Why not judge a book by its cover: 5 best book cover artists of all time

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 08, 2016 15:06 IST
A well-done book cover can add tremendous aesthetic value to the theme of the story. (HarperCollins Publishers/Dell Publishing)

It is the cover of a book that sets it apart from a horde of others on the shelf. Book cover art, needless to say, is a genre of its own. Here, we take a look at some of the best-known book cover artists and some of their iconic designs.

Robert E McGinnis (1926)

Now 90, McGinnis is currently creating a whole new line of retro covers for paperback re-releases of Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ novels, soon to appear in adaptation on TV.

Read: Here’s why you should judge a book by its cover

It is estimated that the illustrator has produced over 1200 paperback covers, and more than 40 posters, his most famous being the iconic ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Diamonds are Forever’. He is most known for his romance novel covers and the ‘Hard Case Crime’ paperback series covers.

Robert C Stanley (1918-1996)

Stanley also worked at Dell Publishing, and was — alongside Gregg — known as one of the most prolific cover artists of his generation. Other well-known publishers that Stanley produced covers for include Bantam, Beacon, Lion Books, Popular Library and Pyramid Books.

James Avati (1921-2005)

The late James Avati is widely recognised as one of the greatest paperback cover illustrators of all time, even called the ‘Father of Paperback Book Covers’ and the ‘Rembrandt of Paperback Book Covers’.

Novelists he worked with during his career include William Faulkner, JD Salinger, John O’Hara, Mickey Spillane, Alberto Moravia, and James Michener. His work has been celebrated in a book ‘The Paperback Art of James Avati’, first published in 2005.

Robert Jonas (1907-2009)

Jonas’s work is some of the most collectible in the cover art industry thanks to his distinctive abstract style, clearly influenced by the Bauhaus school of art.

Read: Famous book covers get a digital, magical twist

Working principally for Penguin and Mentor Publishing, the graphic artist was also a close friend of the abstract-expressionist Willem de Kooning.

Gerald Gregg (1907-1985)

Known for his abstract approach and airbrush technique, Gregg worked as a cover illustrator for Dell Publishing for seven years, producing some of his most famous work for their mysteries, often using the office’s secretaries and stenographers as models.

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