Markus Naerheim
Markus Naerheim

Art of the Book Cover

In addition to the considerable time and effort it takes to research, write, and edit a book, designing an attractive cover is also a challenge. For my new novel, Bay of Hope, I decided to do it myself.


A book cover should show the reader the world they are about to enter. Given that Bay of Hope is a novel about environmental conservation and drug trafficking in Mexico, I wanted to display the physical setting and include icons and themes that figure prominently in the book. Since Mexico has a long tradition of printmaking for newspapers, popularized by José Guadalupe Posada (famous for his skeletons, or calaveras) in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, I decided to produce my own linocut print to represent my novel.


What I find attractive about linocut art is its organic feel. The beauty of linocut printmaking is that with each inking of the block, the image turns out slightly different. In a world that tends toward overproduction in its media, particularly in music, but also through enhanced photographs and generic corporate logos, I wanted to create something that was bold, gritty and unique. A black and white print, with its interplay of dark vs. light, was the prefect way to illustrate the macabre and sinister mood and subject matter of Bay of Hope.


Read Chapter 1 of Bay of Hope!

Next post: How to Make a Linocut



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