Top Ten Tuesdays – Favorite Cover Artists and Illustrators

Anybody who has read a random handful of my reviews knows that I’m heavily influenced by cover art. I’ll buy a book with an ugly cover if the story interests me, sure. But if there’s a great cover, it’ll make me look twice and see if I like the premise. Covers are powerful and can help jump-start a reader’s imagination.

My personal preferences are simple. I like when a cover is made especially for a book or a series. I like series that have consistent covers (makes it look really nice on the shelf). Whether it’s a vague landscape or a character’s face on the cover, I don’t care. I love me some mythological creatures and I enjoy strong colors. I’m also a fan of simple designs but in order not to be boring here, I picked somer more  interesting and detailed works fo art.

Creative covers – such as Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey color-by-numbers hardback cover – should get a special honorable mention here.

I’ve included links to ever artist’s homepage (clickety-click on the name) and a few of my favorite covers by them. I don’t mention other art in this post (done for computer games etc.) but it’s well worth checking out.


(click the pictures to biggify :))

Jason Chan

He is a very recent favorite of mine but boy, did he take my heart by storm. I love the somewhat sweet and childlike art that suits YA fantasy novels and more serious adult epics alike. Some of his cardgame art is super creepy and there is some awesomely weird stuff in there. Also, he seems to have a thing for white-haired girls. Very pretty.

Favorite cover art includes: The Princess Curse, Stormdancer, So Silver Bright, Pegaus, Geist,

Trina Schart Hyman

She draws the best squiggly lines in the world. It’s romantic, it’s sweet and it’s georgeous – I love her sketches as well as full colour pictures. I fell in love with her art when I got a beautiful hardback copy of Peter Pan (I own about 20 different copies of that book…) and couldn’t take my eyes of the drawings. I love how sometimes, just a bit of the picture goes over the border, like Wendy’s toe sticking out of the frame the Trina drew around her piece. Adorable, gorgeous and very much fitting the fairy tales she illustrated. I was extremely sad when I learned, a few years ago, that she passed away. I would have loved to see a ton more books illustrated by her.

Favorite cover art includes: Peter Pan, Snow White

John Howe

Everybody knows John Howe and he’s an old favorite of mine. I love his Lord of the Rings art but the reason I appreciate him as a cover artist is Robin Hobb’s work. Every cover for her trilogy of trilogies shows characters, scenes, places from the novel. And while they’re not necessarily always the way I pictured them while reading, they are all beautiful. In this case, I’m not such a big fan of the sketches, more of the full-color art with epic scope and some interesting perspective.

Favorite cover art includes: Assassin’s Quest, Ship of Destiny, The Two Towers, The Once and Future King, Winter of the Raven

Stephan Martiniere

He is also a recent discovery of mine. There have been a few sci-fi and fantasy covers that blew me away because of their colors, their vivid detail and how the open up my imagination. I look at those books and already feel like I’m falling into a different world (which is exaclty what I want from a fantasy or sci-fi novel). The bright, strong colors catch your eye and the great scenery, futuristic buildings and stunning details keep them there. I love these covers, especially in series and trilogies because they go together so well.

Favorite cover art includes: City Without End, Multireal, the Long Price Quartet (especially The Price of Spring)

Dan Dos Santos

He does very clean Fantasy art, usually settled in the paranormal genre. Varied characters, usually bad-asses (yay!) and some nice colours to set them off. I like how much character he puts into faces. No two faces are alike and they’re not all conventional. I also love how much movement he puts into his pictures. And yet again, the colors just make me want to grab those books and stare at them for a while.

Favorite cover art includes: Green, Iron Kissed (probably the only instance in which I’m okay with a tramp stamp), Fire Season, Switchblade Goddess, Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

Jon Foster

I adore all of the Cherie Priest covers Jon Foster did. They have a limited color scheme but are so evocative and original. And they make steampunk work entireyl without gears. I like it! The style is very oil paint-y and I love the crazy robots he comes up with.

Favorite cover art includes: Boneshaker, Dreadnought, Ganymede, In the Night Garden

Larry Rostant

He did the art for the (in my opinion) nicer editions of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling trilogy. Now this is photographic cover art, not drawing or painting but I felt that these covers deserve just as much credit and turned out as beautiful as some of the other artists’ mentioned here.

Favorite cover art includes: Glamour in Glass, Graceling, Fire, Sharps

Stephen Youll

Now this is kind of a tricky one and I debated putting him in my top ten. Because Stephen Youll has done some art that takes my breath away but he’s also done very, very cheesy art that may be traditional and all but that I don’t like at all. I still shudder at the Game of Thrones cover by him… But I do love me his dragons. They’re incredibly detailed and just the way I want dragons to look.

Favorite cover art includes: King of the Crags, Children of the Serpent Gate, Havemercy, The Winds of Dune

Steve Jones

An artist I didn’t know I liked. Lots of his cover designs have been favorites of mine – most of all the Memory, Sorrow & Thorn relaunch – but I didn’t know they were his work. So I went digging and found out that a lot more of my favorite covers were by Steven Jones.

Favorite cover art includes: Shadowplay, The Stone of Farewell (both versions), The Naked God, The Evolutionary Void

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