Look at what a budget can do for your crappy photos

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Got the latest Entertainment Weekly in the mail. Couldn’t figure out why I found the cover illustration of JK Rowling somewhat odd, but upon flicking through the magazine to the story on her I realized what it was. The photograph of her was obviously just a good shot from a book signing… a well-lit book signing, but nevertheless a book signing, and didn’t look posed, it was probably just the best of the bunch. So then the illustrator worked around her adding all the Harry Potter-esque elements and came up with a pretty decent (but weird looking to my eyes) cover.

I’m mentioning this here because I can remember literally dozens of occasions where I’ve had to work with the best of a crappy set of photos in order to come up with something acceptable for publication, for a budget of exactly zero dollars. I wouldn’t want to guess how much this illustration cost (there is another full-page illustration inside the magazine of Rowling), or how short a turn-around time the illustrator was given. Also, it did strike me as a little odd that EW wouldn’t have had access to studio-shot stock of Rowling that could probably have been used to better effect. However I’m not knocking the work, it’s effective, very seasonal and unmistakably Potterfied. I also think it’s quite a departure from the usual crap on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, and even though she’s on there in large part due to the success of the movies, it’s nice to see a writer as opposed to an actor or model being recognized like this.

p.s: The illustrator’s name is Matt Mahurin.

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