The cover illustration is original artwork by Steve Metsker. The art form is known as "ASCII-art" and calls for the artist to draw upon a limited set of characters. ASCII is a standard that, like Unicode, specifies a set of characters and their approximate appearance. The artist applies this palette to express meaning that transcends the value inherent in the characters .
The ASCII artist and the computer programmer summon meaning from the keyboard for differing purposes. Adherents of either art may seek and may achieve mastery over their characters, learning to conjure powerful objects from a primitive source. The dragon rider on the cover extends the mastery theme, depicting the knight's mastery over the dangerous and powerful dragon. The dragon represents the complexity of creating new computer languages; the knight represents you, who can master the dragon for your own purposes.