(soon to be) looking to commission artists

I’ve had a crazy idea for a bit now, to hire commissions from a bunch of different artists for some characters for a young adult steampunk adventure novel I’m writing. (Yes, it’s The Artificer’s Angels.)

Here are the details.

  • There are seven major characters in all– five men, two women. They range from the ages of fifteen-ish to mid-fifties. Here’s a quick preview of the lot.
    • The farm girl. Merrily Soarin is cheerful, upright, and has a mean left hook. She’s nineteen years old, black, and her nappy hair’s getting clumpy.
    • The engineer. Paul Soarin is serious, often uncomfortable, and desperate to prove himself to the upper circles. He’s thirty-two, Merrily’s brother, also black, head nearly shaved, thin. He also becomes a bit wild by the end of the book.
    • The hacker. Polly Owens was a promising inventor before she was kicked out of the university. Now she smokes a lot of opium, she wears shocking clothes, gears and tools sewn to her skirts (in case she ever needs one), and does mechanical under-the-table deals. Mid-twenties, brown eyes, straight brown hair, and she dresses in ways specifically designed to make her victorian-esc neighbors uncomfortable (classic steampunk).
    • The mad scientist. Maxwell Gallows is in his mid-fifties, wears lots of black, and would probably have taken over the world had he cared for anything in it. He’s stick-thin, gaunt in the face, and his black hair stands out. Usually accompanied by a black hat and a heavy cane.
    • The boy. Leo Gallows is sweet, gentle, desperately shy, and part machine, though the only real indicator of this on the outside are his glowing, artificial teal eyes. His hair is platinum blond, but it’s the style to dye hair wild colors and saturate it with gel, and his ends are blue-green and stand up in spikes. Every so often, though, he does show signs of his father’s inventor-traits running through him.
    • The intellectual thief. Abraham Gennyson has the nasty habit of stealing invention ideas that don’t belong to him. Getting near sixty– he’s not horribly fat, but he has a gut, his hair is long and brown and silver, he wears nice clothes and looks the part of the overweight Victorian business man.
    • The trickster. Uriel is also a reworked dead man, and he very much intends to keep his life and his freedom, both of which are at risk. He will kill, steal, lie, and con his way out of his bad situation– anything to get himself free. And he’s pretty good at it. Six-five (two full meters) tall, broad shouldered, strong featured, tan, with artificial red eyes and a wild red-and-black haircut. He appears to be in his late-twenties.
  • I would write a more detailed description of each character, then two or three scenes with them in it, to give a better idea of what they’re like. I’ll also write a bit about the novel.
  • The commissions would go to a variety of artists– one character per commission. I’d love to see a range of skills, styles, and takes.
  • When I have a good collection of characters by a variety of people, I’ll make a collage for each character.

That’s the preliminary details. Anyone interested, and if so, in anyone in particular? And does anyone want to point to artists seeking commissions?

in which i attain an illustrator

That was easy.

Have I ever mentioned that my mother is a professional artist?

I mentioned that I wanted Victorian-style pen and ink illustrations for my novel to my mother; she mostly does a lot of still life and landscape. She got very excited when I described the sort of things I wanted– cloth bows, still life with wine, a top hat and gloves, birds’ nests between the junction of steel beams. She’s not a fantasy fan, but then, I’m not much interested in fantasy illustrations.

(Though the giant mechanical crab might be nice.)

cover art preview!

Blue Crystal, proposed cover

This is the very rough sketch of the future cover, commissioned from the wonderful Nykolai. Go see her gallery. (Rough idea for) The back:

In a sunless ice-world where cities are built underground, Vastii is a corrupt, dirty metropolis ripe with gangs, mercenaries, rebellion, and scheming politicians. To suppress an uprising in the west, the king took his own niece, Lady Wyrren Jadis, as a political hostage. Officially, her presence will ensure her father’s loyalty to a king that he never cared for. The king never mentioned that he intends to use Wyrren to accuse her father of murder.

Forced into a strange city with only a few companions, the king’s niece is seen as an easy way to the king’s ear or a weapon against the monarchy. But Lady Wyrren loves freedom more than comfort, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to fight for it.

Anyone think this is noteworthy enough to pick up at a bookstore and flip through a few pages?

thin skin

So… the day before yesterday, I learned that someone whose art that I admire really didn’t care for my work. She phrased it nicely, and made it clear that she didn’t think it was badly written, but even so… I’ve been a little depressed and haven’t really written since Monday, especially since I’ll be backtracking when I do.

I don’t expect everyone to like Blue Crystal. I set out to write something desperate, realistic, gritty, and violent, and (I admit) I’ve drawn some of my inspiration from George R.R. Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series. I’m expecting some to be repulsed by what I’ve done. I’ve even already gotten that reaction from one reviewer, whom I surmise was shaken by the cannibalism; murder is commonplace in books, while eating the leftover meat because you’re a starving man is taboo.

Even so. Getting a negative reaction from someone you admire… I think perhaps I had hoped that since I admired her for her talents that perhaps she’d reciprocate. Things don’t seem to work that way.


Update: A few hours after posting this, I browsed the internet for fantasy covers that I liked, came up with a decent idea that would look beautiful painted in a classical style, and emailed the artist with my new ideas for a book cover. I feel better now, and I think it’s going to be beautiful.

the artist

A full week after I promised myself that I would finish the chapter, write a synopsis, and send them to the artist, I’ve finally done it. She’s still interested, but a little busy right now and should send her thoughts and some rough sketch ideas to me in the next month.

*does the happy artist-dance*