This is by far the biggest project I´ve worked on to date and the most exciting too!
I really enjoyed collaborating directly with the author on this one. The variety of skills required to achieve all this is what makes it huge to me - including 3 cover illustrations, around 90 chapter-art-sketches, graphic-design, photography plus sculpting - and not to forget: the whole art direction thing!
For the cover art, I wanted to merge the protagonist called Daedalus Rimes with the Alien-protagonist T.e.e.l.a. in a way that it reflects the title "Essence" the best, the poster design from Terminator2 from 1992 was for sure an inspiration for the lighting setup.
I started with concept designs of the Alien head, which I also used as reference for all the chapter drawings in which the character appeared.
See below the side-and-front view of T.e.e.l.a.´s head.
From there, I did a sculpture with NSP clay around a styrofoam head.
The "hair" was done using 3mm silicone tubes, below isn´t the final stage, the final sculpture included airbrushing the whole face, it just was a test to see if the lighting would work.
After the head was photographed, I rearranged the lighting concept to have the light come from both sides, the best way to achieve the wanted transition between the face with nose and the alienhead without nose was, to darken especially that area.
I was fortunate enough for this cover to have a client allow me to book a model - which I´ve found on Model-Kartei
, the Model is Matthias
from Germany, he had all the features Howard wanted for the protagnost and his cover art. Authenticity and seriousness were things I was looking for plus a hint of charisma.
The model was photographed in the same manner as the sculpted head, from there it was the most pleasant part to take the Raw-files into Camera-Raw and from there into Photoshop to do the rest.
From the rough colored approach (image above) to the final coloring, including typography and layout, the screen below shows the final book cover for the softcover version. Besides the softcover there are pocketbook and hard cover editions available of the book.
The most time consuming, and therefore challenging part, was doing the chapter and prologue illustrations, it took roughly 3 years to finish all the 90+ chapter illustrations for all three books. Below is the prologue piece of book one, all chapter sketches where done on actual paper using pencil. After approval of each sketch they were scanned and then shaded in Photoshop using a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet.
See below a few chapter illustrations of book one: