Originally this book was going to be a graphic novel. After some help from a classmate, I was able to meet fellow OSU student Joseph Buehrer in October of 2013. Joe, an aspiring concept artist agreed to a meeting. After a pitch and some sushi, Joe agreed and we drew up an agreement.
While these panels, say for the first ones of Saar’Jya, will not be included in the book, they did actually prove helpful in character design and concept art stages.
Joseph does digital artwork, but has a very unique way of approaching it. He does not like his work to look too real, so deliberately adds in elements such as scribbles and pencil strokes to give it a more authentic feel.
The first panels he completed were of Saar’Jya’s opening narration. The bottom two images of Aaar’Jya will be included in the final book, but the text will be removed.
The second page finished was this black and white rendition of Celice and Hunter first running into Zhyx. The idea at this stage was to complete all the pictures in black and white, and while negotiating with publishers, Joseph could go through them and colorize them one at a time. This page displays some very creative panel work, and showcases Joseph’s talent very well. Zhyx’s eye in these drawings was based on an earlier design that was later dropped in favor of David’s more high detailed work.
Note the subtle touch of Hunter’s reflection in the eye. Joe, unwilling to part with such a good picture of Hunter in mid panic, decided to incorporate it into the drawing in a move that greatly added mood to the final product.
One of the most difficult things about these pictures was the hoard, which Joe devotes a lot of time to perfecting.
The second page finished, Joseph began work on the third page, which was actually the second page in the book overall. This page detailed Saar’Jya continuing her opening narration, and ended with Celice and Hunter walking on panel towards the hoard.
This was the last panel drawn. Shortly after, the story was converted to novel form.
In spite of the change in format, Joe’s work still continues to be a very big part of the book. His illustrations will no doubt play a big part in making the final product more appealing, providing lovingly detailed renditions of some of the book’s most memorable moments. He and I hold weekly meetings where he continues work on his breathtaking illustrations in between his work in Grad School, and pursuing his own projects.
With so much on his plate, it is a wonder he is able to do pictures as good as these, but he delivers. Even though we do have some scheduling issues, I could not have asked for better.