Ball point pen on the morning newsprint

As the world economy sinks into crisis, people are seeking refuge in the world of romance and happy endings. As newspapers and magazines continue to loose money and close their doors, sales of romance novels are once again on the rise. Harlequin Enterprises, the world's leading publisher of romance novels, reported that fourth-quarter earnings were up 32 percent over the same period last year. Donna Hayes, Harlequin's chief executive, said that sales in the first quarter of this year remain very strong.

While I'm working in my studio, I always have a TV on in the background tuned to a cable news station. I just happened to be working on a commission from Harlequin when this story came over the air. I can't help having mixed feeling about this story. While I know many are suffering under this bad economy, I can't help being glad that sales are up and proud that the covers I paint might have played even the smallest role in helping some escape the realities of this difficult time.

  1. Pat D
    April 10, 2009 -

    Hi Larry, I think about a children's book FREDERICK by Leo Lionni.....it's a good thing. Have a good holiday. Pat

  2. April 10, 2009 -

    I saw the Today programme clip, Larry (I caught a glimpse of my cover -- I hope it was one of yours!) In bad times people have always looked for an uplifting, happy ending, story. Good for the bookshops as well as us. Great sketch of Donna! Happy Easter.

  3. April 10, 2009 -

    How interesting! Well, you know they say the movies have done well too -- escapism in all forms. That's good news for you, then! Excellent!

  4. April 10, 2009 -

    Larry, question, oil, acrylic or other? And how long does a cover take? hours, days? Are there a number of edits from the Art Director or possibly the editor and author? (Sorry for the million questions, I'm just really curious.) Romance Boat is my favorite out of that collection. I like to think that it is usually the cover that grabs the readers attention.

  5. April 10, 2009 -

    Harlequin is celebrating it's 60th year with a show of cover art this summer in New York. As the magazine business declined and the few that survived used less and less traditional illustration, many realist painters/illustrators found work in the burgeoning paperback industry. That was before my time but by the time I graduated college, their was a tradition of realist painters in the industry. I loved painting figures in environments and it was a natural fit for me. I have been very fortunate to have been commissioned to paint hundreds of covers for Harlequin, the vast majority in oil. In recent years I have adapted to painting with a stylus on a tablet to keep up with industry trends. Although the deadlines are shorter now than when we were all painting in oils, there are still stages to completing a successful cover that does indeed involve the input from many talented art directors. If your interested <a href="http://community.eharlequin.com/node/142913" rel="nofollow">here is an interview</a> I did that explains the process.