The last time we talked Dark Crystal things, we took a look at the cover for Aughra’s Wisdom of Thra by J. M. Lee.

If you’d like to catch up on that post you can read it here.

Now that the new book is finally out I thought it fitting to take a little tour of the interior art.

It’s a fully illustrated picture book, some 30 pages of art. In fact, I was illustrating it concurrently with the fourth novel, Flames of the Dark Crystal, and let me tell you, it was a wild couple months. Between this book and the nine black and white, full page interior illustrations for Flames, well, you can imagine! Schedule aside, I am immensely proud of both books; Aughra’s Wisdom of Thra, in particular.

According to SYFY:

This indispensable collection of profound and sometimes funny phrases are accompanied by lush illustrations by artist Cory Godbey that transport you into the legends and lore of The Dark Crystal’s expansive mythology.

Enough of all that! Let’s take a look.

As usual, my initial thumbnails are almost indecipherable.

At this stage I’m hardly concerned with readability. My only real goals are to get the ideas down as quickly as possible and scribble out the gist of the composition in the allotted space. The client doesn’t see these.

From there, I’ll take that little thumbnail, scan it, and work up a digital rough. That’s what I’ll send along. Usually, it involves a few more sketches and little value to help convey the feeling that I’m after.

So for example, we’ll go from this, to this.


This is the level of finish I typically send along.

At this point, I’ve been working with Penguin Random House on books for The Dark Crystal since 2015 and with the Jim Henson Co. for even longer than that (since 2010 on Fraggle Rock comics!) Very early on we reached a great working visual relationship between all the fantastic art directors and designers. I’ve always felt that they’re especially able to know what I’m after in these digital roughs and they can see down the road to how the final paintings will look.

Anyway, once I’ve done that for every spread and it’s all approved, hopefully, it’s all down hill. It’s just a matter of drawing and painting.

They released a handful of the spreads from the book over on that aforementioned SYFY article so here’s a good sampling of the style and tone of the little book.

After four books of black and white interiors it was great to get to stretch out with a bit of color.

Aughra’s Wisdom of Thra is out now!