Five South African illustrators depict their lives through book covers

10and5 invited a handful of illustrators to produce a custom book cover for what would be their imaginative or fictional autobiography. Each designed piece is a preview to their personal narrative. The results are artworks that are thoughtfully apt, original and enticing.
Shaun Hill, Bianca Brand, Bradley Naicker, Thulisizwe Mamba and Ndumiso Nyoni demonstrate their talents for typography, illustration and graphic design below. 


“I am but tattered and torn pieces of who I am meant to be. Through the journey of piecing life itself together, I present the cover as a film poster of the ’90s featuring a very explicit lifestyle and all the work derived from my experiences and hardships (depression and heartbreak) into a versatile and new-age aesthetic.

“The Japanese text both above and below the cover are derived from anime influence and the text below reads ‘The life we spend living is to die for’.” – Bradley 


“The thinking behind this cover is picturing (myself as) the black Santa living his best life, without the beard, in 2017. Being Santa, I would be the giver of gifts of course. However, the best gift I would give is a bottle of Hennessy. Thus I would be The Brother With The Henny. I come bearing good gifts* (wink emoji, tongue out emoji, droplet emoji).” – Thulisizwe 

‘E U R O   B U T T’ – Shaun Hill 

“A world within a world, the journey starts with the birth of Euro Butt, the bastard child of Bat Butt & Eurovision ’78. Torn between two rivals our quest is brought to a halt as a house plant is unwatered and neglected. A concerned wizard patiently waits his turn to take control. In the meanwhile,  back at head quarters there is a nude pool party but not everyone is into it. The Eight Ball floats, the fishes head is missing and someone has got a new hat. Don’t grasp the smoke to tight as its not actually there and stop starring at the moon it’ll melt your eyelids but no one ever listens.” – Shaun.

‘Rock Mountain Crocodiles’ – Bianca Brand

“Having an opportunity of a blank page gives you the complete freedom to do what ever you imagine (how much you can imagine is your limitation), you can create any world, anything or object and make it real so why make the ordinary if it already exists? A person doesn’t always have to have a person’s head, sometimes it can have a crocodiles head – it’s not rational but in the imaginative world it makes sense. I suppose I have quite a surrealistic approach to my work.
“I base a lot of my visuals on experiences, feelings and imagination – creating this fusion between mythological worlds and real life, as seen in the piece I created for my book cover, title ‘Rock mountain crocodiles’.” – Bianca

‘Umi Says Shine Your Light’ – Ndumiso Nyoni 

“The illustration is inspired by the lyrics from Yasiin Bey’s classic song Umi Says. The word ‘umi’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘ummi’, which means mother. In the song Yasiin Bey talks about how his mother told him to ‘shine his light for the world to see’. The lyrics resonate with me and the message behind all my works. In all my illustrations, I aim to celebrate the beauty of Africa and its people. I aim to use my illustrations to shine Africa’s light for the world to see and appreciate it’s diverse culture and beautiful tradition.” – Ndumiso 

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