Hey there folks! It’s been two-and-a-half months since we’ve had the opportunity to show you some of the gorgeous artwork that RedPear does for us. We’re going to make up for that today with some character art of one of our fan favorites.
Lyla Brenna is an interesting warrior. Her home was overrun by another country, and she was drafted into their army. In time, she demonstrated her value to them as both a competent fighter, and as a capable spy. When she meets Kaos Kreegan, though, she’s unprepared for her heart to win over her sensibilities.
This is one of the sketches we passed on. I feel like we could have pushed for this one though, and it would have made for an awesome book cover down the line.
We also passed on this one. It looks great, but the winner that RedPear served up for us was spectacular.
This one just seemed so much more evocative for some reason. Whether it was because of the sword, the armor or her seductive gaze, we knew we had our winner.
Lyla is one of those characters who you just can’t help but enjoy reading about. She’s capable in a world filled with powered individuals, and she’s not hindered by love, but bolstered by it. It’s an interesting thing that you don’t see too much in fiction.
And here you go, our final look at RedPear’s Lyla. I love the pattern of her armor, and again, she captures so much emotion in that gaze. We look forward to bringing you another RedPear art piece at the end of next month. Stay tuned!
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?
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.
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!