Tag Archives: Dragonspeaker

Character Art – Kaiyonani

Folks, it’s that time again.  We’ve worked with Hozure enough to know that it’s probably going to be a permanent thing, and we’re happy to show off the latest of our collaborations.  While he’s mostly done humans and elves for us, we have had one of our anthro races show up.  Today, let’s make that two.

Kaiyonani is arguably one of our more popular characters.  People love cats, people love dragons, and people love powerful females. There’s a lot of boxes that get checked by Dragonspeaker.  But to make sure she looks as awesome as possible, that’s why we go to people like Hozure.

Kaiyonani has a very particular flavor to her.  Most of our characters have a very feudal Europe feel to them, but Kai comes from almost the Sahara equivalent of Tellest.  It wouldn’t make much sense to see her in heavy armor or anything like that.  Hozure captured her essence here perfectly.

With his next change to the character, Hozure added some awesome details to her.  The staff, her spots, the fabric… Everything just pops here.  I like the attention to her fur as well.  You’ll see a lot of smooth areas, but you’ll also see sproingy little tufts as well.

And there you have it.  Our Dragonspeaker from the Kehara in all her glory, captured by a very, very talented artist.  Thanks so much to Hozure for lending us his gifts!

Character Art – Kaiyonani

Hey everyone.  We’re here with a special treat for you today.  Red Pear’s interpretation of Kaiyonani is an awesome piece of work, and I’m so excited to show it off.  As our most popular anthro character, I’m always happy when we have an opportunity to dive into another look at our Dragonspeaker.

First we’ll show off a couple of the sketches we passed on.  This first one might have been just a touch too subconscious, but I thought she ended up looking a bit like a gnoll, so this was kind of on the chopping block right from the get go.

This second one was a little better—I liked the inclusion of the crook of Kai’s staff, but it looked a little too weasely.

This variation looked the best, in my opinion, and I suspect it was the pose Red wanted to do from the start!  Do you think we made the right choice?

Here’s our first follow-up.  Red put some more details in place, including the more catlike features, the shape of the staff, as well as some adornments.

After that, we had our first big jump in quality.  Red made sure that just about every part of Paul’s original design for Kaiyonani made its way over to her take.  The texture of her fur, the spots, the wrappings on the staff, the topknot.  It’s all there, and it looks great. But look what happens when you add a splash of color…

This definitely became one of my favorite pieces overall from Red. She did an awesome job at making this version of Kai her own, and it’s sure to be a lot of other people’s favorites as well.  Let’s hear it for Red Pear!

Character Art – Kaiyonani

Hello folks!  We’re still recovering from Comic Con Philly, so this post is going be a short one, but still a goodie!

Our latest new property is Dragonspeaker, and with things still fresh in everyone’s mind, we thought there was no better time than the present to show off our awesome kaja, Kaiyonani.

We’ve shown off some of Rigrena’s work before, but now it’s time to see what she can do with an anthropomorphic character.

As is pretty typical, we started off with some basic line art.  This let us know what we could expect of the final piece.

And what a final piece it was…

Rigrena loves to give awesome backgrounds to her pieces, so she threw Kaiyonani in the canyon that appears in Dragonspeaker.  Her take on the character is also incredible.  She has a good sense of motion.  And we get the awesome staff that has been featured again and again!

We still have more collaborations with Rigrena on the horizon.  Stay tuned for our next one!

Dragonspeaker has released!

Hey folks!  It’s new book day, and it’s a very special one for us today. This marks the first step into a new journey.  While all the books that came out in Tales of Tellest (as well as the Tellest Legends campaign’s Lord of Thunder) focused on established characters in the Tellest brand, this newest adventure introduces a brand new set of characters from a continent that we’ve heard of but never seen.

Not only that, but it allows us to explore a race that was only witnessed in short stories or deleted scenes.  The kaja are one of the first anthropomorphic races I’ve written about—we haven’t had a chance to play with centaurs or minotaurs, but we did have a story about kobolds.  In any case, this is definitely the longest tale I’ve told where an anthro character is the star of the show.  Kaiyonani is an awesome character who is only going to grow as we give her and her dragon companion some meatier stories in the future.

Kaiyonani knows what it’s like to be a cat of the Kehara desert. The harsh sands around her tribe’s oasis are hot and savage, and there are enemies abound throughout the region. The one thing her people had to rely on was their fierce dragon ally, Iraneth.

But now, the dragon is dead.

Kaiyonani’s grandfather fulfilled the role of dragonspeaker. It is a title that is passed down from one kaja to the next, though it usually changes hands because a mortal has died—not one of the majestic winged creatures they call friend. The next dragonspeaker has been named, and to everyone’s surprise, it is Kaiyonani who is destined to take up the mantle. She must venture across the desert, to lands unknown in order to make the bond with her own dragon companion,

But can she survive the cruel wilderness and dangerous creatures that call Saveon and the Kehara Desert home?

Dragonspeaker just released today, and it’s available for the low introductory price of just 99 cents.  You can’t beat that!  Why not check it out on Amazon today?

Dragonspeaker Thunderclap

Hey there fantasy readers!  I have something to big to ask you about, and I’m wondering if you can spread the word as well.

We’ve got a campaign going on to try and get Dragonspeaker in front of as many people as possible when the book releases on the 23rd of this month.  It’s on a platform called Thunderclap that is 100% free.

Now, that might sound like something that you’d see our other Tellest hero Bolt take credit for, but it’s actually a cool social media experience.  With Thunderclap, an author (or musician, artist, etc.) calls on his allies to band together and cry out an important message in solidarity, all at once.  Just like with Kickstarter, the campaign is only successful if enough people lend their hand.  In the case of Thunderclap, it’s not your money that your pitching in, but your voice.

Since Dragonspeaker is a new series, it needs all the help that it can get.  I would be extremely appreciative if you’d consider taking a stop over to our Thunderclap campaign page.

There, you’ll see the message we want to send out when Dragonspeaker releases:

Just below that, you’ll see a set of buttons that you can click on to lend your support:

You can click on any or all of those buttons to add yourself to that “supporters” number at the top right of the first picture.  Remember, we need 100 supporters total in order to get the message out.

After that, Thunderclap will take care of everything for you.  They’ll post a message on your behalf to your chosen social media feed.

Kaiyonani thanks you, and I do too!

Dragonspeaker releases on the 23rd of May, and I’m hoping to give it an explosive debut.  Tune in for more news along the way!

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!

Interim Cover Art – Dragonspeaker

A few months ago, we were very lucky to show off an interim cover of the upcoming book, Heart of the Forest.  Red Pear did us a solid and gave us some gorgeous artwork surrounding a character that she was familiar with, and that helped us to really sell the idea on Heart of the Forest as a Kickstarter stretch goal.

Today, she’s at it again, this time with a new character who I’m certain you’ll love.  And she provides us with what may be the best art we’ve had commissioned to date.

You’ve all seen Kaiyonani before, but never like this.

Dragonspeaker is the name of Kaiyonani’s first big adventure.  It’s the first story that’s told without any preexisting characters being seen or mentioned.  We knew that there was a lot of work on the table for Red Pear, but she floored us every step of the way.

First off, we had to pick from a set of sketches.

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These were all the ones that we ultimately passed on.  They’re incredible, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Red tackle the next sketch:


We’ve yet to see a dragonrider in any Tellest art, and this was the perfect opportunity.  Red was certainly up to the challenge, too, and she gave us a series of work in progress sketches as we neared the final piece.

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We were coming along fairly well, and then Red went into some greater detail and shading.



Every time she added detail, it ended up being that much cooler.


Once color was part of the equation, it started to steal our breath away.

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Seriously… how can you not like that cover.  It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in the longest time, and I could not be prouder of Red for kicking so much butt with it.


This could easily pass for the cover of Dragonspeaker.  I hope it ends up getting a lot more people excited for the book, and that we end up surprising a lot of people with the upcoming story!

Art: Kaja Dragonspeaker, Kaiyonani

I’m bringing you one of my favorite pieces of art ever today.  When Paul and I began working on the races of Tellest, one of the ones that I was most looking forward to was the kaja.  Sure, there have been plenty of works of fantasy that have their own variations of feline races, but I’m very happy with mine, and Paul managed to take what I had in my head and put it to a digital piece of art that I will treasure forever.

Last time we talked about the kaja, we talked about how we had a pose that we had to narrow the model down to.  Instead, we took pieces of two of them.




We really wanted to dial back from the very dynamic shots that had from some of our other characters, but we didn’t want her standing there waiting to enter combat after her male cohorts did all the ground work.  This pose gave her a little bit more of a flirting-with-danger, come hither look.

After that, Paul worked his magic, and we came up with a very good sketch of our final piece.  This kitty has claws, and she looked so expressive even at this stage of her creation.




I have a lot of respect for Paul, and what he does.  When he creates these characters, he develops a backstory for them in his head.  He’s already come up with ideas for the goblin and the orc that he did, but with this character, I think I beat him to the punch.  This kaja is a dragonspeaker, a leader of her community that can actually commune with the great tyrants, and keeps a harmony between them.

Next up, Paul put together a nice color scheme for our savage dragonspeaker.




At this point, you can see just how well she’s coming along.  Her attire has more personality.  The minutiae of her physical features is expressive – Paul did a great freaking job with this.

I would have even considered this piece finished at this point, but he went and touched up our kaja even more.




The dragonspeaker had more patterns to her fur and skin at this point.  Individual flecks and circles dotted her caramel colored body, and the gem in her staff is throwing off wisps of magic.

Rhianna and I even came up with a name for this champion, and that’s how we ended up with our very first story-less hero.




Kaiyonani was an awesome way for us to wrap up our art projects from 2014.  I’m so looking forward to working with Paul again throughout this year!


This incredible new champion has been inducted to the Tellest Art Gallery.  Check her out, along with the other finished pieces from Paul’s collection of commissions!