Okay, so here’s a dumb thing to admit. While I am OF COURSE aware of the lush, magical gorgeousness of Kinuko Y. Craft’s paintings and illustrations, I thought that her work was the realm of picture books and posters and her own personal projects. Somehow I had no idea that her illustrative enchantments enrobed the covers of some of my favorite books! This is probably not news to many of you, I mean her style is so distinctive–how could I have missed it, right? And yet, somehow I did.

Craft’s paintings have adorned the covers of work by countless authors, including Isabel Allende, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Patricia A. McKillip, Tanith Lee, Andre Norton, Isabel Glass, Juliet Marillier, and many more. As a matter of fact, it was this eerie cover art that initially caught my eye, and, in seeking out the artist–and in discovering it was Kinuko Y. Craft–I fell down quite the rabbit hole!

I haven’t yet read Tanith Lee’s omnibus Biting the Sun, but after spending several hours gazing at the exquisite details of this cover, it’s certainly now at the top of my list! And I think I might be moved to get my hands on the different versions of this book that exist…I mean look at this incredible Japanese edition! And this cover of the original book in the series (I think?) Don’t Bite the Sun was created by Brian Froud!

Here’s an excerpt from an interview in Locus Magazine (April 2017) that I really enjoyed reading:

‘‘One of the benefits I get from doing covers is, I get to read. The main thing I like about what I do is that I’m away from reality and the real world where I live, in a make-believe one – a land of someone else’s imagina­tion – as long as the project lasts. I need that to survive.”

Below are a few more of my favorites, and if you are keen to see more, here is a pretty comprehensive database of them!

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