Today features the step by step break down in the creative approach for a recent piece of cover art, just released by DAW books, for the novel Blackveil by Kristen Britain. It was an excellent read and a novel I highly recommend from within the genre. Kristen is not a prolific writer, but she hits a home run each time she releases a new work. I was most entranced with her thoughts of a corrupted forest, the namesake of the title, which brought back associations with Mirkwood from Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Those of you who know me well know anything which makes a connection to Middle-earth is an instant winner in my book of creative inspirations!

As is typical with all my projects, I begin with abstracts which lead into rough drawings to communicate and formalize the content with the art director. In this case Betsy Wollheim, the art director/editor who happens to be the co-owner of the company, requested a second round of sketches to better portray the main protagonist Karigan.

After a rough drawing is approved I move onto a photo shoot and reference gathering, and lastly into color application with oil painting. My assistant Kelley Hensing performed a wonderful job modeling for Karigan and the other characters in this composition.  Due to the rushed nature of this commission, I did not create a separate preliminary drawing but rather transferred the rough drawing as a composition guideline directly onto the board.

Final art 24″ x 36″
Oil on Panel