Blog > Graphic Design > Book Illustrations to Inspire You

Amazing Book Illustrations from the Designity Community

July 7, 2023
·
7
min read

Whether you’re an avid reader, a passionate writer, or just someone who appreciates the power of visual storytelling, you know that a good book illustration has the power to enhance your overall reading experience and really bring a narrative to life.

There really is no better way than a stunning visual to transport readers to different worlds, introduce them to new characters, and assist their imagination in conjuring up the images that enrich the written word.

We just love a good illustration, is what we’re trying to say.

Because illustrations are such a valuable tool, we’ve asked Designity’s own talented illustrators to provide us with some amazing examples to showcase for you today.

And, boy, did they deliver!

Get comfortable, because this blog is going to take us through 7 beautiful illustration styles to amaze, captivate, and inspire you.

The Green Samurai

A book cover illustration from "The Green Samurai."

Here’s a great submission to get us started! This entry is from CD Cristin and is a mesmerizing use of mixed media including captivating illustration and photography.

We love the use of the green dragon against the black-and-white. The type is a perfect choice too. Overall, a very clever use of overlapping elements and texture to add depth and dimension to this work of art.

Here’s a bit about Cristin’s approach.

“The client had a lot of ideas they wanted illustrated. I also had to keep in mind that this was a series of books, so the style had to follow the design illustrated in the previous covers. Balancing both was the tricky task with this, especially with a client that wasn’t quite sure what end result they wanted."

Fairy Tale

A Cinderella-inspired digital book illustration.

Senior Creative Meghan whipped up these digital illustrations for the Cinderella-esque fairy tale pictured in the above art!

The artwork was created in a personalized cartoony style, and utilizes vivid colors, bold shading, and simplistic backgrounds.



We’ll let Meghan explain her process in her own words:



“I really wanted to emulate the classic fairy tale styles seen in stories from the Brothers Grimm for example, while adding my own modern inspiration as well. I focused heavily on making poses smooth and relaxed, as well as creating compelling, memorable character designs that would enchant the viewer.”  

Wit & Wisdom

Color-treated photo used as the cover illustration for "Wit and Wisdom."

We’re digging these color-treated photos used for the cover art of this book of inspirational quotes.

What better to depict “Wit and Wisdom” than the sunrise imagery pictured above?

CD Catherine has this to say about her artwork:

"When it comes to book design, one thing to remember is that you can also start simple with strategically color-treated photography that helps your titles and series feel cohesive and on-brand. Just don't forget small details like wrapping your imagery around the spine of the book and keeping your color contrast accessible."

Amanda Wakes Up

A book illustration for the title, "Amanda Wakes Up."

Who would have thought a pair of red pajamas could make such a cool book cover illustration?

But cool illustrations, they definitely make! We especially love the great use of closure in the pajama painting and the minimal, hand-written quality of the text.

A great piece by Senior Creative Emma! (And get used to her, because she is the artist of the next three entries too!)

Here’s a little about her process:

“Amanda Wakes Up was a delight. The cover is sophisticated and cozy. I started by creating the watercolor element by hand, and dissecting the cover type for any relevant letters to repurpose. Choosing a font for the content was the biggest challenge; not many serif fonts have contrasting letterforms that work for body copy, and that was really important to me. That cream color is to die for, and I’m happy I chose to incorporate the texture throughout.”

A Stranger in the House

A book illustration for "A Stranger in the House."

It’s always great when a book cover sets the tone of what the story is about.

This is very much the case in “A Stranger in the House,” where Emma has once again crafted a compelling book cover to match the tone of this thriller. 

The imagery and the spooky type are used to great effect!

Emma says:

“A Stranger in the House was the follow-up to The Couple Next Door, so we knew it was going to be a bestseller, which is always exciting. The copy was also unique in that it was broken up into suspenseful stand-alone sentences which played nicely into the almost glitchy, ghost-like feel of the cover typography. I manipulated some images of frames to emulate the textures used, and the rest of the design really relied on type treatments! It was really fun.”

You, Me, Everything

A book cover illustration for "You, Me, Everything."

We love the serene, picturesque quality of this French countryside landscape.

It’s very reminiscent of van Gogh-style impressionism and is a perfect way to set the tone for the story in “You, Me, Everything.”

Here’s a little about Emma’s process:

“You, Me, Everything is so illustrious and colorful, every piece of the cover is hand-crafted and equally unique. This created a really fun challenge in digital painting. I recreated the landscape with larger color fields using various Photoshop brushes. I extended the same technique to the edges of the content panel, ensuring a seamless integration without any sharp corners or lines. To complement the playful nature of the cover, I chose a rounded and bold font, allowing for the application of colors that harmonize with the unique elements of the design.”

Can You Tolerate This?

A book cover illustration for "Can You Tolerate This?"

Another piece by Emma!

She’s created a very interesting topographical effect here using layers designed to look like colorful pieces of felt.

A bit more about Emma’s aproach:

“The highlight of creating Advanced Reader Copies is when the cover art comes through, because a book will be in your workload that you haven’t seen yet. Can You Tolerate This? was really funny to have on my board, it was almost a daily therapeutic check-in. This cover is really cool. I’d never seen a felt texture in a print piece before, and the Photoshop file was insane. Luckily, I had rights to the art, so I was able to dissect the file to repurpose elements throughout, and there was a distinct color palette built in.”

For more of Emma’s amazing book cover illustrations, check out her website.

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Illustration: An Inspiring Visual Journey

As artists and creators, it is important to explore different types of illustration styles to open your eyes to all of the creative possibilities out there that you might not have experienced otherwise!

These examples are just a glimpse into the vast realm of possibilities that exist in the world of book illustrations. We hope you have enjoyed and if this blog has inspired you to create some illustrations of your own, then please do so!

And share them with us in our next round-up to inspire even more creatives like you!

Which book illustration was your favorite?

Special thanks to Creatives Emma and Meghan, and CDs Cristin and Catherine!

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About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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