Jimmy’s art

Reader James pointed out the link to James Mathewuse site, who did all the illustrated covers for the Sweet Valley High and Twins series.

Gotta say, he’s pretty talented for doing realist drawings. He managed to make the twins look like twins and kept the characters similar from cover to cover.

I love the above picture because he’s all, “I have an effing MFA and this is what my life has become?” Probably not, he’s made a good career out of cover art. It doesn’t answer the question if the portraits had human models…it must, right? You can’t pull human faces out of the air and paint them. And did he have some sort of consultant? Or did he come up with Liz’s matching barrettes on his own?

This inspired me to come up with a list of the many cliches of a SVH cover:

  • the lavalieres, of course
  • Liz’s barrettes
  • Jessica’s feathered bangs
  • Jessica in a string bikini
  • “Sears portrait” style (a couple “posing for the cover”)
  • Enid’s ‘fro
  • Liz’s pleated pants
  • Liz’s condescending look to the “minority” or helpless sack of shit that she will save in the book
  • High school guys looking at least 32
  • Liz or Jess’s “o” shaped mouth when they find something shocking or of it’s a super thriller

Another thing about the site- reading comic sans makes me want to go out on a murder spree. Also, that “Roommates” series that he did portraits for? Why haven’t I heard of those? They look pretty awesome.

Update: the SVH junior class has at least 83 students…pretty impressive.

24 thoughts on “Jimmy’s art

  1. Laura says:

    What a great link! I agree on the website font – looked cheap as hell! Its funny how I never thought about whoever did the covers even when they are the first thing you see and what you tend to base your image of characters on. He does do a pretty awesome job – good grief, imagine actual J&E lookalikes. Maybe he just used one model and duplicated her? If he did, they must be, what, forty-something now…I wonder whatever happened to the guy who did the BSC covers…

  2. tygre says:

    OMG you must dig up the Roommates series…trashy fun. Kind of like Canby Hall goes to college…not as much trash as the SVU as they are cleaner but still, good fun.

    Ah, the days when I had all my SVH books lines up…they didn’t survive all of my moves and I am sadly deprived of them, so I get my fix here 🙂

  3. DeeDee says:

    “Liz’s condescending look to the “minority” or helpless sack of shit that she will save in the book”

    ^I almost spit my milk out at that one lmao

  4. Ariel says:

    I read all the Roommates! I was even thinking of asking if I could recap them! Can I?

    The one called “Extra Credit” with the bikini girl on the cover is especially good. I mean, it’s a trashy subject, but it’s well-executed. And that book is one of the best in the series. Spring break in Fort Lauderdale. OMG partying. OMG drunk driving, but it’s [b]not[/b] a matter of one cup of punch; they set out to get wasted. Can I recap these? Pretty please?

  5. wendy says:

    This dude is good – I mean, the freaking Babysitter’s Club covers were NEVER consistent, and how many people did they regularly feature? I applaud you, Mr Sweet Valley Cover Art man.

  6. Laura says:

    Ooh he does look a bit like Alan Rickman…I think it’s his air of being pissed off. Weird to see the face behind the faces. Did he also do the artwork for the later ones – where all the werewolf/cheerleader etc miniseries popped up? Because they looked way different to the old school twins.

  7. Eli says:

    Oh my GOD, he did the art for the Nancy Drew case files?? Awesome. I loved those books, and until now, forgot they existed. My ten year old self thought Ned Nickerson was eleventy kinds of dreamy! (He and Gilbert Blythe were my future husbands)

  8. Tiny Pants says:

    This is, despite the Comic Sans, an amazing find. I agree with wendy — take a look at the paintings on the covers of the Babysitters’ Club, these are by comparison masterpieces. This guy seems to have a basic understanding of human anatomy, whereas the Babysitters are constantly wearing clothes with lumps and bumps in all the wrong places (with occasionally humorous results, I’ll admit). Plus he managed to keep the look of the Wakefields consistent for a really long time, whereas the faces of the BSC members appear to frequently morph. One last comparison — looking at the BSC covers that try to be more topical about what goes on in the books (or the melange of hideousness that is the collage-style photos of Sunset Beach) makes me totally okay with the Sears Portraits.

  9. Amber Tan says:

    Jimmy certainly does have a way with mustaches. Who can forget the pornstache prominently featured on the cover of SVH #5 (All Night Long)?

    And I totally had that paperback edition on Black Beauty! 🙂

  10. James says:

    awesome artist. i used to spend hours dissecting the covers after reading each book…notice how GORGEOUS Enid looked in a coma on the cover of “crash landing”

    or how Liz looks like the queen of the sock hop in “the new elizabeth”

    or how about the cover for “Playing For Keeps”? i gotta admit jessica looked gorgeous and She and AJ Morgan made a handsome couple

    didn’t realize so many covers were my favorite, lol

    all time fave? that would be #58 Brokenhearted. Liz and Jeff look like the poster children for 1930s nazi propaganda.

    he could never get Todd right, though…the guy always came off like a gay john travolta

    Bruce Patman was his masterpiece

  11. sara says:

    LOVE your detailed Liz, Jess, et covers for SVH. I am merely curious to know if you used real girls as models for those original covers? The girls are gorgeous.

  12. jacque says:

    Does anyone know the name of the font used on these glorious covers? Francine Pascal’s name, the title of the book, and the plot description all use it…

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