Half horse… half another horse… with half-a-tiny-horse poking out top!
Sketching monster ideas with my kids.
Here’s a sketch of the sorcerer and vizier of the Kritan court, Sessuk. From Jafar to Flagg to Iago (the Shakespearean one, not the feathered one), all viziers eventually turn out to be scheming bastards. And Sessuk is no exception. Read Groundbreakers, Book 1, Myths of the Fallen City to see Sessuk dark side!
Like many settlers, Virginia was born of Chinese and Latino descent. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the Idyll expedition was primarily populated by volunteers from the Sino-Pacific Partnership and the United Americas.
Virginia prefers to wear leafweave clothes, which are made from gene-modded plants. The preferred method to tailor leafweave clothes is to arrange the seedlings over mannequins so that the creeping ivy intertwines together. Some articles of clothing are created from fronds meshed in a herringbone pattern. Others are made of broad, felt-covered succulent leaves. Leafweave clothes are usually not green. Jackets, blouses, and skirts are often tawny brown, or very pale blue. Deep red or bone white. If you squint you eyes, you’ll probably see an ancient American-Indian influence to most leafweave fashions.
Or check out the continuing story from Virginia’s perspective, starting with The Wilds.
Here are two cover sketches I did, representing my two ideas for the IDYLL Book 1 cover.
Cover Sketch 1:
This was my initial concept, the idea that I had in my head for most of the time that I was writing. Four riders in the distance, climbing a ridge that eventually resolves itself into the silhouette of a sleeping woman (Alma Starboard) under a shroud.
The pros: I liked the idea of this being a soft, dream-like cover, which might help set up the idea the Starboards and the Bridges eventually begin to question their own reality.
The cons: It’s not super-dynamic, and it doesn’t give you much of a sense of the protagonists.
Then there’s Alma. Would the viewer realize she’s there? Is she sleeping or is she dead? Plus, Alma’s profile and the shroud merging with a grassy landscape would have been a serious pain to Photoshop, and make it look right. I’m still not sure that most people see the upside-down blue face in the cover of Line of Descent, in the half-a-second that they might spend looking at it. I didn’t want to create the same issue for myself again with this cover.
Cover Sketch 2:
So I tried to make something more ‘in-your-face.’ I started off with the four travelers standing together, holding whatever, looking tough, directly into the ‘camera.’ But I decided it made more sense, and would add more action, if they were on horses. The idea was always to have Samuel in the front. I felt like I needed to imply there was a primary protagonist to the book, even if some readers would decide Walt and Sam are co-protagonists.
The terrain in this sketch is far more rugged than the final art. But you have to work with what Photoshop gives you.
In the end, I thought this layout had more of a movie-poster feel to it more of a sense of the four main characters taking charge of their situation. I think it’s bolder, overall. And I hope that means it’s more likely to grab a reader’s attention—and their imagination—right off the bat.
Another Idyll sketch.
What is an owyll? The settlers on Idyll don’t like ’em much, and neither does my spell-check. To help the descriptions in my sci-fi novel, I tried to sketch out what one looks like. More on the Idyll saga to come in the future…