Tag Archives: Steel Tip

Art: Kaos and Steel Tip – Alliance

Hey there folks.  Today’s post is going to be short, but sweet.  It’s my birthday today, and it’s my best friend Kev’s birthday tomorrow.

When I first conceptualized Tellest, a lot of my friends were stand-ins for the characters in my mind.  That happens, I suppose, when you’re seventeen and you’re using videogames where you can make your own characters as your starting point!

With that said, Kaos and Steel Tip were fairly obvious references to me and Kev.  While a lot has changed in the series since then, and things are changing even more in the next few years, taking us further from these characters as we knew them, I’ll always remember the time where these two heroes were the two of us.

Thank you to Leo for taking these characters, and putting a spin on them so that they looked like the two of us.  Happy early birthday to Kev!

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…

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!

Character Art – Steel Tip

I didn’t realize how long it’s been since we had some Hozure art on this site, but now I can quantify it: too long!  But today, we’re going to rectify that.

The last big character piece that our favorite “figurine” artist did for us was Kaos Kreegan back in August.  We’re in November now, though, and seeing as Michael is working on a story about Ippius now, it only seems fair that we look at one of its greatest heroes: Kevin Dactyls, otherwise known as the ranger, Steel Tip.


Once again, we’ve got a slightly beardy ranger firing out with his bow.  You can see here, though, that he’s using the Spectrum, the weapon he acquired in As Darkness Falls.  How?  That ain’t no normal arrow!


Here you can see the iconic green that the ranger is known for, and you can more definitively see the awesome magic arrow that is ready to be fired out.  I love all the details here, from the warped look to the bow, to the magic quiver, Woodchuck, slung over his shoulder.


Finally, we’ve added a colored background behind the ranger that makes him pop a little bit more.  There’s a beautiful smoky look to everything, and he just comes off looking badass.

There’s no better ally for Kaos than Steel Tip, and we’ve got some very interesting changes coming for his character in the near future (can someone say Retcon?), so keep your eyes peeled.

April Fools’ Art – Steel Tip and Spectrum

Howdy folks!

So, last week, our big reveal from Tellest 3000 focused on Kaos and his mech, Wildfire.  This week, we’re giving you a look at his best friend Steel Tip, and the mech that he uses, Spectrum.

Steel Tip sketch01

Just like with Kaos, we started with a few sketches.  Steel Tip was going to be a bit of a sniper in this one, so we had a few ideas of how we wanted him to look, outfit-wise.  We opted to use the variant on the right.

Steel Tip Sketch02
Another look at the character.


Steel Tip Flatcolor

After that, our artist threw on some coats of paint.  You’ll be familiar with this color scheme if you’ve seen Steel Tip in our other media. Here you can tell he uses a pretty extensive sniper rifle.


Here there’s a layer of shine on the marksman.  He’s got a secondary sidearm in case he needs it, but he definitely prefers to use his trusty sniper rifle.

Spectrum Sketch01

Moving over to the mechs, we had a few designs to choose from. They were both pretty similar, and featured a ginormous railgun that essentially serves as the mechs sniper rifle.

Spectrum Sketch02

The closer look at this one shows that the Spectrum is not something you want to mess with.

Spectrum Flatcolor

Just as before, a little color made this mech stand out—though not too much, since we wanted it to camouflage fairly well.


Just like with the man who pilots it, here you can see the Spectrum in all its glory.  Bells and whistles galore, with a lot of energy doohickeys all over the place.


Finally, you can see Ai Marwan’s look at the two together.  He did a great job, and we’re excited to show you the third and final mech next week!

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.

HotF 3

HotF 4 ZO

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:

HotF 1 ZO

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: Steel Tip

Today, we’re showing off one of my favorite bits of artwork thus far. RedPear really outdid herself when she took the commission for Steel Tip.

Being such an important character to the series, I couldn’t have asked for a piece of artwork that pops as much as this one does.  He just embodies the cool, shameless hero that everyone really likes. Our favorite ranger has a power that you can’t really express through art unless you’re showing him practically mangled, so we focused on his general appearance and his attire.




This was one of those pieces that didn’t have any other sketches to choose from, and I can say that I probably wouldn’t have chose any others.  After the sketch phase, we moved onto the full, uncolored version.



Just look at that!  Do you see how much that pops!?  It was freaking outstanding, and I think, even now, even though I have another handful of finished pieces, this one has remained my favorite, maybe only offset by another one or two.



But then check out the colorized version.  This one is by far the most impressive character portrait that we have.  RedPear really outdid herself.


Of course, Kevin Gallagher, arguably the second most important person in Steel Tip’s development, had to go and make one last-minute alteration.  Because Steel Tip’s eyes are blue, and he has to step on everyone’s toes, he gave us this version:

Steel Tip Portrait_Blue Eyes



The Night Before… Part 1

It’s been sometime since I’ve written anything for Tellest, though Michael and I have gone back and forth over the last few months about various ideas for me to work on. Everything interests me, it’s just a matter of finding time to write it all. I have a “to do” list of short stories, novelettes, and novels that I would love to work on, but I can never seem to write even a word about this universe that I’ve been a part of for close to half of my life.

That being said, Michael and I revisited a story that I wrote about a year ago. Tellest was running a “holiday writing prompt contest” and I got into the idea of creating a holiday from scratch. While talking about that story, I developed the idea for a second holiday that could be celebrated by a small group of people from within the Tellest universe.

That’s the story I ended up writing last year and will be representing shortly. But first, after going on about how I’ve just couldn’t find the time (aka not inspired), I just want to mention it’s funny what inspires me to write. One would think that it would be about Steel Tip. To a degree it is, because sitting down and fleshing out The Night Before Nadeus, the story you are about to read, from two stories having very little to do with one another to a three part story that involves the Dactyls family is what made me say, I have a story here.

I won’t bore you with anymore details– except for one. Originally I was going to repost this last week, and debut Part 2 today; however plans for this came together rather late. I didn’t want to cheat anyone out of a good story, so Part 2 of The Night Before series should be released next month, along with some news on what Part 3 has in store for the Tellest universe.

The Night Before Nadeus

By Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr

Jason sat at his desk in school, tapping his feet while staring at the hourglass as it slowly emptied. Normally he paid no attention to the time; school was one of the few places he could be himself with his friends. It was his first year of lessons outside of the castle grounds, and he was far too excited to see the city of Argos, the capital of Saffraan, decorated for the holiday.

It’s like time has frozen, Jason thought as he watched each grain of sand drop to the bottom of the hourglass.

He had heard rumors of the décor the citizens adorned to their homes and shops. It was in contrast to how he and his family celebrated Nadeus. The castle was normally lit by white candlelight with a tree at its center. The tree had simple, clear flutterballs that held a rare form of rainbow flutters drained of their color, producing white instead of more vibrant colors.

Jason rarely joined in the conversation with his friends about the holidays, as he knew nothing of the version of Nadeus they celebrated, Wintertide. While Nadeus celebrated what a small portion of the population believed to be the creator, Wintertide celebrated Andekus, the goddess known for gift-giving. Many towns, including Argos, held the Wintertide Festival – a weeklong celebration.

Although the festival was almost over, it was the night before Wintertide, and school would dismiss early. It was the only opportunity Jason had to explore the capital and experience Wintertide before going home for his family’s Nadeus Eve dinner and prayer. He stared at the hourglass, waiting for the final minute to come to an end. As the final grain of sand fell, the timer began to glow and hum, indicating class was over.

“Enjoy Wintertide with your families tomorrow,” the teacher said as he disenchanted the timer, “May Andekus bless you all tonight.”

The students packed their supplies in their bags and left the building. Jason was one of the last to trickle out, and he took a deep breath, looking all around. Though very modest for Wintertide, the décor in the area astonished him. The school building had a wreath with a bow hanging on the door, while the other buildings in the area had many of their trees or hedges dressed in colored glass of many shapes.

He headed towards the town center. His eyes grew large as he gazed at the shop windows adorned with rainbow flutterballs, small spheres that housed traditional rainbow flutters. Instead of the plain white he was used to, these produced a beautiful series of colors. Jason then ran to a shop, pressing his hands on the window pane, staring at sculptures of Andekus, Wintertide gnomes, and celestial pegasi.

Jason’s attention was stolen by what stood in the town center. A tree was there that looked much like the one his family had at home, a twelve-foot pine. That was where the similarities stopped. Every color and shape of glass ornament hung from the tree, with the enchanted mane of deceased steeds spread across the tree, sparking in the sunlight. More rainbow flutterballs than he could count adorned it, and he was sure it kept the surrounding streets bright as day when the sun disappeared.

Once he finished absorbing in the beauty of the Wintertide Festival, he made his way to his father’s favorite shop in Argos: Xanthus’ Coins. Jason’s father was an avid collector of coins from across Tellest. Every month, they would visit the shop to see if Xanthus had brought in anything new. Because his father’s collection was so large, it was becoming increasingly more difficult to find new pieces. Jason had been praying every night that when he visited the shop, Xanthus would have a new coin he could get for his father.

“Jason!” Xanthus shouted as the boy walked into the shop.

“Mr. Cambridge, how are you?”

“Now boy, how many times do I have to tell you?” Xanthus briefly paused, “Mr. Cambridge is my father.”

The two shared a smile before Jason asked, “Any chance something new has come in this month?”

Jason could see a look of joy in Xanthus’ face. The shop owner, old enough to be Jason’s grandfather, walked, tapping his cane all the way to the backroom. He was only gone a few moments when he came back out with a small cloth bag. When he returned to the counter, he carefully emptied the contents of the bag for Jason to see.

Jason studied one side of the coin that rolled out. It was weathered, older than anything Jason had ever seen. Time had not been kind to the coin. There were some nicks, but no noticeable design or anything that made the coin seem special.

“It does look old, Xanthus, but –”

“Patience, my boy,” the shop owner interrupted with a huge smile.

Xanthus grabbed one of his tools and carefully grabbed the coin to flip it over. Jason’s eyes instantly grew in excitement. He could see an image on the other side. It was barely visible, but there nonetheless.

“Is that an eagle?” Jason asked.

“Could be. It’s definitely some sort of winged beast,” Xanthus answered.

“How much?” Jason excitedly asked.

“Jason, this coin,” the old man paused, clearing his throat, “this coin is priceless. I could never put a price on it.”

Jason looked at the man holding the perfect present for his father, and his heart sank. He couldn’t believe he wouldn’t be able to bring this coin, so unique and rare, home as a present for his father. Jason sighed, turned, and started heading out of the shop.

“Hold up,” Xanthus chuckled.

Jason returned to the counter, perturbed that the shop owner was laughing at the situation.

“Just because it’s priceless,” Xanthus said as he put the coin back in its cloth bag, “doesn’t mean it can’t go home with you.”

Xanthus cinched the cloth bag and handed it to Jason. The child took the bag and looked back and forth between his hand and the older man in amazement.

“Are you sure?” Jason asked excitedly.

“Positive. That old thing may be special to you, your father, and me, but no one else wants something so… so foreign.”

“Thank you, sir!” Jason exclaimed.

“You’re quite welcome,” Xanthus started as Jason ran out the door, “Happy Wintertide!”

Jason slipped the cloth bag in his pocket and continued to run home. It wasn’t far, and even with the sun still out, he was too excited not to hurry. Although he wouldn’t be presenting his gift to his father until the next day, Jason wanted to prepare it with the traditional Nadeus gift prayer. As those thoughts crossed his mind, his pace wavered. He looked around the last leg of his journey home, taking in the last bit of Wintertide left.

As he crossed the bridge to enter the castle grounds, he exchanged pleasantries with the guards and started absorbing in the decorations he’d been used to his entire life. The white candles and flutterballs, beside the statues of their creator, adorned the castle. Jason’s body relaxed as he took in his holiday traditions; the simplicity of it creating an instantaneous calm. Nadeus was very clean and had one purpose: celebrating their creator.

Prior to heading towards his room to prepare his father’s gift, he headed towards the center room of the castle. It was never used except for this time of the year, and it was where they held their Nadeus Eve prayer and exchanged gifts the next day. He entered the room and stared at the Nadeus tree, a luminescence radiating from the flutterballs.

As much as he enjoyed what he saw earlier in the day, Jason realized Wintertide was chaotic. The weeklong festival, all the color, the fictional characters; it was all too much. As he stared at his family’s tree, a large smile grew on his face.

He looked up and whispered, “Thank you.”

Jason quickly walked to his room, placed the coin bag on his bed and pulled out a box that contained supplies for the Nadeus gift prayer. He knelt before his window, clasped his hands, and bowed his head. He silently prayed for the forgiveness of all those who had sinned in the past year. Once his prayer was complete, he took a white cloth from the box and laid it on his bed. He placed the coin on the cloth and sprinkled some holy water over his father’s gift and cleaned up.

Moments later, he had returned to the center room, joining his father and mother, the King and Queen of Saffraan.

The King nodded at his son before saying, “God, hear our prayer.”

Steel Tip


Early Life

Born to Jason and Selene Dactyls, Steel Tip mainly went by his birth name, Kevin Dactyls, during his childhood. Kevin wasn’t the only miracle  brought to the King and Queen of Argos on Flamedays 13th, 958; his twin brother, Helios, arrived minutes later.Kevin grew up just like any other boy, regardless of social status; rough housing with his brother and getting into trouble with his curiosity. He often would run around the castle, stealing little trinkets here and there from his family’s history or from his father’s closest vassals. He would often find inventive ways to take these trinkets, usually with a children’s bow that one of Jason’s best friends gave him as a present.Regularly punished for this behavior, but never loathed, Kevin was loved by everyone residing on the castle grounds. The one exception was his brother Helios, who was not only jealous of his slightly older brother, but also often felt irritated that he’d get in trouble for Kevin’s mischievous acts.


Here we have the ranger in his natural glory.
Here we have the ranger in his natural glory.


Tierkres and the Metal Door Incident

Sometime after Kevin’s and Helios’ fourth birthday, the boys were playing in one of the castle corridors. Most of the castle was accessible to everyone, especially the Dactyls family, however, there were a few rooms off limits to certain people; even the boys. With Kevin’s knack for curiosity, when the boys approached a door they never noticed before, he naturally wanted to see what was in the room. When they discovered that the door was locked, it only made Kevin’s curious mind even more intrigued. Against Helios’ better judgment, Kevin insisted on finding a way in and had Helios be the lookout. Even with his habit of stealing trinkets from around the castle, Kevin didn’t have the knowledge of lock picking, so he did the first thing that came to his mind… he backed up and prepared to ram the door. Helios objected, worried that his brother would hurt himself running into a metal door; but Kevin went right through it. Not expecting to actually run through the door, Kevin fell to the ground. Helios, who had abandoned his lookout spot, ran over to his brother and helped him up. They only focused on the broken down door for a second and skipped right over the fact that there wasn’t a scratch on Kevin; the legendary sword of Tierkres was displayed before them and it stole their gaze. When Jason discovered what had happened, both boys were punished for their actions. Helios, however, took a more severe punishment; one that ended seeing him sent off to learn how to be a warrior.


Growing Up

Kevin grew up in Argos, going to school and studying to be King one day. His childhood wasn’t much different than most other children, except that he came from royalty. He and Jason had no fear about him attending school like the rest of the noble children; however, Selene was always against it, fearing that Jason’s enemies would come after him through Kevin. There was only ever once incident that danger presented itself while Kevin went to school, and that was a message from The Saphron Brotherhood, a group of assassins who consistently paid to go after Jason. The teacher, Miss Lufu Garnet, was able to prevent anything serious from happening. For this, and the way he was treated by his classmates, Miss Garnet offered self-defense training for Kevin to Jason. Although reluctant, Jason and Selene saw the importance of this and thought that this would be the most discreet way to handle it.


 Steel Tip Portrait_Blue Eyes


Arrival in Draconis

At the end of autumn in 976, Kevin (now officially going by his “Steel Tip” moniker) arrived in Draconis. In order to reclaim the Argosian throne, he needed to find the legendary Spectrum.  At the end of Icarus’ training of Kevin, he informed him the only true way to prove who he was, would be to produce the sword. Although he had never seen it, he was aware of it through Jason; as it was an item of importance to the Dactyls family, dating back to the first recognized ruler, Leopold Dactyls.