Brideshead Revisited Book Cover

Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited was one of those books that I read back in high school and made a big impression on me. It has since become one of my favourites, but I never owned a copy, in part because I couldn't find a cover that I liked. In the end I bought a second-hand edition and created my own design to cover it.

This book evokes such a lavish setting and I wanted to make an illustrated cover to reflect the time period. I experimented with a few ideas, but the framed silhoutettes were what made the most sense to me.

All of the imagery used was custom made, apart from the author's name. For the title I experiemented with various styles of lettering, tracing and retracing until I was happy with the letter forms. Then I photographed it and imported it into Illustrator by tracing it with the pen tool. I then played around with the weight of the lines. The wallpaper was created using the same process.

In general I don't like to the see faces of characters illustrated on books, but I do like the use of profiles because they obscure the features and allow the reader to use their imagination.

For Sebastian's profile I used the pen tool to trace and modify a photograph. For Julia I made a copy of Sebastian's image which I reflected and tweaked to make more feminine. In the book the two are described as being very similar, so I wanted to honor that description.

Having the siblings illustrated in frames is supposed to reflect the way that our narrator Charles Ryder puts the two of them on a pedestal. He's always on the outside looking in and is never quite at their level, just like the reader.

The inclusion of Sebastian's teddy bear, Aloysius, adds a touch of humour and makes it less generic, preventing this from being confused with any other novel of the period.

The colours I chose are typical of interiors of the time. They are also perhaps more masculine, which contrasts with the more typically feminine lettering. I didn't want the cover to be gendered because it is a classic with universal appeal.