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.
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!
I’m still getting used to life after Kickstarter. Things are moving extra extra quick, from a writing perspective, a marketing perspective and a website maintenance perspective. I’m waking up early every day, all in the hopes of trying to catch up with everything. We do have some good news—another book was finished over the weekend—but hey, that’s not what you’re here for this instant. You want art!
We’re all set to deliver, because we once again were given the opportunity to work with RedPear. This time, we’re showing off a character who was introduced in one of the original trilogy books before getting a little spinoff short story in the Tales of Tellest.
Conrad the Blessed would be an unassuming citizen of Atalatha if it wasn’t for his talents as a cleric. He’s been responsible for bringing some of the finest heroes back from the brink of death, but following the end of the battles with Blacklehn, he found himself healing the wrong person…
The first thing we had to decide was what pose we wanted to introduce Conrad with. We passed on the top one, and went ahead with the bottom selection.
Red gave us a nice little follow-up, so we could take a guess at what kind of outfit we could expect our cleric to wear.
Of course, our artist is nothing if not thorough, and as we made our way deeper into the character creation process, she gave us some other clothing options to choose from.
We ultimately settled on pretty much the same outfit she originally set out for us. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, after all!
From there, Red made some slim changes to the character’s face to more accurately represent the model we chose. I think this version of the character’s face looks very unique compared to a lot of our other Tellest heroes!
Finally, Red added a dash of color, and gave Conrad a real good last look at him.
It’ll be a long while before we get to feature some RedPear art again, but we are so excited for that opportunity. She did some great work for us, and we can’t wait for her spot in the schedule once more!
It feels like it’s been forever since we had a piece of character art from RedPear, but that all changes today! Even more exciting, this is the beginning of her second set, since she’s working on one of the characters from As Darkness Falls.
We’re starting her off with one of my favorite characters from the series, let alone that book. Eclipse Clarion had a brief appearance in The Bindings of Fate, but it was only in passing, and it was only a nod to his eventual full reveal in the sequel. Eclipse is a ranger from the Spirit Woods, and someone who has a little different of an experience than another ranger like Steel Tip. He’s never been to a city, he’s very “one-with-nature” and he’s got a cool power to boot.
RedPear started us off like she always does, with a nice little sketch of the character. In this case, you could see the kind of outdoorsy look that Eclipse would have.
The follow-up showed a little bit more of what we could expect from the final piece. Eclipse has the look of a highlander, just about, and he’s more than willing to draw a blade against someone who threatens his forest or his friends.
And here we have the final piece. He’s definitely got the look that I would have expected from RedPear. She did a wonderful job with it, and I couldn’t be happier. Eclipse has had his share of adventures with Kaos and his crew already, but his time away from the Spirit Woods is definitely not over. Stay tuned for more from the world of Tellest, which will certainly feature this awesome ranger!
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.
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:
After that, it was only a matter of fleshing it out.
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.
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.
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!
This is the final bit of the wedding related artworks that you’ll see from us! I know, it’s very sad, but everything about our wedding was glorious. There was only the tiniest bit of drama, and it doesn’t stand up at all to how amazing the whole experience was. So don’t fret… just enjoy this latest piece of artwork.
One of the things that I wanted to do was make sure my groomsmen felt very appreciated. They took me on an awesome bachelor party (white water rafting, could not be happier), and they all did a great job helping out the day of the wedding.
One of the things that I got them was a personalized flight paddle and beer glasses so that they had something practical (and a little nod to the rafting trip). But I also wanted to show these guys how I see them. They’re all heroes in their own way, and they’ve inspired me in ways that the don’t even know. With that in mind, we ended up going to work trying to get a cool portrait done with the Tellest characters that they helped me to create over the years.
My initial aim was to try and get RedPear, who has always done an awesome job with the characters, to do this ensemble piece. Unfortunately, because of school related work, we were unable to collaborate. She sent me to her friend Yanisaran though, who I’m happy to say took me up on the offer.
The first thing to make sure we had down was the way Eclipse looked. He was a character who was only briefly seen in The Bindings of Fate, but began to play a big part in the second book an onward. Yanisaran took the references shot that I gave her and put together a decent sketch of the character:
After that, it was time to put together the sketches of the full piece.
As it grew, we were able to determine more of what it was going to end up looking like. One of the problems with some of these initial sketches is that you don’t necessarily know what’s open to interpretation sometimes, and what is aiming at going toward the final piece.
The outfits and everything ended up looking really, really cool, but you’ll notice that the characters didn’t quite end up looking like their counterparts in the other art that we had commissioned. Yanisaran did an awesome job, but the characters looked a bit too young for the roles they were trying to fulfill. Knowing that she didn’t have the time for any sweeping changes, I made an 11th hour, Hail Mary pass to Leo.
After a substantial amount of begging, I was able to convince Leo to take on one last wedding related task before the wedding… he managed to get all this done within a two week period. He really saved the day. While the original picture didn’t really need any triage—it’s a great piece of work—it just didn’t look too much like the people I was giving it to as a gift. Leo had already worked with every one of the characters before, so I knew he had the capability to really put a decent finishing touch on the piece.
We realized early on that updating the faces meant that the bodies didn’t look quite right, so Leo went the extra mile and really pushed himself to get everything looking spectacular. He really knocked this one out of the park.
I’m also very happy to say that these ended up being a big hit. I threw them in some decent picture frames and delivered them to the guys, and they opened them up the day before the wedding.
I want to thank all the artists for helping to make that such an awesome memory. This was really an ensemble effort that goes beyond just what you see here. It’s possible only because of all the work that people have been doing over the past two years with these characters, and I could not be more appreciative of all those labors.
I know one of the guys already has it hanging up in their house.
Let me send you off with one more picture. This is all of the guys in real life (plus the happy bride, of course!):
Many, many moons ago, when we began our collaboration with RedPear, we commissioned three separate pieces of art: Adelia, Schirner and Zachariah. You’ve seen the former two, but the latter was a different story. In the beginning of our working relationship with Pear, I think we managed to scare her off by inferring that we liked Adelia and Schirner, but not Zachariah. That wasn’t the case, we just liked the other two more!
After a lot of coercing, we were finally able to convince Pear to finish that third commission. This is the tale of that creation.
As always, we started with a simple sketch.
Our guard captain wears a magnificent suit of mirrored armor, though for the sake of Pear’s sanity, we dialed it back to some normal looking plate. You can see Zachariah in his bulky armor here.
After almost a year, Pear made a subtle tweak to the sketch, making sure that Zachariah’s neck was a little less exposed. What’s the point of all that armor if someone can just jab a spear in your throat without any issues?
It was time for the shading and more exquisite polish to be placed upon the piece. I think at this point he looked very much the part that we expected. His armor pops a lot more in this finished form.
Of course, as is always the case, the finished piece eclipses all the forms that come before it. Pear did an awesome job with this artwork, and we’re so happy she relented and did it for us.
Unfortunately, that’s the last we have from RedPear in our queue. She’s busy in school, so we’re stuck waiting until the end of the semester to commission her for more work. Wish us luck!
I tend to forget just how expansive my books can be. In retrospect, I probably should have started with the novellas before I began something as vast as The Bindings of Fate and the two books that followed. There were a ton of characters, and events happened simultaneously across Raleigh. I also tried to give every character their fair shot—even the villains of the story.
Case in point, Prodigy. Sure, he seemed a bit of a bumbling fool from time to time, but look at what he was up against: Rangers with metal skeletons that were trained by millennium-old elves; Warriors who could heave weapons with their mind; Thieves who wielded vampiric swords that could leech the life force from your body. Prodigy wasn’t some useless pawn—he was a loyal, determined soldier who was outmatched at every turn, and still did his best. At the end of The Bindings of Fate, he succumbed to those odds, but… we never really saw him die. And you know that what’s true of comics is true of Tellest…
In any case, we’re doing Prodigy a solid now. RedPear has stepped up to the plate and given this villain a proper portrait that really captures him not for the alleged vile acts he’s committed, but for the person he is. Check it out:
As always, we started out with a sketch. The northerners are definitely of a hardier breed, and Prodigy is every bit the barbarian that you expect him to be.
Pear took him to the next level with a little bit of shading and effects. Again, he doesn’t look evil so much as brutal. He’s a barbarian… it’s what they do!
After that, Pear did what she does best, and threw some color into the mix that made this alleged villain look really awesome. We want to thank her so much for kicking butt with this portrait, and making Prodigy look badass!
We’ve got a nice new collaboration with RedPear to show off, which almost completes our look at the main heroes from The Bindings of Fate. Seriously. So close, I can taste it.
This week, the hero who gets the treatment is Anson Fysis, our bard-turned-guard captain. He’s got this positive outlook on life that carried him through some incredibly hard times, and Anson has shown time and time again that his indomitable mirth makes him a force to be reckoned with.
As always, in capturing such a thing, we started off with a black and white sketch.
We determined that, while Anson starts off his journey kind of like a country bumpkin, we wanted to move away from the ponytail business a little bit. We loved the lute though, so we kept that in further revisions.
After we moved on with the unkempt variety of Anson’s look, we of course set out to see the awesome-ified version that Pear always takes us to.
There were some things that were altered here: most notably the nose, which was made a bit rounder. Anson was actually a character that had been formed by the inspiration of a childhood friend – he named the character and everything. And while Anson has evolved so much over time that the original character is lost beneath thousands of pages of text ever since, I think this version of the bard still captures a lot of that original essence.
The colored version of the piece is even more impressive, as we’re bound to expect from the talented RedPear by now. She did a great job on Anson, and we can’t wait to show you one or two last pieces from this collection!
Good morning everyone! It’s been a long while since we’ve had work to show from RedPear (over two months), but we’re prepared to remedy that today. Moreover, it’s going to be a “villain” that gets the treatment this time.
We’ve seen Essex Cayne in art form before, but he’s never been the focus of his own portrait. That all changes today. Of course, we always start off by trying to find the variation of RedPear’s sketches that we like the most.
These first two we liked, especially the second one, which we mostly stuck with. There was something a bit unsettling about the one character who managed to look directly at the viewer that we had subtly changed.
This variation was more in line with the character, I thought. Essex had been around for quite some time, and he’s seen some horrors. While he holds his head high, he’s still got a lot of pain that he deals with, and these eyes captured that better than the other images.
After that, Red set to making a more complete version of the character.
Essex looks like someone who comes from a place of refinement. And he should. He’s got his own castle (even though it does have a bit of the haunted, scary vibe now that his wife has passed away and he’s let it fall into disrepair) and he’s had plenty of time to make the most of his life.
The colorized version continued to make him even more attractive. His attire looks more complete in this version, and those eyes once again capture something that wouldn’t have otherwise been there.
RedPear came back swinging with this portrait, and we’ve got plenty more to show you in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!
We’re back again with the last bit of artwork for May – another piece on Bolt Thunderfury. A couple weeks ago I told you that we commissioned two pieces of art from RedPear. This would be the first time you’d actually see the character with his weapon (though we did give Skence the opportunity to see this piece, which informed his work).
Bolt’s weapon of choice is a chakram. He can use it to channel his electric energy, but I haven’t really had much course to demonstrate it over the course of his current stories. In Son of the Storm, he was just coming to terms with being a human, and in The Enemy Within, he was just trying to survive. In the stories that will be coming out that feature him going forward, we will bring a little more focus onto that weapon choice.
So, this first sketch shows what we would have when we put a weapon in Bolt’s hand.
This particular one is a little vague, and with that in mind, we had to really determine what we were going to do about giving him a chakram that he really enjoyed using. Pear was decent enough to give us some choices.
We went with the one at the top there. It may seem a little Xena-esque, but it made the most sense for someone who was good at throwing a disc, but was also brutally efficient enough to use it in hand to hand combat.
Once we had our chakram all picked out, Pear went ahead with the second sketch.
You can see here that the chakrams we went along with were integrated into the sketch. He’s got a stern look about him, too. Maybe the need to work with his weapons means he’s encountering an enemy that requires his utmost attention.
With the enhancement of the final polish, the clothing is more layered, the chakram has some more sinister blades, and there are some special effects in regards to the lightning. As as we’ve come to expect from the excellent RedPear, we’ve also got the version completed in color.
After Bolt, we’re now completely caught up with Red Pear. It’s a woefully depressing notion, but we hope to work with her again very soon. Keep your fingers crossed!