All About History artist’s favourite covers – 10th anniversary retrospective

Long-serving artist Joe Cummings selects 5 of his favourite pieces his done for All About History magazine since 2013

Since issue 1 of All About History there has been one consistent presence: the art of Joe Cummings. To mark our 10th anniversary we asked Joe to pick out five of his favourite pieces he’s done for the magazine and tell us a little about them.

Art from Lost Kingdoms of the Viking from All About History 34. Illustration by Joe Cummings

This was one of the earliest cover pieces I did for the magazine. I like it for some of the design elements but, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a Viking? The Viking iconography is so familiar to everyone that the job was half complete before I started. The decorative border is a nice detail, and I like the way the “V” of the cliffs directs the eye into the main image. 

Art from Blackbeard: King of the Pirates from All About History 51. Illustration by Joe Cummings

The same could be said about pirates, and the best pirate of all was Blackbeard. This was great fun to paint. The skull, pistols and burning fuses decorating the pirate help create a fabulously rich and curious character. The simple red and blue of the background, like the colours of a flag, is a strong contrast to all of Blackbeard’s adornments.

Art from Al Capone: Public Enemy Number One from All About History 14. Illustration by Joe Cummings

I believe this Al Capone art was for an early issue of All About History, probably appearing in its first couple of years, but it didn’t quite make the front page. It took a little while to settle into a successful formula, but I was pleased with this one. The classic Chicago gangster props are all present and I like the way the various scenes encircling Capone flow nicely around and through the artwork.

Art from Dark Arts of the Plague Doctors from All About History 81. Illustration by Joe Cummings

I confess that I was slightly anxious about this cover. The plague doctors were such odd-looking creatures that they didn’t seem part of our history at all. But I was very happy with the result. The eeriness of the whole scene was fun to create, and I like the Dante-esque plague pit scene that draws us even further into weirdness.

Art from Rise of the Knights Templar from All About History 110. Illustration by Joe Cummings

There are many sword-wielding warrior covers on All About History magazine, but this is one of my favourites. It is mainly down to the lighting and the simplicity of the design. Credit must go to the excellent cover designers. If any of these images are a success, it’s down to them.

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