Dune

Book cover design. 2013

Dune is the award-winning science fiction classic that inspired countless stories after it, including Star Wars. It tells a sweeping story of political, philosophical, and religious revolution with spaceships, sandworms, and knife fights.

It's quite possibly my favorite book of all time... in case you couldn't tell.

I began with as many thumbnail sketches as I could, desperately trying to find a concept that was both visually interesting and uniquely indicative of the story. There are hundreds of brilliant cover designs for Dune - many of which provide some stiff competition! I wanted mine to stand out while giving the viewer some indication of the story inside.

As I generated these concepts, I kept coming back to a central theme of the book. One early scene sees protagonist Paul Atredies undergoing a ritualistic test of endurance, placing his hand inside of a box that creates agonizing pain. The process is meant to grow him, and the scene as a whole foreshadows his eventual transformation into a powerful hero.

I had lots of visual ideas with the book's iconic visual elements - sandworms, stillsuits, sandy dunes, glowing Fremen eyes, etc. While many of these ideas were stylish and aesthetically appealing, the final image incorporated the fiery trials into which Paul is plunged.