Leftovers are little spur-of-the-moment doodles or sketches created from paint left over from a work in progress. Most of these quickies end up in the trash, but some are kind of cool on their own and others have lead to full scale paintings.
I’ve been doing this since my art school days: THE PEEPER came from the paint left over from a piece done for my first professional portfolio.
Palette Gremlins are small creations found in random shapes, usually paint on a palette or the mat board I use to protect my drawing table. Often what I see is an alien or a face, but PASSAGE: THE RED STEP was suggested by shapes in the over-spray left from a complex airbrushing session.
In either case, when they spark an idea that leads to a larger work, it feels like a gift from my Muse! The point of it all, however, is to play with some paint — and see what happens.
Anne McCaffrey loved Michael Whelan’s covers—and so did the fans.
One of the things that sets Michael Whelan above some other cover artists is that he reads the books before he illustrates them, and that brings a level of detail to his covers that really makes them shine.
My approach to A MEMORY OF LIGHT was dictated by unfamiliarity with the series. Not having read The Wheel of Time books, I focused on the scene provided and the characters therein while also keeping in mind that this book was the culmination of many years of reading for devoted fans.
It seemed best to start with the focus of the painting: Rand himself.
My initial sketches explored the pose he might adopt as he entered the dark confines of the cave. I attached light sticks to a wooden bokken and descended a flight of stairs with the lights off, trying to get a feel for how he would be holding the sword to light his way into darkness. (Since early in my career, I’ve found a kinesthetic sense of the figure’s pose is helpful before attempting to recreate it in it’s variations.)
The general concept for this work was spelled out to me by my art director and contact at Blizzard, Jeremy Cranford. We had met the previous Fall at IlluxCon, and despite being in an annoying loud bar lounge we were able to outline the basic assignment and agree to move it forward.
Before starting, the smart thing to do would have been to examine the actual game to become familiar with the feel of it, but instead I just jumped into exploring dramatic dragon poses and having fun with that. Being told from the onset that the image would depict a raging dragon emerging from a giant ocean maelstrom, I felt I had enough to go on.