Portfolio: High and Epic Fantasy Book Covers

What Are the Epic Fantasy and High Fantasy Genres?

“Epic Fantasy” and “High Fantasy” are two subgenres that often overlap! “High Fantasy” usually refers to setting (a world other than our own) while “Epic Fantasy” refers to scope, ty with stories that deal with large scale problems of nations and continents. It’s also common for epic fantasy books to have sprawling casts with many point-of-view characters. In practice, the lines between these two subgenres are blurry and the terms are sometimes used interchangably. And both high and epic fantasy often mix with other subgenres, such as grimdark fantasy and fantasy romance. Epic and high fantasy stories can be found both in books aimed at adults and young adults, although it’s my experience that young adult high/epic fantasy novels tend to focus more tightly on one protagonist as compared to adult books of the genre.

Common traits of high and epic fantasy:

  • Worlds other than our own
  • Mythical creatures such as dragons and elves
  • Plots involving adventure and intrigue
  • Magic is usually present
  • Historical-inspired settings (often medieval Europe, but the genre is increasingly diverse)
  • Themes involving coming of age and good vs. evil
  • Characters are often wizards, warriors, or royalty

What Do High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy Book Covers Look Like?

Book cover’s key job is to attract readers and they do that by giving out the right genre signals. Typically this involves visualizing the common tropes and traits of the genre so readers can recognize it as the sort of book they like.

We can roughly sort epic/high fantasy book covers into two categories: ones that contain an image of a character and ones that focus on objects, symbols, and typography. There aren’t hard rules for whether a book should have a character or a symbol cover, but there are some differences between young adult and adult here. Symbol covers have gotten very popular for YA fantasy lately! They’re also cropping up more when the fantasy novel intersects with dark romance. However, since my work is mostly character based, that’s the area I’m going to focus on.

Common traits of epic and high fantasy book covers:

  • Historical-type clothing, especially cloaks and armor
  • Weapons, especially swords
  • Magic
  • Mythical creatures, especially dragons
  • Sweeping, fantastical landscapes, often involving towers or castles
  • Crowns and thrones
  • Serif fonts such as Trajan and Cinzel

If you’re interested in commissioning me to create a cover for you, visit my custom covers page to find out more and contact me! I also have some epic and high fantasy premade book covers available. These are covers where I’ve already created the art but have used a place holdder title and author name, which can be replaced with the name and title of the author who purchases it. You can find my premades here.