Friday, February 3, 2017

Dreamer and Snapshot Covers for Brandon Sanderson

-By Howard Lyon

I had the good fortune to do a couple covers for Brandon Sanderson recently.  Isaac Stewart, the art director for Dragonsteel Entertainment (Sanderson's company name) approached me to do the cover for two short stories.

Dreamer is a fast paced chase through a city with some excellent twists along the way.  It starts in the middle of action and ends with the action still rolling.  It is a quick read too, coming in around 20 pages

I started off with a handful of sketches and added some quick color to them.


Isaac liked the effect in 4, but the color scheme in 1.  It is nice to do these quick little pencil drawings and then paint some color in with Photoshop.  It gives the AD some options to pick and choose from and lets you run through ideas without a big commitment.

Below is the final sketch and color comp.


Here is the final for the book.


Here is a GIF with the painting steps along the way.  I started to drift from the colors in the comp, adding in more blue, which I liked but it pulled some of the impact of the main character away so we dropped the background back to the original grey and warmer palette.


Snapshot is the second of the two short stories.  It is a longer read at 155-ish pages.  It was also just optioned for a movie by MGM. 

I started off doing sketches around a scene that stood out to me where the body of a woman is found with bees around her.  The story deals with alternate realities and the background was meant to reflect it and and the tech involved.  In the end though, it wasn't representative enough of the overall story.


So I did a second round of sketches that better reflected the detective side of the story.  We went with the sketch on the right with a couple more changes.  In the story, without giving anything away, one of the detectives holds of a badge that has some inter-dimensional properties... at least that is how I would describe it. :)


Here is the final painting:


Initially this version of the book will just be available at conventions where Brandon is signing.  It will be for sale later this, in November.  There is also a signed, limited version of Snapshot available from Vault Books with an alternate cover.

Just today I received my copies of the book!  Here is a little boomerang video over on my Instagram page showing how the stories are arranged back to back on the book with two front covers.


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