When you’re producing a book there is a lot of invisible effort that goes on behind the scenes. Today, we writers and readers are lucky because through blogs and websites, we get these inside views of the real mechanics that go into these books. We are afforded precious insight into the creative process.
The great thing is every person’s method is different. There is no one size fits all when it comes to art.
Through the advent of self-publishing, we’ve all been freed to follow our heart’s own desire as to how our work will look.
Therefore, every ‘story’ of how an Indie author’s novel came into life is unique.
I promised I’d share the second pen and ink illustration I created to go inside ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ As my book gets prepared to ‘go live’ this weekend, I realized I would prefer to tell these stories of its production before rather than after the fact. Hence, my sudden blitz of posts when normally, I only post once a week.
The artist who created my cover imagery, Simon Kingi, has done a stellar job of manifesting my hero, Aden Weaver. I intend to share the cover tomorrow morning, in all its glory!
We had started to discuss the villain in my series, The Chronicles of Aden Weaver, Chief Wako. Si and I got as far as consulting over the first drafts about how he would look. That was only a couple of weeks ago. We realized there was no way we were going to be able to complete Chief Wako in time to include him on the cover. I had to let go of seeing both my main characters in living colour.
However, it occurred to me, that I could take what he had done so far, and create another pen and ink to go inside the book. What follows is a pictorial of how I came up with the resulting image that features in Chapter Three.
A Photo Essay of illustrating my antagonist in pen & ink…
At first, I sketched the scorpion shape-shifter from Simon’s original artwork. In Si’s imagery, Wako had smooth hair. But in my mind’s eye, his hair is a wild mane so I roughed up his hair. Si had placed Wako in a forest setting, as with Aden, yet in this first book at least, Wako is not seen outside of his palatial estate or his gambling tavern, The Whisper Room. So I had to create an indoor setting.
Next, I added the outlines in ink. While Wako is situated in his boardroom, around the edges of the picture creeps the fungus that grows on the walls, which Wako refers to as ‘Koke’, his beloved pet. This gives the image a strange ethos – perfectly in keeping with a villainous overlord.
Then I began the process of slowly filling in the spaces with ink lines, and black contrasts. Wako’s entire mansion is filled with priceless antiques, however in order to keep the focus on our baddie, I reduced the antique vases in the foreground to quarter views.
I added cross-hatching on the floor, and shadowed the floor with the vases, to enhance the effect of the lantern light falling on our antagonist. I filled in the fungus on the edges with pointillism (dots) to make it seem furry.
It’s amazing how your emotions come into play when you’re illustrating. And when you’re writing, vice versa.
During the writing of ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta,’ I often enjoyed Wako’s parts more than Aden’s. Just as actors say they like the evil parts better than the good – it was really a lot of fun to let loose with Wako’s darkness. I found I had to pull back from Wako, in order to be able to depict Aden as the hero protagonist successfully. Yet, in detaching myself from Wako, I actually found it quite a challenge to illustrate him whereas drawing Aden was a breeze. It showed me how much our feelings influence our art.
Nevertheless, the picture of Wako (above) went in the book. Not because I thought the illustration was perfect but because I wanted him represented visually, as Aden was on the cover, and in my pen & ink. There has to be balance between the light and the dark, just as in life!
Have you tried illustrating your own writing? Are you an artist? Have you noticed how the emotions affect your work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Talk to you soon,
Yvette K. Carol
Let your characters have their way. Let your secret life be lived. ~ Ray Bradbury