I wanted to design and mock-up another book cover as a personal project. This time however, I chose an actual existing classic book at random to reinterpret. The idea was I wanted to do a cover for a book I had not read before and therefor had no previous ideas about what it should look like. After reading and doing a bit of research, I'm not sure how well the content of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's book holds up in today's politically correct world. But there's no denying Longfellow's beautiful writing of his poem is why this story remains a classic.
The idea for the cover came from my wanting to "bookend" the character Hiawatha in the two symbols that represented his birth and death as well as splitting the man from the legend.
Unfortunately, I felt the harsh black and white palate I originally chose ended up looking to "graphic novel" which wasn't my intention (however could be a cool idea). So, below is a version where I recolored the book to soften it up making it feel a bit more poetic and fitting to Longfellow's original story.
Below is the original ink sketch I did of the cover that I scanned in and finished in Photoshop, as well as some of my early Hiawatha concept sketches before I landed on what is on the final cover.