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    On my quest to being a book cover designer, I'm reading books and then designing new covers for them. These are a few of my latest…

Thanks for looking.

Matt Roeser
The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey is one of my favorite stories because of the epic scale of adventure in it. So, for my cover, I decided I couldn’t just pick one part of the adventure to illustrate and instead tried to give a sense of the plethora of bullshit Odysseus encounters, including my take on the Scylla, the whirlpool, Circe turning his men into pigs, visiting the underworld and talking to spirits, Poseidon’s trident, a saucy siren, and a cyclops. I just wanted to give someone looking at the book the idea that they’re in for an awesome adventure.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

After the popularity of my Shades of Grey cover, I thought I’d take on another Jasper Fforde book, so I turned to his first novel: The Eyre Affair.

The first in a series, it centers around literary detective Thursday Next, who lives in a world where the line between literature and reality becomes increasingly thin, allowing characters in the books and those in “real life” to jump in and out of novels. 

When a madman, Acheron Hades, enters the original text of Jane Eyre intent on changing the story forever, Thursday follows him in and tries to contain the chaos he causes.

For my cover, I portrayed a prim and proper copy of Jane Eyre with the story being torn apart and changed by Acheron as Jane Eyre hightails it out of there…
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

A mockup for Moby Dick by Herman Melville featuring the artwork of Jen Lobo.

I tried to take this classic that is often-times perceived to be boring and through unique imagery and having a bit of fun with the type, re-excite the book buyer that has previously passed this title by.
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde writes some awesomely fun fiction. He creates these slightly (or sometimes drastically) different versions of our world that border on the geniusly bizarre. 

For his latest series, Shades of Grey, Fforde has created a future version of our world where social class is determined by one’s ability to perceive color. No one can see more than their own color, and no one knows why— there are many unknowns ever since The Something That Happened. It follows the main character of Eddie Russett, a Red, as he beginnings to discover the truth behind the world he lives in.

In the book, when a person turns 20, they take the Ishihara to determine what color and how high of a percentage of it they can see (the more you can see, the higher your rank will be). 

Because the Ishihara is an actual test created to determine color-blindness, I used that as the basis for my design, having the title appear in red as Eddie would see it, among a sea of grey.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

A cover for one of my favorite children’s books of all time, James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl’s tale features title character James, who goes on a wild adventure after a gigantic peach grows in the tree by his house.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Definitely an interesting and mind-bending read, I can’t say that I completely understand everything Stephen Hawking lays out in A Brief History of Time, but it’s certainly cool to think about.

My cover uses the awesome desktop background artwork of Jon Ashcroft. Playing with the title text, I wanted it to serve as a staircase of sorts for the obsessed stargazer to get down into his telescope viewing room…
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Mary Roach is one of my favorite non-fiction writers. She picks a topic and then explores every aspect of it in a humorous and scientific way. Her past books include: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversSpook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science.

In her latest, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, she takes a look at the strange science of space travel, and the psychology, technology, and politics that go into sending a crew into orbit. She has an impeccable way of finding absurd and stranger-than-fiction tales to share that make it a hilarious and educational read.
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut 

Kurt Vonnegut is amazing. I remember tearing through most of his books in high school after readingSlaughterhouse-Five for English class. And although it’s hard for me to pick a favorite, The Sirens of Titanwould have to be it.

The book follows Malachi Constant, the richest man in 22nd-century America, on his journey back and forth across the universe, where he ultimately ends up on one of Saturn’s moons, Titan.
The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

If you were ever a fan of Bill Nye the Science Guy, you should check this one out. In The Disappearing Spoon, Science magazine reporter Sam Kean takes on the periodic table and tells short funny and interesting tales associated with each of the elements. 

For my cover, I used the periodic table as inspiration and flooded the space with random elements, leaving white space to fill in the shape of the disappearing spoon of the title.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of my favorite books. It centers around two magicians (the title characters) as they try to reintroduce magic into 19th century England. Think of it as The Prestige meets Charles Dickens. And just like the feuding magicians in The Prestige, the relationship between the two involves twists, betrayals and power struggles.

Because they’re always trying to one-up the other, I decided I would make dual covers, each showcasing one of the magicians, with the other being just out of the frame (and their name considerably smaller) allowing the reader to decide which character they prefer.
Oil! by Upton Sinclair

My design for the novel OIL! by Upton Sinclair featuring a plump oil baron who’s taken a quick break from counting his money and a type treatment for the title that looks like it’s left a slick sheen on the cover.

This book was the inspiration for the awesome film There Will Be Blood.
A Dead Bat in Paraguay by Roosh Vorek

A Dead Bat In Paraguay is about a 28-year-old man who decided that the best way he could deal with his existential crisis was to sell his possessions, quit his job as a scientist, and hop on a one-way flight to Ecuador in order to visit every country in South America. Along the journey he chronicles the friendships, the women, and the struggles, including one fateful night in Paraguay (referring to the title) that he thought would lead to his end.

For my cover, I took a modern approach to a map with the colors and the zig zag waves of the ocean. The dotted travel line represented both the author wandering around South America and the flight path of the soon-to-be-dead bat, each ending up in Paraguay. 
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois

Another one of my favorite children’s books, The Twenty-One Balloons is an adventure tale that I’ll let Wikipedia set up: The story begins with the rescue of Professor William Waterman Sherman, who was picked up by a steamship whilst floating among a strange wreck of twenty deflated gas balloons in the North Atlantic. Sherman, a recently retired schoolteacher, was last seen three weeks ago leaving San Francisco on a giant balloon, determined to spend a year drifting alone. The world waits breathlessly to find out how he could have circumnavigated the globe in record time and landed in the ocean with twenty balloons rather than the one with which he began his journey. After several days’ rest and a hero’s welcome, the professor recounts his journey before a captivated audience.

In my dream world, this would be a limited edition of 100, with each of the 21 balloons on the cover hand-pressed (in differing places each time) making each of the covers unique.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

For this literature classic, I sought to convey the chaos and division that happens in the story. In my design, the flies are acting as the children, grabbing what they can (in this case, the words that make up the title) and starting to break up into groups and section themselves off.
Milk Winter by Elizabeth McConaghy

My friend Beth writes essays and short stories. As a surprise to her, Kyle, her husband, wanted me to design a cover for her most recent collection of essays.

The title story, Milk Winter, deals with an unsavory spoiled-milk smell that’s lingering in their car throughout the winter. The cover depicts one of Kyle’s several attempts to purge the car of the smell, with his light footprints being printed (in my dream world) with an aqueous coating to give them a little sheen when tilted in the light.