Sherlock Holmes

As part of a promotional article, I was asked by independent author service provider, Reedsy to create a cover for Arthur Conan Doyle's, The Red-Headed League.


The Red-Headed League is my favourite Sherlock Holmes story. The ‘mystery’ is so mundane and seemingly benign, but its discovery uncovers a greater ruse.

Unlike with many other Sherlock Holmes stories, The Red-Headed League doesn’t include ‘The Adventure of …‘ to its title. This repetition instantly depicts the novel as one of a series, specifically connecting them to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes due to the popularity of the novels. With this in mind, when I first started making sketches for this project, I looked at existing covers to see if any bylines were included. The most common were, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and A Sherlock Holmes Mystery and I chose to add this to the top right of the cover.

Based on my original ink sketch, I redraw the individual strands of hair as vectors in Illustrator. Working from this file exported as a .psd, I then added texture in Photoshop to give high- and low-lights to the hair and background shading to add depth to the design. The red hair is a literal representation of the Red-Headed League from within the novel. The cover discretely references the notion that the perceived mystery of league is a tactical distraction from the real mystery that Sherlock Holmes must solve.