And not what I called it for a while, "A Crown of Thorns." Don't know why, just something that was stuck in my head like the lyrics to a favorite song till you really stop and listen to the words only to be like, "..wait, they said what?!" In this case the writer, John Cullins, one day said "by the way Shawn, it's A Crown Of HORNS". Opps.
Well, John isn't only a forgiving guy, he's a giving guy, and he was kind enough to offer me the position of Art Director for his company Broken 1 Publishing. But let me back up, and let you know a little about what is this Crown thing.
A Crown of Horns is a fantasy novel set in a mythical world of wizards, evil priests, demons, sword-fights and nightmarish creatures. We follow the main protagonist Draylen(also known as The Damned to his enemies..and he has plenty), as he seeks to avenge all the pain that was thrust upon him as a child, only to be caught up in an ancient prophecy. Along the way, as with any good fantasy story, Draylen meets an assortment of colorful individuals who will play pivotal roles in his journey and personal growth. There's the wise wizard who's guarding a personal tragedy and dark secret. The thief who may be more than he seems. And the warrior princess who's not Xena.
Now here's where I come in. Crown is an illustrated novel featuring 15 pieces of chapter art (one for every chapter..convenient, right) as well as some spot illustrations. But before I could sit down and draw these chapters there was a ton of design work that went into capturing the characters of this world. Adding to the pressure was the fact that I'm not the most comfortable in a fantasy setting, so it was definitely a challenge.
Once everything was approved I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then came the really hard part, just finishing the damn thing. The whole purpose of the chapter art was to give the reader a more immersed experience as well as bridge the gap between the literal medium and the visual medium. The art for all the chapters was penciled by me and inked(all but chapter 8) by artist extraordinaire Will Jamison.
(Check out Will's work here: http://afromation9.blogspot.com/ ; http://afromation.deviantart.com/ )
But finally the work is over and the book is off to the printers. All in all, it's been a rewarding experience so far and I learned alot on this project. I'm happy to say there will be many more exciting things to come from me and Broken 1 in the future, so make sure you follow the in-and-outs on the Broken 1 facebook site and like us. http://www.facebook.com/Broken1Publishing
That's it for now but tune in next time when we let you know about the next convention we'll be at, reveal the kick-ass cover to the book, as well as info on how you can reserve your copy.