When visiting the Glass Onion Graphics booth at SFF conventions, a highlight is the opportunity to see Michael Whelan’s paintings in person.
Of course his art looks fantastic on dust jackets in the bookstore—and even reproduced on our website—but there is no substituting the wow factor of staring at his original paintings up close.
And then there’s the opportunity to speak with the artist himself. When Michael isn’t busy participating in panel discussions, he can usually be found at our booth.
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.)
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.