Thursday, August 21, 2014

McKillip sample cover

This fantasy image is pretty much rubbish by today's standards, but I am posting it anyway. In the mid-70s, Patricia McKillip wrote a fantasy trilogy, the "Riddle-Master" series, based on Celtic mythology and motifs (like every other fantasy in those days). I had a copy of the first book of the series, "The Riddle-Master of Hed," and once I had read it I decided to make a sample book cover for it. I didn't expect to get it published; I just wanted to do what is known as a "cover format" which means an image with a lot of empty space at the top to put the writing on, as "professional practice." I also wanted to create something which met the requirements of the illustration business at the time: characters posing with some of the stuff you find in the books, rather than any specific moment in the book. The  hero and heroine stand in an "underwater" setting filled with ghosts, seamonsters, and the crows that the heroes transform into. Naturally the female character has bright red hair and the male character has special marks (three stars on his forehead) which mean that he is the hidden heir to the throne, or something like that.

My figure drawing and character rendering in this piece is mediocre at most and I disliked it from the time I finished it. It got bought by a fan and mercifully disappeared from the world, until now when it briefly surfaces as a blog entry. 

The "Riddle-master" cover attempt is acrylic on illustration board, 13" x 22", October-November 1987.

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