We’re told to never judge a book by its cover, but we all know how difficult that can be at times. Cover art and design serve a crucial purpose – to grab a reader’s attention long enough for them to pick up a book, read that blurb, and flip through those pages. A beautiful and unique design is not only an artistic representation of the words within, it also helps distinguish that book from others when skimming shelves, as well as allows readers to emotionally connect with a book prior to reading a single word.
Today I’m joined by the incredibly talented Félix Ortiz as Whispers & Wonder kicks off a new interview series celebrating the artists that create these magical Windows Into Worlds. With a sprawling portfolio, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with his work – especially if you’re a fan of the indie fantasy community like myself. A huge thank you to Félix for taking the time to have a chat with me!
About the Artist
I’m a professional graphic designer and digital art enthusiast from New York.
Care to tell us who you are in 10 words or less?
Family man, art director, illustrator, nerd, ex-gamer, fantasy/scifi lover
Why do you do what you do?
I work part time as an art director/graphic designer at a New York City pharma advertising agency. The rest of my time I devote to trying to balance freelance illustration, my daughter and wife, my friends and other interests, and SLEEP.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Ever since middle school/high school I’ve loved drawing. As a career I started thinking about it probably in high-school
What work do you enjoy doing the most?
Epic fantasy covers or sketching on my own
Have you had any interesting jobs other than being an artist?
At a newspaper, as a layout artist with some editorial responsibilities. I learned a lot there, plus worked with some very smart writers and journalists.
What made you dive into the world of book cover art and design?
After so many years doing graphic design I decided to get better at illustration, which I had neglected for a very long time. During this time I joined the Grimdark fiction readers & writers group on FB looking for reading recommendations. Then slowly I started to get attention for my art and my first commissions.
Do you get to read much? If so, do you have any favorite authors?
I read more than most and nowhere near as much as you bloggers. Right now I’m hooked with Chris Wooding’s The Ember Blade. But Rob Hayes is a favorite of mine. His First Earth stuff is very addictive. There’s plenty more from both indie and trad, but those 2 are good examples of what I like.
What’s the biggest challenge you face professionally?
Just finding time to practice or work on my commissions. It always feels like I don’t have enough. Also just getting better. I look up to people like Jaime Jones as a goal. I still have years and years of toil to achieve half of his skill.
What’s the one thing you’d be lost without?
Time to think. I have all these ideas for various things that might never get done. But just thinking about them is like meditation for me.
I know we’re never supposed to ask a parent to choose their favorite child, but do you have a piece you’re particularly proud of?
You have anything going on right now you want the world to know about?
Be sure to check out Félix’s ArtStation portfolio so you can peruse his many GORGEOUS works.
Stay tuned for more artist highlights.