Hi everyone, welcome to the second installment of my cover design project that I still haven’t thought of a more concise name for! If you missed the first one/are wondering why the hell I’m doing this you can check out this post but the short answer is because I can and it’s fun.
This time around I decided to do Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle Quartet. As pretty much anyone who has ever talked to me before can probably tell you, I’m a massive Maggie Stiefvater fan and this series is my all time favorite of hers. While I really love her actual covers, I decided I wanted to make my own because of aforementioned superfan status and the whole thing where it’s fun and I can.
The last time around I focused on typography, this time I wanted to do something a little more image-y. While all of the main characters are key to each book, I loved the idea of representing each book with one of the four core characters (sorry Noah, but I’m treating you like a wildcard for reasons). I also really loved the cameo thing that Blue Lily, Lily Blue and kind of reimagined the rest (or in the case of the yet unreleased Raven King cover, imagined) how that could’ve played out across all four covers.
I gave The Raven Boys to Blue. You can make a pretty solid case for making Blue Lily Lily Blue Blue’s book but I went with Raven Boys because it’s the beginning and Blue’s tarot card is the Page of Cups which represents beginnings and potential. For all of these covers I wanted to do a combination of super vivid imagery and a combination of brush texture and swirly shapes to frame the imagery and give it a wild, magical vibe. I used one of my favorite handwriting fonts and a watercolor paper texture to give them a sort of personal, hand made, one might even say journal sort of feeling. For Blue/The Raven Boys I went with a gnarly, epic tree for Cabeswater/vision tree reasons and the night sky to represent Blue’s desire for something more. I liked the juxtaposition of ground and sky for Blue as a nod to her internal practical vs fanciful conflict and also because the similar but also opposite thing plays into the whole mirror theme of the series.
There’s no question that The Dream Thieves is Ronan’s book. Equally obviously Ronan’s cover had to have something to do with ravens (hence, the feathers) and something glorious, beautiful and destructive as hell like, oh, say, a fiery explosion. For Ronan’s embellishments I wanted something a little spikier and wilder than the vine-y things I went with for Blue and just barely peaking out around the edges.
I ultimately decided to make Blue Lily, Lily Blue Adam’s book because I feel like this is the book where Adam finally starts to get a grip on who he is and what he’s about. I went with cathedrals and ripples to represent something high level and metaphorical about having a lot going on beneath the surface and also literally represent a certain church scene. I added some naturey things creeping around the edges for [spoilers].
For The Raven King I went with Gansey because I figure if he’s going to die then the least I could do is put him on the cover. Keeping with the death theme, I went with misty graveyard/tombstone/skull imagery plus a raven because r(if you’ve read this series, duh). For the embellishments I went with some ornate, vaguely baroque-y flourish’s to convey a kind of royal vibe because Gansey is 100% Glendower in some way or the other and one day I will actually finish my essay laying this out with in-text citations. I clustered the brush texture around his head to represent a crown because I like to think I’m clever.
You may notice that some of the silhouettes are facing one way or the other. I’d love to tell you it’s for some genius high level reason like representing how Blue and Ronan tend to think more along the lines of each other and ditto Adam and Gansey but that was pointed out by Ellis. I was just making the ships look at each other when the covers are lined up like they are above because I know what I’m about.
What do you guys think? What are some other covers you’d like to see re-imagined? I can’t promise I’ll end up doing your suggestions because I’m functioning on more of a when the inspiration strikes kind of schedule with these, but I’ll definitely let them percolate around in my brain to see if I come up with something.
Pssssssst! If you like these designs, book wraps and prints are available in my shop: Meg Makes Things. (/shameless self promo)