Over the last several years it’s been my delight and immense pleasure to play in Thra, the world of The Dark Crystal. From novels to picture books, it’s been like a dream and truly one of the highlights of my career, heretofore.

This book, out in November, is one of several new books which tie-in to the upcoming The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series on Netflix.

It’s a 40 page, fully illustrated book of wonderful little witticisms in Aughra’s most particular voice. Anyone who has read J. M. Lee’s work with The Dark Crystal knows he has a knack for capturing the feel of the film but it’s his ability to expand, enrich, and deepen the world of Thra which so enchants me.

Aughra is a tricky character to get right. To explore the cover I began by tracking down some decent resolution screenshots from the original film. From there I worked up a handful of variations and sketches.

Once the team settled on a direction it became a matter of finishing the drawing and then moving into the digital painting.

In what’s something of an unusual move for me, instead of transferring the sketch on to different paper and working up the drawing with my regular set of pencils, for this piece I actually just went right back in the scribble and finished the drawing with a brown Col-erase pencil.

A few reasons for the change in my method.

Speed and efficiency, sure, but also a looseness and pushing the drawing in a slightly different direction. In fact, pushing the work beyond anything I’ve been able to accomplish for these Dark Crystal books was my overarching goal for this whole project.

I wanted to differentiate it from what I’ve done previously and there’s something of a carefree confidence to the work in this book which I think could only come from years of working within the world. Also, you always hope to get better and improve with each project so I suppose there’s that, too.

When it releases later this year you can be sure I’ll take you on a tour of the interior art and you’ll be able to judge for yourself whether or not the changes in my method are successful.

Until then I leave you with the cover art and these parting words from Aughra herself, “End, begin, all the same. Big change. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.”