I was honored to paint the cover image for the final book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, but it was a daunting prospect given the massive backstory of 14 books written over a span of 20+ years.
Each volume, illustrated by the late Darrell K. Sweet, had a similar look and feel. I decided the last cover should retain a sense of continuation while bringing the epic to a close.
I usually insist on reading the manuscript, but it wasn’t possible this time. The author and publisher selected the cover scene in advance. My compositional ideas were limited to depicting—in the best way I could—the brief episode provided. Many websites and blogs devoted to the Wheel of Time books provided details of character appearances that the scene lacked.
After studying the covers of the earlier volumes, I elected to bring the protagonist Rand forward to dominate the front book jacket. I was torn whether to show Rand and his companions outside or inside the cave; I attempted to visualize both. Eventually, the “powers that be” selected the approach and I was on my way.