Tim O'Brien (born November 16, 1964) is an American artist who illustrated the covers of The Hunger Games trilogy as well as the alternate mockingjay design for the The Hunger Games Collector's Edition.
His illustrations have appeared in several magazines, including Time, Newsweek, and Der Spiegel. He has also designed several postage stamps for the US Postal Service. O'Brien is an adjunct professor in Undergraduate Communications Design at the Pratt Institute.
The Hunger Games
Although characterizing himself as a "traditional painter," O'Brien decided to do the designs digitally, which helped out due to the trilogy's popularity. He is married to Elizabeth Parisi, Creative Director for Hardcovers at Scholastic, who was responsible for the cover designs. She has characterized the creation of the iconic mockingjay pin as a collaboration. According to O'Brien, "It is not just a picture of a bird. It is something vulnerable. It is a symbol of the main character, Katniss, who is tough and beautiful at the same time." It really says a lot about the heroine. Before the final version was adopted, he had submitted a design for an arrow and an alternate version of the logo that had the mockingjay's right wing pierced with a chain. It could have meant that for the first and second books, Katniss is under the power of the Capitol; she is being chained to their power.
The process of designing the cover for Catching Fire did not take as long, although O'Brien created several versions of the mockingjay in flight. The circle in the background was first conceived as a clock, then a ring of fire, before it evolved into a target.