Archives: ya fiction

A Brief Update from the Conjurian.

first draft moleskine

Indeed, this project has taken a lot more work than anticipated and I anticipated a lot. However, my editor and publisher want to get it right. Doing things outside the box means a lot of growing pains and learning as you go. Been a ton of that.

So, as it goes right now, I’m streaming words for book two, as you can see in the photo. Yes, that’s a tiger with a rabbit in its mouth and it’s not what you think. Unless you think it’s something more than a tiger with a rabbit in its mouth. Then you’re on the right track. I have a solid, working outline of book two. Nine chapters in, I’m discovering lots of cool bits that don’t show up when you outline stories. The focus on book two is getting the words down, fast and furious. Type it into the box with all the circuits and such, cut of the jagged edges and send it off to my ridiculously patient editor. By that time she should be sending me the manuscript for book one. That needs final line edits, final art direction and final, final art.

While things have been delayed quite a bit, the good news is we’re figuring out this odd way of slipping from prose to art and art to prose and a few variations in between. The other good news is that there won’t be a delay between books. That, right now, is key. And the first webcomic companion will finish its run soon. There’ll be another companion right after that one, which should be much less experimentally. More on that later after I finish torturing my Lamy on this draft.

For the Webcomic Readers

book illustration

Had to share this one for all of you reading the speed drawing experiment that is the Conjurers webcomic. You can probably guess who the boy is falling out of the sky. Completely different style than in the comic, but I think his general essence comes through. Keep reading the webcomic to see how he gets here.

Welcome to Conjurian City

Illustration of Conjurian City from the novel "The Conjurers".

This is a two page spread from chapter five. There will be a bit of text above the drawing on each page. I wanted an introductory drawing of the city for the reader. Now, I could easily spend weeks just adding more and more detail to every nook and cranny, however, time-wise I had to stay focused on what this spread needed to accomplish.

Using a distant vanishing point, the drawing creates a sense of depth as if you are riding into the city. The same view as the main characters. So while there are no panels or dialog on the page, hopefully the picture tells at least three hundred words. Leaving out the sky was not so the text would be clear on a white background, but to give it a pop up book illusion, as if the buildings are standing up and out from the page. Maybe it works or maybe it was a cool idea with poor execution. Let me know what you think.

Religion in the Conjurian

Religion in the Conjurian

Here's a quick concept sketch for the Dedites, a religious order that believes Dedi created the Conjurian. They sprang up when I worked on the origins for this world. Their counterparts would be the growing majority that Dedi merely discovered the Conjurian. However, as you'll see in the first novel, the truths behind their beliefs will play a huge part in the future of both worlds.

The monk pictured here is loosely based on another of my favorite magicians, Kenton Knepper. A brilliant thinker and a major influence on many of the effects I perform.

 

Time for some magic

Back home from a glorious road trip visiting family. Managed to squeeze in some writing and stripping (comic stripping. What were you thinking?). Also got some quick concept art scratched off. Here's a snippet. This is part of the tower of Dedi, the center of Conjurian City.

 

The Conjurers novel

 

New Conjurers Comic

And a car chase! Yep, not as involved as I would have wanted, but still fun. There’s going to be some odd alliances coming up.

Also, this comic will launch on GoComic.com starting on October 28th. It’ll still run here, along with all other Conjurers related stories, but GoComics will open it up to a larger audience. I’ll be promoting that a lot more in the coming days.

New Conjurers Comic

This one was brutish from an art perspective. Like I’ve mentioned before, this is a new style for me, so I’m constantly in search of new mistakes and hoping for happy accidents. And I was trying to push this one towards more of a painterly feel and it got away from me a bit. Still, learned a ton for the next page, which I am off to finalize the script for now.

The Inner Circle

Welcome to a meeting of the inner circle. This is the ruling body of the Conjurian. And while you won’t see a lot of them in this episode, you’ll see them all in different capacities in the novel.

For now I have only mentioned a few names. You know Ray, Eugene, Aggler and now a mention of Xavier. They are key players in the overall arc for the comic and the novels. So much fun ahead.

Next episode, you’ll see what happens when Savachia tries to take charge. Also, an honest offer from an evil man.

An ace up the sleeve.

What? Savachia’s dad? Yep. And the nasty Shadow Conjurer’s got him. And the poor little Watcher. His old crush on Savachia’s Mom made him drop the ball, and his “redemption” will really put several trains on a collision course.

The fun bit is that I am working on the novel whilst working on this arc of the comic. So many things start to tie together. At first it seems like a jumbled mess. You just keep chiselling away and little surprises appear like diamond flecks in a rock wall.

Next week, Savachia will try and get his head to stop spinning and get some answers. Sadly, some of those answers will whip his head around faster than the teacups at Disney World.

 

New Conjurers Comic

Seems to me someone knows a lot more than they have let on. And who is this Christopher fellow? You will find out. He’s a major player in the world of magicians. Can’t give away too much. Suffice it to say, he has a large role in the novel.  was happy he popped up in this comic series. Kind of a little meet and greet before the book.

Now, what about Savachia’s father? Oh my, there’s lots. You’ll see.

Rough art for the novel cover.

book cover for "The Conjurers"

cover for the novel

Here’s a slightly rough cover mock up for the novel.  As a magician, I adore playing cards and especially the wave of brilliantly designed custom decks that have come along in recent years. Especially this one. I knew early on that I wanted to do a relatively simple yet striking cover. Coming up with my own spade design was the hard part. Didn’t want to just buy or download some clipart and slap it on there. The solution was a lot of fun. I doodled the spade, very small, in my sketchbook. By keeping it small, it made it very easy to get the shape I wanted.

Then I scanned the doodle in and used that as the template to draw the spade in more detail in Photoshop. The face in the center needs some work. That’s the Shadow Conjurer. The main baddy. No eyes, no nose. Just three red scars running down his face.

For fun, I want to work up a fantasy, collage style wrap around cover too. If anything, it would make a cool poster. So, would you pick up a book with a cover like this?

 

 

New Conjurers Comic

And wham! Something has popped out of the Conjurian. Ya, I know we’re not heading directly into the Conjurian for a good while, but I wanted elements from that world to crossover into Savachia’s story.  Things are picking up some steam, and there’s more complications to come for the poor street hustler. He’s stepped into a dandy of a wasps’ nest.

Also, I have some ultra cool news coming about the webcomic’s future. Should be able to announce it very soon.

Illustrating the novel.

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First up, the pencils. I rough this out with blue lead first focusing on the flow of the eye across the page. Also, I try to keep in mind where the text will go.

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Here’s the first light water color wash. Again, here I’m forcing myself to stay zoomed out and not get into any detail. Just laying down super light washes along the eye flow lines of the page.

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This is another round of washes. Starting to darling things a little. It’s hard to stay patient in this process. I’m used to pencils then ink then done. Gotta let these sit a bit between layers.

The rest of the process is coming!