The illustration for chapter 19 was unique in a number of ways. For one it is the first one drawn that doesn’t feature the lead character and two, it is the first that occurs during the midst of one of the novel’s action sequences. This made it a much more simple drawing than the previous ones, but also much more active and exciting.
The first step in the illustration was showing the character of River and the crack in the rock. This helped establish scale. The next step was to establish the color scheme. It was decided that the colors inside the rock wall would be more cool, while the colors outside would be warm.
Additional detail was added to River here, and the basic color scheme was added here. The next element was adding the dragon.
Here, the dragon was added in very rough form. All the scale was right here, but the details such as the dragon’s scales, gums, and other such things had yet to be applied. That would prove to be very complicated, but since the creature here was much closer, it allowed for greater attention to the details. Also, some subtle changes were made to River’s face to correct various errors and inconsistencies with the original concept art.
The bottom jaw and gums were finished first and the teeth given additional detail. The top jaw had yet to be finished and other details such as the various weapon holsters and satchels had yet to be inserted into the picture.
Additional shading was added here and the detail was added to the top of the dragon’s face. Also, note the bottom of River’s shirt. The bottom whip mark on the above pictures was unsatisfying to myself and the artist, so we removed the bottom part of the shirt, making it appear as it had been torn off. This added much to the image as it made River’s previous encounter look far more violent.
Much work was put into the dragon’s saliva in order to make it more realistic. Note the fading that occurs near the gums which makes the spittle feel shaded, while it is only outside the mouth that the spittle had greater visibility. Also, greater detail was added to River. The color of his shirt was changed, his satchel and its contents were added dandling off his right arm, and the whip marks were finally added to the boy’s back.
The final product is thus. Some additional shading was done for the dragon and River’s cheek, and the holster and morning star. The weapon had the affect of covering up some of the damage to River’s lower back, which left more to the viewer’s imagination. It makes the abuse he suffered much more unsettling. Also, some additional glint was added to the dragon’s upper gums.
This illustration was completed at a much quicker pace than the rest for a number of reasons, not the least of which was our overall enthusiasm for this particular picture. It is quite pleasing to the eyes, dynamic and exciting, and all around terrifying.