You Can Get a Sweet Valley High-Style Portrait From the Actual Book Cover Artist

Crazy House Capers, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Crazy House Capers, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Crazy House Capers, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you were a fan of the Sweet Valley High books as teenager, you probably envisioned yourself in the dramatic and oh-so-exciting world of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. You can actually make that dream a reality—at least when it comes to cover art.

As The Huffington Post reports, James L. Mathewuse, a Tallahassee-based artist, is the man behind those iconic pastel paintings depicting the Wakefield twins (and occasionally, other characters from the series). Mathewuse created over 250 Sweet Valley covers, as well as art for Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels, and once did a portrait of John F. Kennedy. Now, he can help you realize your dreams of being a YA cover star. The artist takes commissions, starting at $200, with a free consultation to sort out which dramatic head and shoulders pose you want to strike.

“Sometimes the story line requires a literal illustration,” Mathewuse told Tallahassee Magazine of his work. “Other times I try to be symbolic. But in a young-teenage romance novel, a symbolic cover is probably over the teenagers’ heads—if you know what I mean.”

He added: “I take a lot of care with the colors used for covers as well. A murder mystery often calls for red and black. A romance title works best with pastel, lavender and pink. A Western needs browns and blacks and earth tones.”

So figure out which hue might be right for the insane plot line that is your life, and be sure to practice your serious/shocked/amused/sad/suspicious face in the mirror. Feather your hair accordingly.

[h/t The Huffington Post]