John Jude Palencar’s Inheritance Cycle Illustrations

“Never judge a book by its cover.”

The reality is that some people do, and there’s no avoiding it. Fortunately, the art of John Jude Palencar has graced the covers of the Inheritance Cycle for over a decade, leaving a lasting impression on any reader seeking a new adventure.

john jude palencar

Random House first approached Palencar without knowing that Christopher had named Palancar Valley after the artist. The series’ dragons roared to life with the stroke of John’s brush, each guarding a different installment of the epic. The Lethrblaka and Shruikan were created for overseas editions of Brisingr and Inheritance.

Several concept sketches offer unique insight into his creative process:

Palencar was among four artists Christopher asked to illustrate the 10th anniversary collector’s edition of Eragon. John chose to capture Eragon’s haunting encounter with the Ra’zac in Dras-Leona:

John Jude Palencar’s eye-catching pieces have appeared on the covers of over 100 books, including special editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Star Wars novels. More of his work can be found on his portfolio website (may contain material not suitable for young readers).

Mike Macauley

Mike Macauley is the founder of, editor in chief of, and author of The Inheritance Almanac. Mike can be found on Twitter at @mikemacauley.