Thursday, March 5, 2009

Picturing the Regency

I have a new contest up on my website. If you'd like to enter it, please visit the home page http://www.lesleyannemcleod.com/ and go to the guestbook to sign up and be entered in the draw. The prize this time--for March and April--is a blank, lined journal with Shakoriel's Regency art on the cover. The journal is from our CafePress store, Regency Fancies www.cafepress.com/regencyfancies


When we started the CafePress store, I just wanted Shakoriel's Regency art to find a bigger market. It is so good, so evocative of the Regency period, that it seemed to me it deserved a larger audience than it could find if it remained only on my website.


I am so fortunate to have a resident artist. And I am so lucky she doesn't charge me an arm and a leg for every illustration. She's just starting out, glad for the commissions, and I'm happy to give her the work. Because you see, there just isn't a lot of Regency art available for use, for reasonable prices.

I need art for website information, for book trailers, for promotional materials and for covers. I comb out of copyright books (thank goodness for Google Books and Project Gutenberg), free clip art sites and Dover's invaluable clip art series for appropriate illustrations. There is a Regency romance writer who does a great deal of promotion, and she uses literally dozens of the grand Regency artworks to illustrate her essays, blogs and newsletters. I don't know how she affords it. I certainly can't. Most of the Regency art that you will see on book covers, websites and various publications is all copyrighted at stock art agencies. It costs a fortune to use original Regency art--at least $300-$500 for a single time use. Places like Mary Evans Picture Library, and Corbis.com, and Clipart.com, are invaluable, but they cost, big-time.


If the picture is from a book, you can't use it without permission or licensing. If it's on a website, you need to make sure it hasn't come from somewhere else without permission. I tried to get permission from the publisher to use Barbosa's art from Theresa Chris' out of print book. They didn't even answer my letter. So I am using it but with full attribution, and even then, it's a risk. The Internet is a huge problem for artists--as much as it makes their work available to the world, it also makes it available for pirating. As I work in the creative field, I am concerned about pirating. And I want my illustrations to be legal and above-board. But I do want to have lots of Regency art.

As I've said before I'm a visually oriented person. I want to see what the Regency looked like and I want to show my readers what it looked like. Shakoriel helps me do that.

Thanks, Shakoriel!

Till next time,
Lesley-Anne

1 comment:

Janet C. said...

Great post, Lesley-Anne! I'm so afraid of the copyright police - I always check and double check when I'm going to post something.

When we began the adventure known at Prairie Chicks Write Romance I thought it would be a great idea if I used a definition as part of my blog title (unique/something to set me apart from the other chicks). So, I wrote an e-mail to the dictionary people - you know the one with the hyphenated name - explaining my idea and asking what I needed to do in order to use those definitions. Yep, still waiting on a reply. Oh, well, it was a good idea:)

I'll be e-mailing Shakoriel soon to ask if she'll guest blog about her cover art.

Janet