Cover Design


011. La bête du Gévaudan, par Elie Berthet
Cover uploaded on December 28, 2022
Cover picture: Engraving, ca 1764, from the French volume Magné de Marolles

I love the movie Le Pacte des Loups (2001) with Vincent Cassel, based on the story of the ominous beast that is said to have terrorized the French region Gévaudan in the 18th century. So naturally I wanted to design the cover for this French novel based on the same tale. Here, you can see the beast sort of mounting his victim, a goodwife, and two valiant heroes trying to rescue her. Why do I feel that the illustration would have fitted the tale of Little Red Riding Hood just as well?

012. Mengelilingi Doenia Dalam 80 Hari, by Jules Verne
Cover uploaded on December 28, 2022
Cover picture: Illustration from Around the World in Eighty Days (1872) by Jules Verne, painted by Léon Benett (1838-1917)

Luckily, one does not have to read the book in order to design its cover. Mengelilingi Doenia dalam 80 Hari does not sound like I would know what it is about, but the name of the author, Jules Verne, combined with the number 80 gives an unmistakable clue: This is an Indonesian translation of Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. So I chose an illustration from the first edition of this world-famous French road novel. Here you see Phileas Fogg and his trusted valet Passepartout, both dressed to the nines in tie and suit, traipsing through the Indian jungle. In hindsight, a coloured frame would have done wonders for the overall design. It's definitely something I will keep in mind for future projects.

013. Bauern ABC, von Franz Graf von Pocci
Cover uploaded on December 28, 2022
Cover picture taken from the original book cover, 1856

This was done for a project in German, the project coordinator and reader is a friend of mine from the Palatinate, across the border from Luxembourg. The engraving on the cover is taken from the original volume. The simple outline in black-and-white works quite well here, and I love the illustration of the children up on the haystack. Rural and rustic, to-the-point and no-nonsense.

014. The Australian Explorers - Their Labours, Perils, and Achievements, by George Grimm
Cover uploaded on January 22, 2023
Cover picture: Return of Burke and Wills to Cooper's Creek by Nicholas Chevalier (1828-1902), taken from the book Australia (published 1873)

Another project for a friend of mine. The Australian Explorers cover brought back fond memories of translating the Australian bush poet Henry Lawson the year before. I really should be visiting down-under one day and meet Chris in person. If only I could get there without getting up in the air. Maybe ferry-hopping from Singapore along the Indonesian islands to Darwin would be an option. Should be feasible in six months or so. It would no doubt turn out just as adventurous a journey as the one of the 19th-century Europeans exploring the vast swathes of the Fifth continent.

015. The Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vol. I, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Cover uploaded on January 25, 2023
Cover picture: detail from Mozart's family (c. 1780) by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819) and excerpt from a letter by Mozart to his sister Nannerl (1770)

This seemed like a straightforward enough mission. I decided on a portrait of the famous composer and a letter by Mozart's own hand to his sister Nannerl as background. Unfortunately, the project leader was not too happy with my ideas, especially not with the colour palette that I had chosen. I know how horrible it is to have your project butchered by someone else's vision that is not your own, so I was more than willing to change whatever she did not like. Sadly, I couldn't get it quite right for her and in the end, I would have preferred to just hand the whole thing over to someone else more in tune with her ideas, but apparently the last draft was good enough. I still like the cover, but "good enough" is definitely not what I was striving for. Which reminded me, once again, that there's nothing more important than the people you choose to work with.

016. The Man in the Panther's Skin, by Shota Rustaveli
Cover uploaded on February 20, 2023
Cover picture: "Shota Rustaveli presents his poem to Queen Tamar" by Mihály Zichy (1827-1906).

A while ago, when I'd just returned from my travels to the beautiful country of Georgia, I had enjoyed reading Shota Rustaveli's famous epic The Man in the Panther's Skin. Medieval Georgia seemed to similar to Western Europe at the same time, with its beauti- and powerful queens, daring knights and eternal quests and always a troubadour at hand to sing of their exploits. So when my sister pointed this solo project out to me, I was eager to do the cover for it. The illustration by the Romantic Hungarian painter Mihály Zichy perfectly captures the aura of these long-gone times. Looking at the finished cover, I'm thinking back with longing to my trip to Tbilisi. I should really be going on a road trip again.

017. Studies in the Fairy Mythology of Arthurian Romance, by Lucy Allen Paton
Cover uploaded on March 10, 2023
Cover picture (detail): "Morgan-le-Fay" by Frederick Sandys (1829-1904).

Yet another Medieval-themed cover. From the Caucasus back to the British isles. Arthurian legends. Takes me right back to my studies at Düsseldorf University in the 1990s. Fond memories. The lore of these times will forever ring a chord in my soul. "Ancient legends of war are the wind in my sails", as a very gifted songwriter once wrote. And who could bring the images in my head better to life than a Pre-Raphaelite painter? I love this representation of Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys.

018. The Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vol. II, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Cover uploaded on April 8, 2023
Cover pictures: detail from "Mozart's family" (c. 1780) by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819) and excerpt from a letter by Mozart to his father (1777).

This was the second volume of the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I personally think it's best to keep to same theme within a series, so I proposed a similar cover to the first one, with very mixed feelings. I have no idea whether the soloist liked and really hated it, as I don't know her personally. Luckily, there was no third volume so this put an end to our cooperation.

019. The Apartment Next Door, by William Johnston
Cover uploaded on April 16, 2023
Cover picture (detail): illustration by Arthur William Brown (1881-1966) from the book edition of 1919.

A 19th-century crime novel. I haven't read the book but the summary sounded very enticing. I liked the illustrations in the book, they had such a Hitchcocky-vibe to them. So I chose one of them as the cover illustration, and all I really did was overlaying the black-and-white picture with a soft-blueish tinge. Neat and appealing, in my opinion.

020. Colin: A Novel, by E. F. Benson
Cover uploaded on April 30, 2023
Cover picture: Portrait of a Young Man, bust, likely a self-portrait (1653) by Leendert van der Cooghen (1632-1681).

I have not read the novel, but judging by the summary, Colin must be a captivating Dorian-Grayesque story. How to capture the calculating spirit of that cunning Machiavellian hero? After an extensive search on the net, my ingenious sister found this early self-portrait by the Dutch painter Leendert van der Cooghe. The eyes were just perfect! A look worthy of Damien. Evil incarnate in the sweetest possible disguise. I love it.


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