Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brian Sanders' 1970s Book Covers

Guest author Bryn Havord, following his overview of English illustrator Brian Sanders’ work produced in the 1960s, which we featured in April, continues with samples of Brian’s illustrations made during the 1970s and ’80s.

Yesterday I described how the 1970s proved to be a challenging decade for every illustrator in Britain trying to pursue a career in magazine illustration.


However, the market for paperback book cover illustration remained buoyant, although more and more photographic cover illustrations were being used.


In the early seventies David Larkin, then art editor of Pan Books, asked Brian if he would like to re-jacket the Steinbeck books. They both agreed that watercolour was too English for the subject matter, so Brian said he would work in ‘acrylic solid colour’. Brian thought that there were only six books. There were twenty-six.


Above are Brian's illustrations for "Of Mice and Men", "The Moon is Down" and "Sweet Thursday." Below, "Log from the Sea of Cortez." The figure of Doc in these last two paintings was kindly modelled by illustrator Alan Lee, now better known as the creative director of the Lord of the Rings films.


Below, book cover for Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jabwallah.


A Stronger Climate. The main building on this cover was not in India but based on the view from the roof above Brian’s studio at Artist Partners in London’s Soho. It is actually the Windmill Theatre.


Below, cover for A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsin. Published by Panther Books.



Above, one from a series of covers for books written by John Fante commissioned by Granada Books

Below, cover for a book entitled Poonah Company by Farrukh Dhondy.


Below, the cover for a book entitled It’s an Old Country by J B Priestly. Watercolour with dry brush.


The model Brian chose to play the part of the aging private detective in the novel turned out to be one!


Two covers for Brian Moore novels. Above: The Emperor of Ice Cream Below: The Luck of Ginger Coffey


Brian re-jacketed several C S Forester books for David Larkin at Pan.


This was for Hornblower in the West Indies

Continued tomorrow.

* Brian was very pleased with the responses he received after his first blog was kindly published by Leif Peng back in April. His e-mail address is briansanders[dot]art[at]googlemail[dot]com


  1. Quite a variety of styles from Mr. Sanders! I particularly like the Hornblower and the Alexandr Denisovitch paintings. The Priestley cover also is quite good. Thanks for sharing these scans and the info.