Book Covers… Anew!

We’re all familiar with classic books (hence we call them “classic”). But along with the memorable stories they tell, these books have relatively well-known cover art. We’re betting that if you’re asked about the cover of Catch 22 or a Salinger novel, you’ll have something in mind. For that reason, we at eNotes thought it might be fun to take a look at some landmark titles and imagine what different, updated covers could look like. Below are five “covers” imagined (and painstakingly created) by yours truly!


White Fang by Jack London

Inspiration for this cover came from just about where you would expect: White Fang himself. The novel focuses on the protagonist, a dog/wolf hybrid named White Fang. Throughout the story, our canine leader is taken from place to place and home to home, becoming increasingly embittered as he goes. Eventually it seems things might work out for him, but you’ll have to read the novel to know for sure.

Because White Fang is mostly wolf, he is on multiple occasions ostracized from his full-dog companions, and this leads to a sense of isolation and loneliness. Therefore, I’ve drawn him alone in a seemingly cold forest.


Robin Hood by Unknown*

I’ll direct anyone unfamiliar with the story of Robin Hood to an iconic scene in Shrek where an animated Robin sings with his “merry men” in an effort to save the princess from the dreadful ogre and his talkative donkey—this is really a good depiction, if a little…sillier…than the original telling. After all, Monsieur Hood does “steal from the rich and gives to the needy, he takes a little for himself, but he’s not greedy”!

Inspiration for this piece came less from the story itself and more from the time period from which it emerged. Thus I went with a wood-like background and medieval folksy font. The figure of Robin Hood is black and white to show his character as a two-sided figure.

Scan 1

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula has been made, remade, re-imagined, made fun of, altered, re-told, etc. more times than can possibly be iterated. The original tale as written by Stoker was based on Prince Vlad III of Wallachia, who was posthumously awarded the title of “Vlad the Impaler” (this man is fascinating and creep-tastic—I recommend looking him up).

The novel is about, as you would imagine, a count/vampire that terrorizes Northern Europe. He begins with an English solicitor and moves on to the conversion and murder of countless victims. It’s a great and creepy story that makes you want to snuggle with a blanket and tea—after you’ve locked the doors and windows, of course.

To create this image, I looked into the dramatic representations of Dracula made popular by the cinematic visualization of the 1930s. I used cartoonish drama to represent both the Count and his victim, and bright colors to bring the bloodiness to life (ignore how gross that sounds).


Beowulf by Unknown*

As a story, Beowulf is old—as in written in Olde English kind of old. A story that has been around that long is sure to be full of some interesting details—in this case an overabundance of nasty monsters, a monarchy, some battles with the aforementioned monsters, a lot of gold, and dragons to protect said gold (and battle with ol’ Beowulf himself). Though the original writing is rather difficult to get through (it usually takes a scholar to decipher the Old English), the tale itself is really fantastic and translations are worth the effort if you like fantastical adventures.

I drew inspiration from the character Beowulf and one of his adversaries—that dragon I mentioned earlier. Color was strategically chosen to highlight characteristics I saw as important to the story, such as the brightness of the flame, which could indicate both the bright fierceness of Beowulf’s character or the fierceness that comes with fire.


The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

This short story by our master of goth, Mr. Poe, is one of his more famous tales. You may already know that this story features two primary characters, an elderly man with a ghostly eye and his more youthful roommate. The younger man, though friendly with his older companion, finds himself loathing the other man’s cloudy and sightless eye. Increasingly disturbed by the eye’s perceived eeriness, the younger man spies on the old man and eventually murders him. Later, upon inspection by police (and a fit of madness), the young man confesses to the murder, all while imagining that he hears the beating of the old man’s heart.

This cover art was inspired by all of the description above. The old man’s eye is of course the most prominent feature, and its pupil is replaced by the panic-stricken heart. Because the eye described in the story is lacking a pupil, I put the heart in its place. The black bars to the side are meant to represent the caretaker peeking through the door to watch the elderly man sleep.

*We say “Unknown” because these texts are either so old or so commonly reproduced that the identity of the original author has, sadly, been lost.