One of my current favorite artists is illustrator and designer Chris Ware. He’s done some beautiful covers for some really great books, and it seems like a lot of modern book cover designers have been influenced by him over the past decade. His graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, is just as beautiful to look at as it is to read. Here’s the cover:
He illustrated and designed the cover for The Learners by Chip Kidd, the sequel to the excellent Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters:
His experience as an illustrator and graphic novelist inform his designs. He brings a comic book sensibility to his work, and he’s able to wield it with both lighthearted and breathtaking results. There are pages after pages of Jimmy Corrigan that look very cartoonish, but the colors and layout and pacing of his story create the kind of melancholy that really makes you want a hug.
He’s also gotten into some trouble. In 2010, he was commissioned to illustrate the cover for Fortune magazine, but the editors felt his commentary was a little too piercing. Huffington Post has a good article about it, with some cool closeups.