DUNE - Cover re-design | Skillshare Projects

Mark Geary




DUNE - Cover re-design

Dune is a science fiction story that takes places centuries in the future. The book deals with a wide array of themes from ecology and religion to drug addiction and economics. I first discovered this story not by reading it but by watching the 1984 movie adaptation directed by David Lynch. I was 6 years old and it was a mind-blowing experience for me even though the movie was universally panned and is not truly faithful to the book. I later read the books (it is an epic series) during college and found them impossible to put down.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with DUNE, here is what wikipedia has to say about it:

Dune is a 1965 epic science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. It won the Hugo Award in 1966,[1] and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel.[2]Dune is the world's best-selling science fiction novel[3][4] and is the start of the Dune saga.

Set in the far future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides as his family accepts control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the "spice" melange. Melange is the most important and valuable substance in the universe, increasing Arrakis's value as a fief. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its "spice".[5]

Herbert wrote five sequels to the novel Dune: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. The first novel also inspired a 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch, the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune and its 2003 sequel Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (which combines the events of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune), computer games, at least two board games, songs, and a series of prequels, interquels, and sequels that were co-written by Kevin J. Anderson and the author's son, Brian Herbert, starting in 1999.[6]

So I'm starting this project by collecting some of the past book covers. Many characters in DUNE attain higher states of consciousness through various means and I think some of these coveres reflect that. However, there is a long standing tradition of Science Fiction books having illustrated covers of fantastic environments with epic cities or space ships and teeny tiny people thrown in for scale. This tradition is also present in DUNE.

This is the first cover of the hardback edition of DUNE. Apparently if you can find one it is worth quite a few pennies. First published in 1965 by Chilton (famous for publishing mechanic manuals) the cover was illustrated by John Schoenherr. Schoenherr went on to do several illustrations for different versions DUNE, all of them beautiful and all of them featuring large epic landscapes with teeny tiny people.

This is actually the cover to my copy of DUNE. Again we have the standard Science Fiction Book cover landscape also painted by John Schoenherr. I'm starting to see a theme. This was published by ACE. One of the interesting things about DUNE is that it borrows a lot from Arab/Islamic themes especially when naming characters. I personally think it would be a great opportunity to explore Islamic art and Arabic calligraphy...yet I haven't seen ANY covers explore that.

This is probably the copy of DUNE you will find at your local Barnes and Noble. It is very clean and minimalist yet still works in the illustration of weird epic landscape and teeny tiny people. I noticed on this one that the author's name is the largest piece of type. Perhaps Frank Herbert is now more famous than his creation?

This cover I love. It takes the standard sci-fi illustration and zooms in. Maybe the publisher and illustrator are taking a risk by doing this? Rather than letting the readers imagination paint these pictures they are giving them some concrete visualization. Either way, I love it. This is by New English Library in 1968 and all of the DUNE books in this series has a cover illustration by Bruce Pennington. Pennington is famous for his Sci-Fi covers and this series is considered very collectible. He uses bright colors and repeating patterns and dynamic layouts. His covers are fantastic but I don't feel they necessarily reflect the contents of the book. Although I will admit that I have a very hard time seperating David Lynch's visuals from the movie DUNE to what is in the actual text. These are really cool. These are Russian versions of the book. I especially like the cover on the right because It makes reference to the Kangaroo Rat and the Fremen blue within blue eyes that are big parts of the story, as well as the epic dessert landscape.

Here's a Japanese version of the cover. Looking at it, I would think it is a manga. Do I think it is effective at enticing a reader? Hell no, but I love all things Japanese so it gets a mention. HA!

This is an Italian version of the cover and I have to say it is my least favorite. Other than the title and author's name, nothing about this cover has anything to do with the book. This entire series all share similar cover designs with these weird symbols that don't relate to anything in the book. I feel like it belongs on a book about tribal tattoos not on a science fiction epic.

So those are just some of the covers I found. Again there is a lot of similarity in the covers; epic landscape, teeny tiny people, maybe a spaceship or a sandworm. The type treatments tend to vary a lot but few of them really strike me has being "perfect" for the content. I'm starting to formulate ideas and areas to explore. I probably won't be doing an illustration because I don't have the time and the last time I drew anything remotely good was...well never.

Thus endeth the first entry.


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