“Maleficent” by James Newton Howard

I‘m back from my summer hiatus with kind of a surprise. If not for you, then at least for me. Because I didn’t expect to feature James Newton Howard’s Maleficent on my site at all. This one totally came out of the blue. I’ve already heard rumors that it may be the next big thing among film-score-enthusiasts, but I when I gave it a spin for myself, I was downright blown away! Two spins later I was already looking for source images and, just like this score keeps getting better and better, my custom cover series kept growing bigger and bigger.

The first set more or less consists of my own Maleficent custom designs. While I normally try to avoid imitating other people’s work, this time it was the sole reason why I started with this whole series in the first place. It’s Scoremanscott whose covers I’d chosen for my digital copy of the score. I’ve found many different customs for this apparently very popular score album, but his were my favourite ones. Yet upon further consideration I’ve found some minor details in his creations that I wanted slightly different in mine (#3, #4). So I gave it a try and once I got started there was no way back.

Here’s for some supplementary details worth sharing:

  • The glass-like Photoshop effect applied on the album’s textual elements (#1 to #4) was created accidently
  • The Disney logo was re-created and varies in size and placement
  • The Maleficent font used in these covers is called “Upon A Dream” and can be downloaded for free
  • The background pattern on cover #6 is entirely unrelated to the film
  • Cover #7 is an obvious reference to Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings soundtrack albums… in case you didn’t notice
  • Cover #8 is my favourite out of them all

Next up are two terrific designs (#9, #10) created by Merlito Pabatao, a Philippine Photoshop God I’ve only recently discovered. He even created a second alternate single cover that looks fabulous as well. There’s ton of stuff on his facebook page and, while I’m not really into his taste of music, I have to admit that his design skills are among the best I’ve seen so far.

The final designs below were entirely created by or based on pre-existing material. The first one (#9) is based on a fan-made poster by deviantART user “NeburArt“. Because of the watermarked source image I had to recreate the design from scratch. The purple JJ Abrams effect was made with Corel PHOTO-PAINT, which still creates the best lens flares if you ask me.

Following that is a design created by Final Fantasy Shrine Forum member “SonicAdventure” (#12). He carefully remastered and rearranged the whole score album and posted it on the board – including a set of different custom covers from which I chose my favored one. I really dig his textural approach and especially the tilted perspective. It comes very close to what I like about minimalism.

Actually as close as the next custom (#11) for which I used a rather obscure reference: The dual raven logo of M·A·C Cosmetics’ Maleficent Collection. I stumbled across their packaging design during research and thought it would make a nice album cover. Due to insufficient source images I ended up recreating it using my own templates. The background texture is stock image from Google, but the wings were custom-made using this free vector pack. This might be my favourite cover within this whole series and it once again shows, how powerful a good and striking movie logo can be.

My Limited Collector’s Edition (#13) once again features an amazing work of art taken from my favourite source of inspiration. This image screams Mondo Vinyl all over it. Just imagine it as a vertical gatefold LP, that, once folded up, reveals our titular character in full stature. I would kill for a full body shot in that drawing style. I only added an easily removable sticker in the upper left corner to not spoil the otherwise perfectly flawless design. And to close off this series with an interesting side note: The Maleficent logo on the sticker is the same as the production crew used on Angelina Jolie’s camp-chair on set.


  1. […] love the fact that James Newton Howard can write scores like Maleficent and Nightcrawler within the same year. Compare the lush and romantic beauty of the former with the […]


  2. […] Picture Arts and Sciences will pretend not to exist by the end of the year (just like they did with Maleficent last year). And what a pity it is, because Giacchino’s score is downright […]


  3. […] Picture Arts and Sciences will pretend not to exist by the end of the year (just like they did with Maleficent last year). And what a pity it is, because Giacchino’s score is downright […]


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