John Foster | Accidental Mysteries

Deft doodling

Book by Its Cover was created in 2006 by illustrator Julia Rothman as a way to showcase her book collection. The site evolved over the years and today it serves to be an active and unique repository for the art of book and book cover design, something Design Observer has long championed by sponsoring 50 Books/50 Covers each year.

Rothman and her team carefully select the books that appear on the site for review, from children’s books to cookbooks to fine art catalogues to zines. Click on a cover and you will see spreads of the inside of each book and brief commentary on their best design qualities. The site also publishes interviews with designers, posts roundups of book-centered and design events, and—unusually—features a Sketchbooks section—where readers can peek inside the personal sketchbooks of accomplished illustrators such as Calef Brown, John Hendrix, and many others.

It’s always nice to take a peek behind the curtain to see the preliminary sketches and drawings that keep these illustrators sharp and on top of their game. Pencil, ink, watercolor, and collage abound.  

Calef Brown


Lars Henkel

Mia Christopher

Martha Rich

Rohan Etsebeth

Mikel Casal

Alison Worman

Will Miller

Isaac Tobin

John Hendrix

Posted in: Accidental Mysteries, Arts + Culture, Media

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