Tag Archives: Kaiyonani

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.

01 01-2 02 03 04

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.

6 5c 5b 5a

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.

20 21

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 Concepts

Good morning!  While Paul started us off on our concept art for the races of Tellest, his busy schedule means that sometimes, we have to reach out to other artists for their interpretations.  In today’s case, we’re proud to introduce our new collaboration with Luigiix, another artist that we discovered on Deviantart and featured on this site.

When tasked with a race to tackle, our skilled artist chose the kaja. This is party due to the fantastic foundation that was set by Paul, but Luigiix definitely put his own spin on things.

We started off, as always, with a subtle sketch.



From there, we had a good basis of what the characters were going to look like.  What’s more, we made a bargain where we would have the opportunity to see both males and females of the race.

After the initial set up, we took looks at the individuals.  To start, we began work on the male kaja.

Kaja Male 1


You can see that we made him equal parts gladiator and tribal, which translates really well to art.  It’s definitely a different style compared to Paul’s prior work on the race, but it’s still got its own great character.

After that, Luigiix finished the male with some nice coloring.

Kaja Male Complete


He definitely had some huge shoes to fill – Paul’s work on Kaiyonani was no joke.  But I think the work that he did on the female kaja shows that even though Paul did such a fantastic job, there’s room for everyone to put their best into these concepts.



This iteration of the kaja definitely had a similar look to the proposed concepts, but things changed a little as time went on.

Kaja Female Complete


Our concept piece here definitely had a more regal, composed look to it.  I can just about believe that this could be another interpretation of Kaiyonani.  Luigiix did a great job.

And then he put the two together, for good measure.

Kaja Complete Background


We’re looking forward to much more from Luigiix in the future.  If his work on the kaja are a sign of what’s to come, we’re heading toward something great!

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!