13 Artists Create Original Covers for Their Favorite Books

If a cover serves as an introduction to a book, allow these classic titles to reintroduce themselves.

book cover

“You can’t judge a book by its cover,” they say. But let’s be honest, you sort of can. And isn’t that, like, the point of a cover: to catch your eye, to entice you, to offer a clue as to what’s inside?

If a book’s pages are supposed to be striking, provocative, and unforgettable, shouldn’t we hold the same standards for its façade? Below, meet 13 artists who certainly think so, each of who has dialed up a re-imagined and wholly original cover to one of their favorite books. If a cover serves as an introduction to a book, allow these classic titles to reintroduce themselves.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Book Covers
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“I wanted the cover to have a sense of darkness and innocence to it, much like the book itself. There’s an innocence in the way young girls experiment with makeup, sometimes even writing on mirrors with it. Lipstick, a trope of femininity, is meant to draw attention and/or sexualize. But a destruction and repurposing of lipstick can be a rejection of those premises, a way to express femininity or sense of self or sexuality as one sees fit, not as one has been told to do.” —Elyssa Goodman (Instagram: @missmanhattanny)

Get recommendations for the greatest books around straight to your inbox every week.

Dune by Frank Herbert

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

Dune was a mind-expanding book for me when I first read it. Dune is an epic that birthed the space opera, the rock that modern sci-fi was built on. Readers are presented with themes of power, religion, politics, environmentalism, imperialism, and more, woven into a complex and twisting narrative. Once you read Dune, you’ll see its fingerprints all over pop culture even today.” —Luke Patton (Instagram: @lukepatton) (photo credit: Erg Chebbi)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“I wanted to choose materials and images that could both carry the anxiety and weight of the double life Dorian led within that time period, but could also let the softness and carelessness of his beauty and youth exist. Flash on skin, pressed flowers, a black and white image of scrappy leaves, old illustrations of well-dressed men—as individual pieces, they are all preservations of something, but together they feel like they can create moral tension.” —Carmen Daneshmandi (Instagram: @carmendaneshmandi)

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“I chose Anne of Green Gables because it reminded me of my childhood. Like me, Anne was a daydreamer, making every day magical in her own little way.” —Lacee Swan (Instagram: @laceeswan)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“I’m admittedly not much of an illustrator, but I’ve always had a thing for lettering, typography, ambigrams, etc. I often doodle this way during meetings, latching on to phrases that I want to remember later. So I figured I’d play to my strengths, and weave in some illustrations with the actual title: part of the ‘n’ in ‘Lion’ doubles as a tooth, the ‘w’ in ‘Witch’ helps form her crown, and so on.” —Matt Cone (Instagram: @mwcone)

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“To be a feminist means demanding equality and inclusivity, a concept that this book advocates for. However, since selecting this book, Adichie’s recent trans exclusionary comments are in direct opposition to its message, which makes it more important than ever to fight for the rights of people who are gender oppressed. For this cover, it was important to illustrate the complexity of something simple. This piece explores the hidden communication and relationship between material and form, similar to the often masked realities of sexual politics. My work reports a subconscious emotional expression of color and life that define ideas of feminism and equality and inclusivity.” —Nina Dine (Instagram: @ninardine)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“We often focus on the prince, his travels, and his interactions with the pilot, but in reality, it’s all about his rose—he was willing to give up his physical shell to be with her again…[This piece] is an aged-up interpretation of the moment the prince realizes that no matter how many roses there are, his is special because it belongs to him and he belongs to her.” —Bernardo Margulis (Instagram: @this_makes_me_happy)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“The last chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude still haunts me to this day, making this book one of my favorite reads. It’s the perfect alchemy of tragedy, love, and magic.”Sunny Facer (Instagram: @sunnyfacer)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“The media used for this included paper, dry cement, and gravel. The process required an overhead camera above the artwork. I had spread pounds of dry cement and gravel on top of black paper and used my finger and a paintbrush to draw out each letter. Four separate shots were stitched together in Photoshop.” —Pierce Streiff (Instagram: @HeyPiercey)

Dracula by Bram Stoker

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“I used oil paint and paper to create the foundation. And for the letter, I actually used a digital platform to lay the letters down. I usually never use any digital platforms when I work but fonts are tricky beasts. My other works are entirely all physical, tangible pieces that are made up of various types of paint, paper, canvas or wood.” —Milo Matthieu (Instagram: @MiloMatthieu)

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“Central to Giovanni’s Room for me is its context—its place in time—Paris (ironically ‘the city of love’) in the 1950s, and how the landscape of desire and queer ache that the characters experience are mirrored and refracted by the physical landscape of bohemian Paris itself—winding side streets, old buildings, night shadows and stones. I also wanted it to look like it’s a mass-market paperback from the 1950s, one I might have in my back pocket if I were wandering around looking for love and trouble in Paris.” —Rex Leonowicz (Instagram: @rexylafemme)

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“I’ve always been a fantasy fan, and this trilogy elevates the genre. There are so many layers of love: a strong, lovably flawed heroine, daemon animal companions as an outward manifestation of their human’s deepest character, heartbreak, and all-encompassing love. When I was working at bookstores, I recommended this to both young people and adults.” —Mei Levenson (Instagram: @meilev)


The Very Hungry Caterpillar
 by Eric Carle

book cover
Click the image to enter to win a framed print of this book cover!

“Since the graphics in the original book contribute so much the magic, I definitely could not stray too far from the painted cut-out aesthetic. I chose to do this leaf mosaic to symbolize the extensive journey to transformation (a message we can all relate to). At the same time, I wanted to allude to the wonderful end state by hiding the shape of a butterfly within the different colored leaves.” —Kim Li (Instagram: @kimbliiiiiii)

 


Featured image: Death to Stock Photo

About Ben Kassoy

Ben Kassoy

BEN KASSOY is the Editor-in-chief of the DoSomething.org, the co-author of eight books, and a former online columnist for Glamour and Details. Read Ben’s work on his website or say hey on Twitter.

  • carltodasco

    wow

[email_signup id="4" download="http://www.readitforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/bookmarks_pens_withlogo.jpg" success="Success! Click below to get your bookmarks."]