Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin - Designer

Milledgeville, GA, USA

I'm an illustrator and designer specializing in book covers, with Simon and Schuster, The New Yorker, Forbes, and City Opera among clients.

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Overview

Of all the things I've done as a visual artist, from doing illustrations for The New Yorker to writing and illustrating children's books to drawing story boards for movies and doing caricatures aboard the QE2, none have given me more pleasure than designing book covers. As the author of several of my own books, I know just how meaningful and powerful a well-designed cover can be. It saddens me when a worthy book, one that an author has put years into, doesn't get the sort of cover it deserves. It's more than a shame; it's a crime. The same level of training and skill should go into the cover as into what's inside. Assuming they care about their book, by no means should an author have its cover designed by an amateur. Knowing InDesign does not make one a designer!

My process is pretty straightforward. Typically authors send me a galley and synopsis of the book in question, along with any ideas they or their publisher may want to bounce off me, and — when relevant — any illustrations or images the author may have in mind. Since my work tends to be more on the graphic side, I may or may not incorporate images directly; but if it an image can work with a design I have in mind, then I’ll try. Anyway, the first stage consists of my creating several (1-5, depending on rate) concept jpegs (typically, those I consider strongest among a dozen or so sketches that I’ll do for myself). Assuming one of the concepts meets with the author's favor, they (or their editor) will share it with other concerned parties ( the marketing team). If approved, or approved with changes, assuming a full cover (front and back) is desired, once blurbs, bar codes, etc. are available, I will go on to produce a camera-ready PDF for the full cover, including the spine.
Languages
English
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits
Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Fiction
Classics
Dystopian
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Poetry

Awards

  • Housatonic Book Award
  • Faulkner-Wisdom Prize for Best Novel
  • Finalist, AWP Award for Fiction
  • Finalist, AWP Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner, Helen Lemme Award

Work experience

Peter Selgin, Designer

Self-employed
April, 2017 – Present (over 4 years)

Though my background in the visual arts extends over forty years, to when I studied fine art, illustration, and graphic design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, book cover design is something I've only been doing for a few years. That said, nothing has given me more pleasure. As an author myself (of fiction and nonfiction), I know only too well how important a book cover can be, how pleasing it is to see one's book well-designed with an attractive, alluring cover that captures the essence of what's inside. I also know how disappointing it can be when a cover doesn't capture that essence. I work hard to give my clients the very best covers for their books—the sort of covers you would expect to see on a classic. That is my specialty.

Illustrator / Painter

Self-employed
July, 1992 – August, 2011 (about 19 years)

Freelance painter and illustrator with American Express, Xerox Corporation, British Airways, BritRail, Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, Volkswagen, Canon Corporation, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Outside Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, Italian Food & Wine Magazine among clients.

Portfolio (29 selected works)

Cesare

Jerome Charyn

“Charyn’s blunt, brilliantly crafted prose bubbles with the pleasure of nailing life to the page in just the right words. . . . [Cesare is] provocative, stimulating and deeply satisfying.” —Washington PostOn a windy night in 1937, a seventeen-year-old German naval sub-cadet is wandering along the seawall when he stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man ... read more

“Charyn’s blunt, brilliantly crafted prose bubbles with the pleasure of nailing life to the page in just the right words. . . . [Cesare is] provocative, stimulating and deeply satisfying.” —Washington PostOn a windy night in 1937, a seventeen-year-old German naval sub-cadet is wandering along the seawall when he stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man ... read more

Murmur

Eaves, Will

Mamaji: A Memoir

Haqq, Elisheba

Aseroë

Dominique, François, Sieburth, Richard, Limoli, Howard

Sergeant Salinger

Charyn, Jerome

Tacoma Stories

Wiley, Richard

A Song of War

Faulk, Robert

Bon Vivant: Essays

Iacuzzo, Charles

Duplicity

Selgin, Peter

The Reincarnations

Elias, Nathan

Concord

Zancanella, Don

Peter has 13 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Jan Ford-Chisholm
Peter's experience and insight helped with so many aspects of the book not just the cover. Working with him was beyond my expectations.

Jan Ford-Chisholm, February 2021


Kenneth Arthur
I will only use Peter Selgin for any cover designs in the future! Very impressed with what he did for me. Everyone just loves it. 100% recommended.

Kenneth Arthur, January 2021

Peter Selgin
Thank you, Kenneth. It was a pleasure to work with you and I welcome the opportunity to do so again. —Peter

Reply from Peter Selgin


Charles Iacuzzo
Peter was an excellent collaborator. He presented me with a design that perfectly captured what I was looking for even though I wasn’t initially sure of what I wanted. The entire process was smooth and the few minor adjustments that were needed were performed quickly and professionally. Hope to work with him again in the near future. Thanks Peter!

Charles Iacuzzo, September 2020

Peter Selgin
Thanks, Charles. Working with you was a distinct pleasure. I wish you and Bob Vivant! all success.—Peter

Reply from Peter Selgin


Walter Cummins
Peter created visually striking covers that captured the content and mood of the books. His first drafts were just right.

Walter Cummins, September 2020


Nathan Elias
As always, Mr. Selgin is a top-quality collaborator. Insightful, visionary, and pragmatic. Peter will not only help your concept reach fruition, but he will also surprise you with subtle nuances and innovate artwork that could only come from such an artist, scholar, and writer. With Peter, you're getting the whole package. Expect to be blown away with any art you receive and relieved that your ...
Read more

Nathan Elias, August 2020

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