Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cover I Want

Let me try to show you the cover art that I dream about for my fantasy novel The Shard. It starts here:
Just the knight and horse, not the background, and he should be near the right edge of the painting. Now turn him so that he is facing slightly away from the viewer. I want him in just such a slumped posture and the same with the horse. The man knows he is looking at a scene that changes everything. He knows the long peace the land has known is gone. The only thing wrong with him is that he doesn't wear plate mail armor like this. So, on to the next picture:

This shows what the knight should be wearing...almost. It should look like this except that the surcoat design should have a red and black checkerboard pattern. If the artist puts a shield on him it should have the same pattern.

The knight has some men with him, though the ones on horses could be mainly out of the picture, perhaps just a hint of them showing up behind the primary figure.

Across from the knight is a wall of forest receding to the horizon, the trees all looking like giant redwoods, except that the bark is silver. Between the knight and the forest is sun burnt grass. Two of the trees should have hacking marks in them, with red sap leaking down from the cut. Five bodies should be scattered near the trees, with one out in the field, lying with his head toward the knight. Each body has a single silver-fletched arrow jutting from its back. There should be an axe or two lying near the cut trees. Depending on the balance of the picture, there could be a man-at-arms kneeling near the body and looking up at the knight, or he can be absent. There should be some crows hanging about.

That's about it. This is a scene from early in my book, and I feel it would be a good one to use as cover art. My dream would be to have it done in the style of Alan Lee, since I love his muted colors and elegant realism. I don't need the colors to be quite this muted, but I do want the realism. See this picture for example:


  1. I can just visualise what you've described. It would make an intriguing piece...

  2. That would be amazing! Love the name, "The Shard".

  3. I know that scene. Alan Lee is a genius.

  4. Alan Lee is a genius. Love his work. Now, how can you find a version of him that's still in art school and works for cheap?

    I loved that dragon painting you had done. That was amazing. I think it would be a blast to have someone draw a scene out of my novel.

  5. Vivid description. I think I'd buy the novel hoping to read that scene. I've done that with other novels.

    I browsed through your last post and will be back to follow the links after work. I didn't know Thrones was an HBO series - I may have to subscribe . . I definitely want to read the book.


  6. Sounds like it would be a great cover! I can definitely picture it...

  7. If I could only find an artist that I loved and could afford, I would commission lots of work from them!

  8. Having a good idea about the cover will make it easier for your publisher (WHEN you get one), if only so they have something to disagree with.

    When making the TV version of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, they were continually frustrated with building the Heart of Gold as Douglas Adams always said that the design they came up with wasn't right. The problem was that Douglas Adams didn't know what it should look like either.

  9. Martin, I'm not waiting for a publisher. If I can find an artist, I will go ahead and do the artwork I want. If I ever do get a publisher, they can then decide if they do or don't like what I have already commissioned!

  10. Ted, I love the fact that you envision everything in details, this helps artists ALOT. Too many times I talk to authors who say something like: "Yeah I want a hot chick with a katana." or "A vampire who looks both scary and hot." Ambiguity leads to so much potential problems later on.
    On the other hand, there are authors who envision everything in TOO much detail. Those can't ever be pleased.
    Hope you find the right artist to draw up the idea for you, I'd really like to see the cover!
    Also, I can ask around my side of the ocean for potential artists, I do know a few who draw traditional.

  11. Thanks. I keep finding artists who look like they could pull it off, but they are so famous that they charge more than I can afford. I need to find that up-and-coming art student who has the talent but hasn't yet established themselves. I'd love to find one who actually likes the fantasy I do, so we could do a series of paintings for my books. Probably just a dream, but it's fun.