Movies are often adaptations of top-selling books, which sparks a never-ending discussion about "which one was better" and triggers avid defenders of one or another. North Carolina-based designer and illustrator Matt Stevens imagined an unusual scenario in which famous movies get book "adaptations"―a project both movie and book-lovers can appreciate.
Combining his love of film and old book cover art within this ongoing project called "Good Movies As Old Books," Stevens reimagines his favorite movies as vintage books. He reinterprets films with his original thought-out illustrations and the result is very accurate. The series additionally serves as a recommendation for all the movieholics out there who are looking for must-see quality cinema, although the list is compiled based on Stevens' personal opinion.
Scroll through the cool covers and let us know what you think! And continue reading to see what the artist had to say about the project.
"I started it as a personal project towards the beginning of the year. I love film and was looking for something to allow me to explore new styles of illustration and just as a creative outlet. I really enjoyed the process so I decided to keep going as long as I was enjoying it," the artist who has worked on this project for several months now with no particular plan told Fashion Life.
"I was a typical art kid. Drew on everything. The 'aha' moment for me was when I heard the word “logo” and understood what that was. It just made sense to me somehow and sparked my interest that you could make a living doing creative things. My background is in brand and identity design. I struck out on my own about 8 years ago to do more focused identity work and integrate more illustration into my day to day work."
We asked Stevens how does he come up with ideas for his vintage recreations.
"Usually just the concept comes first. I focus on one film and let it roll around in my head. Inspiration comes at odd times, so I let the thoughts come and go and the actual idea usually comes unexpectedly. Sometimes I see a vintage book and a style that I’d love to try and try and find a film on my running list that seems like a fit. I also like to stay flexible in the process. Many of the designs are very different in the finished version than how I envisioned them. That kind of flexibility is what really makes it fun."
Then he walked us through the creative process:
"I always start with very loose sketches. It’s really just about getting ideas down on paper. Once I have something that strikes me, I move ahead to drawing it more tightly in Procreate or Photoshop or I work in vectors in Adobe Illustrator. It really depends on which tool will give me the best effect or capture the style best. Then I do the type work in Illustrator and composite everything with found textures and aged book layers in Photoshop."
"The feedback’s been great. People are very enthusiastic. It’s a great mix of design folks and people that love film. The second most common reaction I get is 'hey, you know this movie was a book already?'…haha…I know!"
Inspired by the creative drive and positive feedback, Stevens decided to take his personal project even further and has launched a Kickstarter to turn his recreations into an art book of 100 works and high-quality print art fans could enjoy.
"The project grew and I had a lot of people asking for prints/book of the art, so that's where the Kickstarter idea came from."
Stevens assured that the book will be high-end and published by one of the most reputable book printers in the United States. He also has saved up some of the most intriguing pieces to be book-exclusive so that purchasing the book is still totally worth it.
Just like for many artists, lockdown became fuel and motivation to explore his creativity and use his spare time to make an entertaining distraction both for himself and others.
"It has also become a good outlet/coping mechanism during the pandemic. Just a good way to use a creative outlet to take my mind off of things. Many have said they enjoy seeing them every day or so and that's it's a bright spot in their feed. So between loving it and having others really enjoy it, I've had a lot of energy to keep it going."
These vintage book covers are all executed with high accuracy and professionalism―everything has been carefully thought out even in the most minimalist illustrations. Although the movies the artist has chosen are of different genres, styles, and ages, he manages to convey their messages in a universal, yet personal style.
No wonder why the artist runs a design and illustration studio called The Design Office, which focuses on creating brand identity and illustration for brands and various publications. He has successfully worked with some of the biggest names like Facebook, Google, Netflix, Nike, The New York Times, Wired, etc.
The artist said that the favorite book cover he's created so far is based on the film "Whiplash: "A movie I love, the idea came quickly and easily and it really captures something about the film and the jazz era style."
To sum everything up, we just had to ask what's Stevens' favorite movie, so take out your list of must-see films and write this down!
"Movies are such a personal thing. Personally, I have a hard time saying this movie is bad or worthless because it’s like arguing about someone’s emotion. At least that’s how it is for me. I love talking about movies but don’t like to spend time trashing them or critiquing/comparing them. Ok, enough stalling. Almost anything by Nolan. I’m not really going out on a limb there but to make movies that are deep and well made while also being accessible to a wide audience is a tough thing to do. I’d say specific films that have grabbed me lately are Uncut Gems, Parasite, and a documentary called Shirkers."
Note: this post originally had 71 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.