I am pleased to have Jason C. Conley on my blog today author of The Kingdom of Vosh: The Chained Princess:
Interior artwork in a novel is something that can only enhance the reader’s experience. I’m not sure if it’s a dying medium yet, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to see a resurgence in its use in mainstream novels. When I began writing this book, the artwork played a key role in developing not only the characters and settings, but the atmosphere, mood, and heart of the story. I created all the interior artwork for the book over the course of a year or so as I wrote. Ideas would be fleshed out, some dropped, some expounded upon. But being able to see a creature, to get a glimpse of their eyes and see their furiosity or a machine’s texture, it’s inner workings, even if just a little bit, helped to bring me into this world I had created, and hopefully you as well.
It is important for an artist, no matter the subject matter, to draw from life as often as possible. No one’s imagination, or memory for that matter, is good enough to just remember how to draw a city, person, animal or vehicle and include all of the subtleties of life. Things like shadows, light sources, texture, wrinkles, they bring a picture to life and establish it in a reality of sorts that is believable.
Animals have a different musculature than people, a different way of holding their weight and moving. So when designing a creature for the book, I tried to imagine what the closest real life animal would be and then began to study how it held itself. Like the Great Teras below, I wanted a hulking, weighty brute of an animal, something low to the ground and heavy. So I went off of pictures of both an American Grizzly and a Komodo Dragon. This formed the base, something to expand upon and develop. A starting point.
Vehicles have difficulties all their own. They have moving parts, their form follows their function. You have to believe that at one point somewhere, someone designed and fabricated and assembled this working, moving wonder of engineering. What are they made out of? What is their fuel source? How do they get from point A to B without crashing into a burning spectacle? Now, you can go too far with this thought process. This is fantasy after all. But it should have some basis and semblance of reality in order to transport the reader into your world. Using recognizable parts in an unusual way is a trick that you can use to not only make it believable, but interesting and fresh as well. I designed the Sky-Cleaver Airships below using fins from a lion fish for their side sails, and part of an old Soviet submarine for the galley below the balloon.
The use of light and shadow can take a make believe creature and cement it in reality. The picture below of Vork looks like a photograph. It was made completely in Photoshop, drawn with a tablet pen with textures for brushes and shading to add depth and volume. Light plays tricks on the eye, giving the illusion of solid shapes on a two dimensional plane. If you believe that a picture has mass and weight by the way light bends around the subject, then you might believe that is a real creature.
Reality is subjective. It has a lot to do with a person’s perspective, what they bring with them to the experience and how they view the world around them. If I can pique your curiosity even briefly with creatures, vehicles, new landscapes or fantastical images, then I have you where I want you… and that is believing in a new world.
The Kingdom of Vosh: The Chained Princess by Jason C. Conley is now available! Hardcover, Paperback, or digital.
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