Reaper Man Cover Art Described
Long and abbreviated descriptions for the Terry Pratchett novel Reaper Man.
by Brett Coulstock. .
This is a description for the cover art of the Terry Pratchett novel ‘Reaper Man’, from Corgi, the 1992 edition. The cover was painted by artist Josh Kirby.
The cover has a panel that takes up roughly a third of the cover, pale yellow with a thin double-black border. It has the words ‘Terry Pratchett’ in capital dark red letters; beneath in smaller black letters ‘A Discworld Novel’, followed by the title in the same dark red ‘Reaper Man’.
Josh Kirby's general style for the painted covers of the Discworld novels suggests a strong sense of his subjects in dynamic motion. His characters often tend to be cariactures with exagerated proportions or expressions. They generally are illustrated in flight, or running, or making expansive gestures; other elements like fabric, clouds, fire and magic swirl vividly around and behind them.
The cover for Reaper Man is relatively still.
The art depicts Death — a skeleton — resting against the trunk of a large tree, patting a little girl sitting next to him on the head with his skeletal hand. He is wearing the typical blue-braced overalls of a farmer, but they sag badly on his thin frame, and don't conceal much of his rib-cage. He is also wearing a straw sun-hat and holding a wood-handled scythe; the long blade curves over his head. Sitting on Death's knee is a small robed figure, a rat-skeleton, holding a tiny scythe. Death is sitting on a picnic-blanket spread with bread, apples, eggs and a wheel of cheese with a large wedge cut from it.
The little girl has long flowing golden hair, red shoes, and is studying a tiny hour-glass she is holding in her hands.
The branches of the tree above them are hung with hour-glasses as if they are Christmas decorations.
In the background, there is a night sky, with a few stylised five-pointed stars, a fat sickle shaped moon cresting the horizon, and fields of golden grain, being cut and stooked by farmers with scythes.
The design extends to the back cover, with more fields, a group of farmers some with scythes, and a curious wheeled contraption with a number of bladed wheels parked in the middle of one of the fields.