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Interview with a Cover Artist: Francis Accornero, One Who Made...

If you have seen a beautiful cover on a romance book, it may very well be by Franco Accornero. For cover artists, he’s as well known amongst romance authors as Fabio and as varied of an artist as Nora Roberts. He’s the master of the stepback, whether it be beautiful ladies or eerie settings. In the 2006 Cover Contest, Accornero won for best Two Image Category. While his father urged him to be an engineer, Accornero eventually followed his heart to benefit of the romance community.


prince-of-pleasure-d_68ac6d.jpgJane: What is your background?

Accornero: Oh, my background…my father told me when I was a teenager ‘so you want to be an artist? I still remember…it was a hot  summer day in Naples, Italy. ‘Yes pa ,you see i have some talent with my drawings…’ 

He replys:  ‘So you want to starve?’ He was an engineer, he had a great job and money was good. "You will be an engineer like me, and you will get a good job that will guarantee your future."

I became an engineer and worked in Rome as such at the Ministry of Transportation for 9 long years. I came to the US  via …marriage in ’ 71 and went to the Art Student League where I studied portrait and landscape painting. I took courses at Visual Art Institute also in New York City focusing on composition and  understanding color.

a-knights-vow-author.jpgJane: How is it that you began to do cover art for books?

Accornero: I met an agent  in a department store, I showed him  my work and few weeks later I landed my first job. It was a cover for a ghothic  book (girl running from a spooky mansion at night wearing a flowing nightgown. After that I was busy with that kind of books for a long time, the company was Signet part of New American Library. Bantam Books, Kensington, Penguin, and Harlequin were the others I worked with.

…And then was romance…

With romance one has to have a special feeling recognizing what makes an image appealing and romantic, color, position of the people, costumes if any, and composition.

Jane: How do you start a project? Are you contacted by the publisher? or author?

Accornero: It is the Art Director of the publisher house that contacts me. Editors have a major input on the content of the cover and at times the author also a has few  suggestions

307.jpgJane: How many different publishers do you work for and in what genres?

Accornero: I worked, and still work, with all the major publisher houses in the US and abroad, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Japan where lately are buying 2nd rights for covers made in the States.

Horror, mystery suspense are also what I like. I worked on many covers for Steven King and Dean Koontz.

Jane: What are your primary tools? Ink, Oils, Photoshop?

Accornero: Until 12 years ago I worked in oil. Computer is now my main tool to create covers. The process is still the same: reading a manuscript or synopsis, choosing models, arranging a shooting in the studio, taking pictures and than picking the right pose. At home I have a great collection of backgrounds, landscapes castles, skies, trees etc. In my last trip in Scotland I took a lot of pictures of that magical land that I keep on using.

Digital imaging is becoming the main media right now, it makes it easier to change colors  backgrounds, size of things and it is faster in a fast world we are living in. I paint in oil only for my fine art. I do portraits and landscapes on commission. You can browse my web site at

189.jpgJane: What is your monthly output?

Accornero: My monthly output is an average of 8-10 covers.

Jane: Do you have a favorite art period or artist?

Accornero: One of my favorite artist is Sargent , so as a period in time I would say late 1800 and early 1900.

Jane: Are you a reader and if so, who are a few of your favorite authors?

Accornero: Favorite authors? Many in romance .Fern Michaels. Linda  Lael  Miller. Hanna Howell.

Jane: Are there covers you wish you had created?

Accornero: I wish I  had worked on the covers of Ann Rice….

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Charlene Teglia
    Jul 02, 2007 @ 14:57:29

    Beautiful work.

  2. Sher
    Jul 02, 2007 @ 20:45:11

    I’m very glad you’re spotlighting cover artists. I’ve always been interested in who they are and how they do what they do.

  3. Robin Schone
    Jul 03, 2007 @ 11:22:30

    I love Franco Accornero. He did the cover for The Lover, with that beautiful peacock feather.

    If anyone wants to see it, you can do so here:

    Thank you for featuring cover artists. I love reading about their work, and what inspires them. Too bad FA doesn’t have a page featuring all of his covers.

  4. Cathy Loomis
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 16:52:56

    I am LUCKY enough to have purchased on of Franco’s art paintings and it hangs with pride at our house. It will be treasured and a family heirloom for years to come. Thanks!

  5. Linda Mose Meadows
    Jun 24, 2010 @ 11:47:21

    If you really admire his artistic gift, be sure to visit his website. You’ll appreciate and love his work all the more! Franco’s masterful art is simply beautiful!

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