(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?

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*

cover art

A few weeks ago, I started talking to an artist I admire about commissioning a cover for my book. She seemed interested, and it was agreed upon that I’d send her some pieces of my book and talk about what I’d like to see.

So I went over some of the first chapters of my story, and I realized that parts needed to be rewritten. The imagery wasn’t that great in places, and I’d changed my mind about how a few pieces looked. Then I wondered what sort of thing really would make a great cover. Rylan battling his tiger in the arena? The balcony on the arena facade, which is carved to look like a hand of a god outstretched over the Pit? Or perhaps something simplistic– Wyrren walking through walls as if it were made of water (which isn’t accurate, but it would look neat). Two of these three scenes haven’t been written yet in the current draft. So I’ve delayed, and haven’t gotten anything over, though I did make it clear to her right away that I’d need some time together things together, and that at present the time frame wasn’t an issue.

Nonetheless, it’s rude behavior on my part. People shouldn’t just do what they say. They should do what they say in a timely manner. I’ll fix that this weekend, and send her the first two chapters, the description of the fight in the arena, a synopsis of the plot, and a few suggestions for what I think would be a decent cover. I’ll also offer to give her more if she needs it, ask if she has any other ideas, and suggest that she send me a few quick concept sketches if she’s still interested.

Her work is absolutely beautiful. You’re going to love what she does with this.

(A quick note: I know that often times authors aren’t allowed to do anything with cover art. I’ve done some research into it, and I’ve found that it can go both ways. Some publishers want control over the look of your book, others will let you have your way if you push them. I’m hoping for the latter, but even if the idea is completely rejected, I’ve decided that I still really want this. Even if it’s only for myself.)