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Blood Meridian Cover



"Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way."

Another assignment for school, where we had to illustrate a cover for an existing book. I'd just finished Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and knew I had to pick it. Though I'm pretty pleased with this cover, it's definitely something I'd like to tackle again. I knew I had to include some of the major characters, yet wanted to display them in an allegorical way. The hulking hairless inhuman Judge Holden atop with his scalping knife and coin, and the Yuma Indian who claims the life of John Glanton below, who bears a vertical mark similar to the Yuma's warpaint, a bit of foreshadowing. In the background, since I wanted to steer away from pure flat color, I painted in some desert creatures that feature prominently in my favorite passage of the book, where a collection of desert animals huddle in a cold night around a desert tree caught fire by lighting.

Blood Meridian is a piece of American literature that, despite the beauty of its prose and the pure poetry of Cormac's unique descriptive language, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to everyone. While it's now one of my favorite books (certainly my favorite of Cormac's novels), it's also the most violent and horrific thing I've ever read. Even more terrifying is that it depicts a time and place and a violence that was once commonplace in my country. If nothing else, it's a sobering reminder to be grateful we live in the era we do.
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AiredaleValkyrie's avatar
I imagine Judge Holden always making that menacing smirk.