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The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an odd saying; how else will a book draw your attention when walking through a store? Well-constructed book covers give potential readers an idea about what the book might be about, or even its genre. There’s no mistaking a book that has a person wielding fire with their hands on the cover for being a nonfiction book. Sure, the book might have elements of other genres present, but it’s probably safer to assume that it’s a fantasy novel. Here are five contemporary artists and the amazing fantasy book covers they have created:
Ivan Belikov is a Russian-born contemporary artist based in London, England whose works are heavily inspired by myth and folklore. Belikov produced original art for clients like Nike and Riot Games (League of Legends), as well as publishing companies like Bloomsbury and HarperCollins. He created the covers for Samantha Shannon’s Roots of Chaos series (The Priory of the Orange Tree, A Day of Fallen Night, and an announced to-be-named third book). While the covers for these books are fantastic in and of themselves, the design does not stop at the front cover, it wraps around the side and back of the books as well to deliver stunning visual artistry.
Charlie Bowater is an artist based in the United Kingdom who creates an incredible amount of book covers for a wide range of authors and publishing companies. Her resumé includes publishing houses like Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Bloomsbury. Alongside creating book covers, Bowater creates concept and marketing art for video games, illustrations for magazines, and editorial work for writers. She has created covers for multiple New York Times best-selling authors, including, Brandon Sanderson (Skyward series), Sarah J Maas (original covers for A Court of Thorns and Roses series), Margaret Rogerson (Sorcery of Thorns, Vespertine, An Enchantment of Ravens), and co-authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Aurora Rising series), among others. Bowater’s unique style is immediately recognizable and proof that book cover designs are a great way to discover art and the artists behind them.
Corey Brickley is an American artist, working as an illustrator and illustration teacher at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Their resumé includes Netflix (for the documentary series Wild Wild Country), publishers like Penguin, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and magazines like the New York Times, among others. Brickley is a contemporary artist working in a digital format and exploring surrealism and visual juxtaposition in their professional and original art. Brickley has created mesmerizing covers for several fantasy horror novels, including Rose Szabo’s What Big Teeth You Have, and Ryan Douglass’ The Taking of Jake Livingston. Brickley also created the cover for Chloe Gong’s upcoming title Immortal Longings, the first book in a new series that retells the story of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.
Tran Nguyen is a Vietnamese-born visual artist based in the United States with an incredibly impressive resumé. Her clients range from publishing companies (Tor Books, Penguin Random House, Knopf, and HarperCollins), to multimedia giants like Netflix and Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons), among many others. She has created covers both for young-adult and adult fantasy series, such as, Elizabeth Lim’s Six Crimson Cranes series and Spin the Dawn series, as well as Wesley Chu’s The Art of the Prophecy and Katrina Leno’s Horrid and You Must Not Miss. Nguyen’s works also include her 2021 solo exhibit titled Remedy displayed at the Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, California, as well as the 2020 group exhibit House of the Rising Light from the Dorothy Circus Gallery in London and Rome which showcased 42 artists, all with cultural roots in Asia.
Hailing from Colombia, Carlos Quevedo is a contemporary artist with a degree in Graphic Design. With a resumé that includes publishing companies like Random House, Bloomsbury, and Scholastic Press, Quevedo has created covers for authors like Sarah J Maas (Crescent City series), Daniel A. Reyes (The Essences), John Patrick Kennedy (Not Everything Dies and Mother of Chaos), and Nafiza Azad (The Candle and the Flame). He has also had his work featured in the UK editions of magazines, like Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative, among others. Though currently working as a full-time cover designer, he publishes his original art on his website.
Do you have any favourite book cover artists, either in the fantasy genre or other? Let us know!