Part of a new series "Legends from the Ancient North", Beowulf is one of the classic books that influenced JRR Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings".
The iconographic tradition linked to these ancient legends is as diverse as it is rich, and Tolkien - himself a wonderful illustrator - certainly knew all this material. But rather than basing our cover design on Tolkien's visual influences I preferred to have the fresh take of a contemporary illustrator on this visual heritage. Petra Borner's bold line and incredible use of colour made her an ideal choice.
As a homage to Tolkien, I asked Petra to adopt an element from the visual language of his illustrations: a strong black line, a lot of white, and a very restricted palette of two bold colours with a splash of red. The focus of each illustration was to be the supernatural, the magical, the brutal and the monstrous rather than the heroes.