Welcome Spekkies one and all! Today we’re talking to the amazing Kirk DouPonce!

Hi Kirk!

1. How did you get into cover design?

I’ve always been into art and been a fan of professional artists like the Hildebrandt brothers and Michael Whelan. I actually remember as a kid, maybe junior high age, reading through the copyright page of a Robin Hood book and being excited to discover who the cover artist was. Weird I know, but true. That’s actually how many of my clients find me today. Mom was always impressed to read my name on the books, as were the dates that I would take to B&N for that very purpose.

I originally got into designing book covers just out of art college. I was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a town that happened to have a couple of big book publishers. I met an art director from one of them at a  community college night class. He was gracious enough to give me my first cover assignment. After that, I worked in-house for a publisher, and then for a studio that focused on book cover design. I went solo with DogEared Design back in 2004. A scary jump, but not one I regret.

2. What are you most looking forward to at Realm Makers?

Definitely the people! Everyone was so crazy friendly. I think Teddi Deppner was the first person I met. She walked about a half mile in the heat with me to my car. Then helped unload my heavy display. I met so many cool people last year, some I had worked with but had not seen face to face, including Mike Duran (who did not punch me in the throat), Nadine Brandes, Ronie Kendig, and Steve Laube just to name a few. I probably grew the closest to Kerry Nietz. We were up late one night, driving around town, trying to find paint thinner. One of us had spray painted their hands as part of their “costume” and had to give a presentation the next day. Guess there’s paint that’s meant to go on skin and paint that’s not. Who knew? I’m looking forward to meeting Tosca Lee this year. I just finished a book cover for her. I worked through the publisher, so she wouldn’t have a clue who I am, but I love her writing!

3. What draws you to speculative fiction?

It’s by far the most fun genre to work on. I just did a cover that portrayed a fairy riding an owl for Enclave. What can be more fun to work on than that? Well, other than Amish zombies and vampires… Spec fic screams creativity.20589110

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4. Who is your favorite speculative fiction Hero(ine)?

Frank Peretti is the first name that comes to mind. I read his “This Present Darkness” books in college. They changed the way I looked at the world. The seen and the unseen. My dream was to do cover art for him. A dream that later came true a few times over.

5. When did you know this was the field for you?

I always knew I’d be doing some form of art. I think I knew I’d be focusing on book covers after that first project.

6. Will you be dressing up for the conference’s Costume Dinner?

I did last year, thus the spray paint on hands fiasco. If I do, it will be something less permanent.

7. Coffee or Tea?

Definitely coffee.

8. What as your favorite TV show as a kid? What is it now?

The Greatest American Hero. Firefly. I watched all of the original TV airings (out of order) and felt deep pain when it was canceled.

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It’s been great having you with us, Kirk! We are looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

kirkThrough the years Kirk DouPonce has designed over a thousand book covers for publishers in the US and the UK. His work has been showcased in Communication Arts Magazine and on his mother’s refrigerator. He’s been an industry judge for the Adobe MAX Awards and has led workshops at Publisher’s University, Realm Makers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conferences. He is a Hugo Award finalist for Best Professional Artist. Kirk lives in Colorado with his wife and their four Jedi children.

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