love, only to discover it again in a most unexpected place.

You can read an excerpt from the story on your favorite reader:

Amazon Kindle    Nook button    iBookstore

 

A Compliment Indeed!

Once Upon A Christmas Cover 2015-04-26 resizedA wonderful reader posted a review of my book Once Upon A Christmas on the Barnes and Noble website, which says:

“This reads along the same lines of a Georgette Heyer story and almost as good!”

What a tremendous compliment! There’s no higher praise a writer of Regency romance can get than to be compared to the incomparable Ms. Heyer. Thank you!