WHO CREATED THE STORM DANCER COVER.
I enjoy working with artists for my book covers. It's exciting to watch them translate my stories and visual characters into visual art.
For the Storm Dancer
cover, two artists were involved, Erica Syverson and Paul Davies. Both are fantasy illustrators. Paul painted most of the character and some of the background, and Erica painted much of the background and some of the character. I'm in awe of their skill and I admire the art they've created.
Dahoud - the troubled hero of Storm Dancer - has a dark secret. As a siege commander, he once razed, raped and killed... and he enjoyed it. Now he needs to atone. He has sacrificed everything to build a new identity and a life of peace, and he devotes himself to protecting women from harm. But Dahoud is not alone. Inside him lives a devious demon, a djinn that demands he subdue women with force. It torments him with pains and tempts him with forbidden desires. As you can imagine, this was not an easy character to paint.
Before I commission a cover illustrations, I have a clear vision of what I want - the character, the background, the overall design, the colours, the mood - and I give the artist detailed instructions. Then the artist does a sketch, interpreting my vision with their own. It's always thrilling to see what they come up with. I'm involved in all stages of the process, giving feedback and requesting changes along the way.
For the new cover of Storm Dancer
, knew I wanted a warm colour scheme based on scarlet, maroon and golden ochre, with a Hittite-type Bronze Age citadel and ominous storm clouds in the background. I provided reference pictures of the kind of clothes Dahoud wears, of Middle Eastern Bronze Age fortresses, the type of sword and other elements. Paul came up with this dynamic pose for the character which is much more exciting than the one I had before, and Erica painted the dramatic clouds.
I invited my fans who had read Storm Dancer (with the old cover) to contribute their vision of what Dahoud looks like, to have a look at the painting in progress and tell us if we got it right. This was fun (though much work for the artists) and I think the result is awesome!
At one stage, the character was almost perfect, and I couldn't put my finger on what wasn't right. Then, while I had the file open in GIMP (digital design software), I accidentally splotched a thin line on Dahoud's cheek. I was about to click “undo” when I realised that it looked great. That was what had been missing all along. I asked Erica to paint a scar in exactly that spot - and everyone agrees that it's perfect. I've even received fan mail about that scar.
I like to design my own book covers with the commissioned illustrations. I chose the font - Cheboygan - for the title and byline. When I was stuck with where to place the lettering, Paul came up with this solution in the style of a movie poster. I like it a lot.
Both artists have created book covers for me before. Paul Davies
paints mostly fantasy and science fiction illustrations. He provided the cover for Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates
. Erica Syverson
specialises in fantasy, supernatural and horror images. She has painted the covers for Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies
, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires
, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts
, and also for the Six Scary Tales
Reader response has been enthusiastic. Several fans have commented that they like the colours, the pose, the eyes... and the scar.
What do you think of the cover? Any parts you find particularly appealing? Based on this picture, would you trust this man? Would you like to spend time in his company, reading his story?
Leave a comment, and I'll reply.