Tag Archives: Cover Art

Silver Serpent Cover

We have a lot of books coming out this year (and next), and we’re still not 100% done with the writing or the art, so it’s always great when we have something in place, don’t you think?

Today, we’re showing off artwork for a new property featuring an old fan favorite.

Silver Serpent essentially shows us the origins of our favorite ranger in green, Steel Tip.  Back then, he’s doesn’t go by the oft-mocked moniker, though.  Instead, he’s the protege of the legendary Silver Serpent, a vigilante who has protected the archipelago of Ippius for generations.

This story fully embraces the superhero feel of the series, so we did some really cool things with our characters.  We were lucky to have our artists, RedPear and DLeoBlack on hand to bring these characters to life.  Above, you’ll see as things are sliding into place.

Here, things are cleaned up a bit more, and we get our first look at the various characters in a more colorful form.  You can see our two de facto heroes on the right side, while monstrous beings like the gargoyle-like creature in back and the man made of water in the front seem to have their sights set on the Silver Serpent and her young pupil.

We took our characters out of the piece in order to clean various things up.  The aurora was given a less clunky feel, while the stones surrounding this lookout point were left a little more weathered.

Moving forward, we added our characters and the fire back into place.  Our gargoyle lost a little weight, the heroes gained a few extra details, and our man made of water is just a little splashier.

Finally, we made one last change.  We weren’t in love with the color of the Silver Serpent’s hair or her pose, so Leo scrapped the whole thing and redid her.  Turned out great!

Silver Serpent will release in September of this year!

Interim Cover Art – Silver Serpent Chronicles

Hey there folks!  We are deep in the heart of Tellest phase two.  Lord of Thunder recently released, and we’re only two months away from the second book, Dragonspeaker, hitting virtual shelves.

Later this year, in September, we’ll be releasing another new jump-off point in the Tellest brand with Silver Serpent Chronicles.  One or two characters here are familiar, but it takes place in a different point in our young sidekick’s life.

Rather than droll on, why don’t I just show you what we did?

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All five of the sketches above were the ones we passed on. Ultimately, we knew we wanted to focus on the Silver Serpent and her young, impressionable trainee, who goes by many names in the story.  You might know him instead as Kevin, the secret prince of Argos.

We ended up going for a scene that added a third character to the mix.  These three are characters that are involved from the very first chapter of the story to the very end, so it was cool to have them all together on the cover.

These two sketches helped to get an idea of the costumes and color schemes a little bit more.  Kevin wears a variation of his well-known green, and they both have kind of a lone ranger look to them.  This book has a more superhero bent than the other books I’ve written so far.  I’m a big fan of it, though, and I think others will be too.

Pear put together a more comprehensive look at everything here. Our characters are on a dais that overlooks the city here.  The third member of the trio is a villain named Riptide who can turn his body into liquid form and reconstitute as needed.

Riptide and the Silver Serpent have been fleshed out here, and the cool swirling water effect has been brought back in an awesome way.  The poses are coming together a little more too, thanks to some textures on the ground.

Weapons and gear have been detailed, and you can see the faces of our two heroes, although they’re covered by their domino masks and the Silver Serpent’s tricorne hat.

The final version of the cover adds particle effects and extra detail to everything.  Riptide’s body ends up making some cool warps to the items beneath, including the Silver Serpent’s rapier.  I personally think it looks awesome.  This was another hard piece not to want to use as an official cover.  For consistency’s sake, we used this piece as inspiration, and brought it to Leo so that he could make us an official cover, but that’ll be something we show you later!

So what did you think of the Silver Serpent Chronicles interim cover?  Did you like it as much as we did?  Remember, this book comes out in September.

And it’s going to change everything…

Interim Cover Art – Dragonspeaker

Every once in a while, we’ll have Leo working his butt off on one cover, and we need to get ahead of a second one.  For that, we bring in the always awesome RedPear.  Three times in the last two years, she’s made magical art for us.  It’s time to show off one of those pieces.

Note, because of how much work went into this one, we’re going to be a little less verbose when discussing it.

We had five sketches that we ultimately ended up passing on in order to get to the final piece.

Our sixth choice was the one that we ended up loving the most, and it was just fantastic:

Over the course of time after that, Red ended up doing a whole mess of changes to further the quality of the art.  Check out the slideshow below to see all the changes that went into the art over time.

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We finally ended up with a final piece that was beyond breathtaking.

I’m really hoping that Kaiyonani makes a big splash when her book comes out later this year!

Cover Art – Heart of the Forest

Hey there folks!  We are almost all done showing off the covers of the books that we are preparing for this next volume of Tellest books (thanks once again to our awesome Kickstarter backers for getting us the start we needed).

Today, we’re going to begin showing off the finalized covers of our new properties.  In addition to the five books that are serving as sequels, we’ve also got three books that are starting their own storylines.  One of these is a brand new character, but the others star an established character at various points in his life.  We’re going to take a look at one of those two now, so buckle in!

Heart of the Forest stars a younger Steel Tip than what we’ve seen in the Child of the Stars series.  This book—a novelization of an unreleased game—demonstrates the secret prince’s first foray onto mainland Draconis.

Leo started us off with a lot more green than we typically see, except for what we had of Awake.

After establishing a few things, Leo puts a tighter emphasis on some of our characters.

Heart of the Forest feels like a classic fantasy.  There’s a narrative that plays very well into a videogame, and it feels a bit simpler and more concise.  That’s not to say that there won’t be surprises, but it’ll be a book that I think any fantasy reader will be able to get into.

There’s a little more panache put into place in this third iteration of the cover.  You can see much more clearly here that Heart of the Forest has a lot of focus on characters of different races.  We are getting into this a little more in this second set of books, but nothing expresses it so much as this novel.  Leo was up to the task, giving us goblins, werebears, gnolls, lagano and humans.

And here you have our finished take on the piece.  The front cover is more refined, and certain characters have been added.  We lost the lagano that we had in there, but things just felt a little too cluttered. We think it was for the best, but rest assured, the book is going to be jam packed full of more races than you typically get in a Tellest book. It’s going to be a fun little adventure, and I can’t wait to show you more as we draw closer to the release of Heart of the Forest in early 2018!

Cover Art – The Maelstrom

Hey there folks!  Today we’re going to show off the last sequel property we’re bringing you through 2018 (not counting whatever sequels will make their way into the Tales of Tellest, Volume Two short story collection).

The cover for The Maelstrom is one of my absolute favorites.  Leo did a fabulous job making not only a beautiful cover, but helping us come up with an awesome new race of creatures.  Let’s dive right in, and see the process.

So, when we started, Leo knew that The Maelstrom would involve “demons.”  There was more to it than that, of course, but we sometimes have translation issues since we’re on different continents.  So the demons that Leo came up with at first were very traditional.  It was my job to steer him away from that.

In this second shot, you can see that things are cleaned up substantially.  Our demons were supposed to be storm demons—you typically see these infernal type beings that hail from fiery realms, but I wanted to switch things up with this book.  As it stands anyway, our demons look kind of like towering mannequins!

At this point, you can see our cover taking even more shape.  Color was adjusted, a pose was picked for our main character, and the demons, a race of otherworldly beings called the Kin Maelar, really come to life here.

We adjusted the position of the invading demons, and threw a weapon in the leader’s hand.  These guys tower over the surviving elves of Shandranar, but Icarus is ready to face them head on.

Here you see the final take on the cover of this upcoming novel.  The two other characters, Icarus’s father and brother, are fleshed out, and the odds are even less in our hero’s favor!

If you recall, Icarus went through a lot of trouble during the event now known in Tellest’s history as the Fall.  You might have thought the worst was over, but these new invaders are sure to make our beleaguered elf wonder if the worst is truly behind him.

Cover Reveal – Stealing Seramore

Hey folks!

We are on a roll regarding these cover reveals, and we’re hoping to keep it up even more as we go forward.  With that in mind, let’s show you another sequel that’s on the horizon, and the process that we took to get there.

So, Stealing Seramore is the sequel to The Tinker’s Tale, one of our more distant flashback stories.  I’m going to have to really set out to figure out the ages of the Knights of Virtue, but suffice it to say, Richard is our oldest one, and he features prominently in this book.

In any case, the meat of this story takes place back in a time when Maximus and Richard were both somewhat young.  Whereas The Tinker’s Tale was supposed to demonstrate a sort of man vs nature plot, Stealing Seramore embodies an even more distant genre: a heist.

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Part of me almost regrets not going with this cover.  It was gorgeous, and probably would have went over really well.  This title doesn’t come out till 2018, so I might get this picture finished and do my first A/B testing with the public… wouldn’t that be nice?

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This was the variant of the cover we ultimately went with.  The reason we chose this one was that it added a new character to the back instead of showing the two leads twice.  It also put the focus on Maximus and Richard more than the guard who is patrolling in the room with all the cures to the Carbuncle.

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Lickety split, Leo put some glorious touches on the piece that really made it come to life.  In a lot of ways, this is one of the more beautiful works he’s done with us.  The lighting and reflections are stunning, and I love the textures of this temple.

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After that, it was only a few things that needed to be tweaked in order to give it that final touch.  Maximus and Salvatore needed beards, and we got a splash of light on the front cover.

And there you have it—the making of another great Leo cover. We’re so grateful to have such a wonderful relationship with him.  Here’s to dozens more covers to show off over the next few years!

Art Reveal – Transformed Cover

Hello all!  It’s been an exceptionally long time since we had a cover to show off here, and we’re going to make amends today.

Though we’re still a long way off for Transformed, the sequel to Mageborn, it’s about time we show off the cover.  We’re kind of going out of order here, because Dragonspeaker is the next one that’s up after Lord of Thunder releases in March, but we don’t actually have that cover done yet, so you’ll just have to wait!

Another interesting thing about this cover is that it’s probably the one that went furthest from where we started, out of all the covers we’ve done yet.  Let me show you what I mean.

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One of the more important places in the series is the gardens.  This is one of Gaston’s favorite places, and it’s expanded to become one of Adelia’s favorites too.

In this first attempt at the follow-up cover, you can also see two new characters.

Ultimately, we decided it was a little too bright and cheery.  We asked Leo to see if we could do something darker instead.

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Rather than give up entirely, we made the gardens look a little darker at first.  Our lady in the back looked more like a villain than we were happy with, and we decided to try and start over with a different locale.

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Moving indoors brought us back to the study that Adelia was playing in for the cover of Mageborn.  She’s a little older and more experienced now, so we aged her up a bit.  We also have a back cover now, so we were able to include Gaston and that new character, Lucinda on the back.

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This was just a small change, but we wanted the front and the back to almost be a reflection of one another, so we removed that low wall for the purposes of the art.

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With a splash of color, you can see a little bit more than you did before.  In the book, Lucinda is a frisky lady, and Gaston looks like he’s bit off more than he can chew here.

Meanwhile, Adelia is performing her magic for a familiar character from the first book in the series.

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At this point, the back has taken shape very nicely.  Lucinda, in her purple outfit is torturing poor Gaston with salacious remarks and “bad” touches.

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Finally, here we have the full cover.  On the front, you can see that Adelia is in a more attractive outfit than she wore in Mageborn. She’s starting to come into womanhood (no small part influenced by Lucinda, mind you), and we wanted to reflect that by making her a little easier on the eyes.

She’s also playing around with those butterflies again, only this time, she’s making them out of ice, an element she has an affinity for.

That’s about it for this cover, but we’re not going to make you wait nearly as long for this next one.  It’ll be a teensie little Christmas present!  In the meantime, we’ll just be chugging along, ready to move into this next phase of Tellest as quick as we can.

Cheers!

Art – Heart of the Forest Cover by RedPear

Good morning all you fans of fantasy!

As many of you know, last month was November, which for a lot of people means not shaving your mustaches and beards.  For some writers, it means one hectic 30 days of trying to reach a goal that might seem impossible: 50,000 words.  For some people, NaNoWriMo is a breeze.  For me, I knew it was going to take some special attention.  I did away with my notebook for this particular adventure, and just wrote everything on the computer.  My goal was 1667 words per day—I met them most days, surpassed them on a couple of days and missed out entirely one or two days because of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and other things.

I knew that I couldn’t do it by myself.  Though the story had been brewing in my head for years (more on that later), it had been part of a different medium.  I needed a little push to think of it as a real story in the Tellest universe.

That’s where RedPear came in.  While I wasn’t ready to commit 100% to it being a novel, I wanted a cover for this story.  She agreed to give me an interim cover, which, when it’s completed, will inform the final cover that we’ll likely get from Leo if he’s up for it.  But first, we started with some sketches.

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These were both ones that we ultimately passed on.  Even though I love all the things that RedPear does, we could only choose one, and we ended up with this one:

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After that, it was only a matter of fleshing it out.

Heart of the Forest Follow Up Sketch

It’s amazing how much of a difference RedPear can make with just the lineart/sketch phase of her work.  She did a really cool job letting me know where we were going with the final piece.

Heart of the Forest Colored

After that, RedPear did some nice coloring, giving our ranger those verdant greens he’s known for.  She also did some foreground and background work to make the piece pop even more.

Heart of the Forest Complete

All of that work culminated with the final variation, where Steel Tip aims at the foreground, ready to protect the forest of Cefen’adiel.

 

So what’s Heart of the Forest about?  It’s the novelization of a game that I’ve been working on for a while.  You may have seen the sprites from our earlier attempts at putting it all together.  If nothing else, this is going to make the story in that game all the more impressive.

While I was successful in “winning” NaNoWriMo, this story still has a long way to go—20 chapters are so, actually.  But it’s my aim to make sure that a new chapter is written every week for it, and able to be seen on our Patreon for the uberfans of Tellest!

Art – The Enemy Within Cover

When we set out in early 2014 to really give Tellest a push forward, we were lucky enough to begin working with a couple of incredible artists.  Leo has been ripping it up as far as the Tales of Tellest series went, but we were also incredibly blessed by the stretch goals we were able to reach.

By the time the Kickstarter campaign was done, we solidified the idea that we were going to be able to procure new covers for the original trilogy as well.  Over the last few months, we were able to show you what The Bindings of Fate and As Darkness Falls looked like, but now, finally, we have the cover for The Enemy Within.

As always, we started with a rough sketch.  I knew that I didn’t want to focus to be on Kaos again for this third cover.  He was very important to the overall trilogy – it is The Child of the Stars trilogy, after all – but Tellest is an entire universe.  It shouldn’t have just been about him.  So we took one of the more pivotal moments from Christopher and Steel Tip’s journey, and gave that idea to Leo.

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Out of context, this is a little bit “Peter Pan” – not that there’s anything wrong with that.  If Disney wanted a Peter Pan digital art piece, they could do a lot worse than work with Leo!  But you can see here where things are going.  Steel Tip is reaching for Christopher, who makes a desperate leap for the ship.  That’s the Celeste, for those of you who read the book.

After that, Leo made a few changes and added some color.

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At this point, we can see the Blacklehnians who have chased Christopher down.  He’s definitely being pursued to the fullest.  We swapped out his sword for a hammer, because that’s his weapon of choice.

You can also see a bit of blue at the bottom here.  There was a minor miscommunication here when we were talking to Leo.  The Celeste is an airship, after all.  No water should have been beneath it, but we had it all ironed out for the final piece.

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Now that’s an incredible cover.  It really fits the description we were looking for, it paints our heroes wonderfully, and it just… it was the perfect way to finish that 8 cover run.

I want to thank all the people who have brought Tellest to life across the past four years or so.  As incredible as it is, how far we’ve come, it is important to know that we have barely scratched the surface of what this literary universe is capable of!

Art: The Littlest Kobold Cover

Now that the “long” short, The Littlest Kobold, has run its course, I thought it would be a good time to show off the cover process for it!

We started off by reaching out to Kimirra, who had yet to do something quite like this.  She doesn’t often do anthro work, so the tiny dog-like kobold on our cover definitely required her to think outside the box a bit.  She sent us over a sketch.

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It was around this time that we realized the versatility that Kimirra had as an artist.  Most of her work is very sensual, or mature, but she designed Camille and Leah to look very elegant and whimsical.

After that, she ramped it up a notch.

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Obviously, we’re quite happy with the artwork.  She did a wonderful job, and captured the innocence of the piece, giving us two excellent new characters to cherish for a lifetime!