Ouch Shade! Put that knife away! I’m sorry I left you hanging in limbo last week with a paper sack over your head. We’ve got your final face, ok! Sorry about that folks, Shade can be a bit touchy some times. Last week we left our small, but faithful following hanging of the edge of a major cliffhanger. The Covent authors had widdled their final selection of artists down to two finalists who were about to square off.
The third artist we’ll call Mr. World of Warcraft. Now I gave him this nickname because this guy is an art machine. He has produced hundreds of major art pieces for top tier clientele like World of Warcraft, Clash of the Titans among a smorgasbord of other well known brands. We were quite surprised at his affordability, when compared to other major fantasy art names, given his legendary status. So we plopped down the money and sent the overseas art request along. We decided to go with a very simple cover concept this time of Shade emerging from the shadows like he was going to stab the reader.
We received sketch 1 about two months later and we were pretty thrilled. Although the armor looked different again, Shade had a good face and a very confident strut. We had pictured him emerging from the darkness, but the shining tunnel behind him was kind of cool. So we sent back a small list of requested tweaks: lengthen the grin a tad, shorten the dagger a smidge and add so more sheathed daggers. The sheer number of knives Shade wears on his person is one of his most intimidating features.
Another two months passed and I couldn’t believe the amount of artwork Mr. World of Warcraft could produce every day. Every day I’d watch in awe as he put out at least one full color art piece on Deviantart.com, but it seemed he never got around to us. I want people to understand I harbor no ill feelings against him, but I started to realize we were a very small fish in a giant pond. The trademark deadline was bearing down. After a brief discussion with Mr. World of Warcraft, I advised we would be using another artist for the 6 B&Ws because time was running out.
Mr. World of Warcraft sent us sketch 2 about two and a half weeks later. We thought it was very good. Shade himself jumped off the page, the hood and cloak had never looked better, but this picture wasn’t entirely accurate. The face looked very robotic; we had a few people asking if Shade was a cyborg? No one got that this picture was of a Dark Elf or even an Elf for that matter. Shade was using a sword rather than a dagger (this posed problems down the road since the crown prince of Jui-Sae, who is also a trained Unseen, actually uses a sword a lot like that one). And the background looked like one of my son’s cardboard cutout forts slapped together with Elmer’s glue (baring the exception of the slick lighting effects of course).
I’ll spare you the other details, but we basically let most of the issues go and requested a couple minor tweaks. We never received the tweaked image, hence the words “Not Received” above, but it was at that time that Mr. Thom Scott began to steal the show (that's his real name BTW).
Now I want to be very clear that artist Thom Scott is not a new artist by any stretch of the imagination. He has also drawn professionally for Fantasy Flight Games, well known fantasy magazines and other book covers. Thom was fast and furious. He completed each B&W project in under a month, sometimes in mere weeks. Many pictures came with not just a concept sketch of each scene, but several character concept drawings and often a choice of scenes. Sweet!
Thom perfected his own version of Shade. Sketch 1 above is his original workup and sketch 2 is probably one of the most perfect full body sketches of Shade we’ve received to date. Thom completed Shade’s full color cover wrap, a rocking Elder Dragons color promoter image, the smoking color website template and 6 killer B&W interior sketches in the same time other artists finished just 1 or 2 pieces. He earned the words, “Featuring the Art of Thom Scott” on our cover and the full color cover itself after showing us he had the eye of the tiger! If you’d like to consider hiring Thom Scott, we highly recommend him! Visit him at www.ThomScottArt.com
Shade would like to thank Thom Scott for inking his final face and the assassin also wants him to know he put Thom Scott on his official “Do Not Kill List.” Thom started taking Shade’s face in the right direction in sketch 3. Shade’s face was finally dripping with confidence. The final color cover below pulled the Dark Elf’s features from the slight Lockjaw complex he was having in sketch 3 (for those of you old enough to remember He-Man). The final cover background is beautifully hand-drawn, the armor is darkly beautiful and finally Shade has been reunited with his frighteningly large arsenal of knives.
Visit us here if you’re interested in taking a gander at the final book showcasing more great art from Thom Scott!