Create cover art for high fantasy action novel
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I'm looking for new work on an old project. I'm going to throw out a lot of information here, but it's definitely not ALL important. I just want to make sure that there's plenty of room for people to work. Also, I am looking for someone who I can work with going forward on a one-on-one basis, both for cover art for additional books, and possibly occasional miscellaneous promotional pieces or works for a website, perhaps (depending on pricing negotations). First, a few details. The author name should read "Mark B. Frost". The title of the book is "Kargaroth", but there should be a subtitle somewhere (doesn't have to be on the cover, could just be on the side) denoting it as "A Tale of the Great Onion Knighthood". The synopsis for the back is attached. Next, the general theme and feel of the book. What I've tried to create here is something that's somewhere between traditional sword and sorcery fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance), and modern day popular trends such as comics and anime. The big distinction here is that, while the characters do go through their own character growth and story arcs, first and foremost they're designed as icons. They're heroic and uncompromising individuals, and more often than not are actually more powerful and well-suited to the challenges they're faced with. Additionally, a high amount of focus is placed on action sequences. Each character's fighting abilities and powers (magic based) is as much a part of their identity as their personality. Where this applies to the art, is that it creates a board range of styles I'm interested in. I like the traditional gritty cover art styles that's often associated with fantasy, but I also like the more "cartoony" styles of comics (ala Jim Lee) and anime. I don't necessarily know that I want to go *too* far in that direction (this is still a novel, not a manga), but I think first and foremost I'll have my eye out for artwork that shows that sort of spirit. But if a more traditional design winds up being the best piece, I'll gladly seize onto that, so please don't feel discouraged to submit that sort of work. The story of the book focuses primarily on the relationship between the two main characters, Atheme Tethen and Abaddon Daemon. They originally meet as enemies, when Abaddon attacks Atheme's home city of Felthespar looking for a worthy challenge. Atheme defeats him and holds him prisoner, to determine if something more nefarious is at foot. Ultimately he realizes that Abaddon is simply lost and aimless, and asks the man to join his country as a soldier. Atheme discovers that Abaddon is actually a mystic, a power natural magic user, and his potential is far beyond that of any normal man. Atheme trains Abaddon and the man grows stronger rapidly, and soon is the greatest soldier in Felthespar's military, and contributes to a series of huge military successes as his nickname, "The Destroyer", spreads across the continent. When Atheme is seriously injured on a mission, Abaddon's rage begins to overtake him. He seeks out Kargaroth, an ancient weapon that Atheme had sealed away years ago. Kargaroth's power possesses Abaddon and slowly transforms him into a new god calling himself "The Hell Knight". Meanwhile Relm, Atheme's amnesiac girlfriend, reveals that she is actually a reincarnation of the Saint Sinjuin Serene, sent by her god to prevent the Hell Knight from conquering the world. Atheme ultimately finds a way to defeat the Hell Knight. From there, the book diverges into two distinct storyline, as Atheme/Abaddon/Relm embark on a journey to destroy Kargaroth permanently so that the Hell Knight can never be reborn in another vessel, and the remaining soldiers of Felthespar are forced to confront an invasion from their ancient enemies, the Cainites, without the aid of their greatest warriors. From an artistic standpoint, I think the relevant notes here are about Atheme, primarily through his relationships with Abaddon and Relm (I'll put more detailed character bios in the next section). Both undergo dramatic character transformations that Atheme has to deal with, and I think I'd like to see some of this implied by the cover art. Relm, for example, normally has light blue eyes, but when she reveals her true identity her eyes are become silver. So maybe something like a hint of a silver line in one of her eyes, to imply this (obviously this is just me thinking out loud, you're free to do whatever you want with the theme, or not use it at all). Or perhaps the art could hint in some way at Abaddon's "dark" nature or eventual transformation. I wouldn't want it to be too overt (Abaddon shouldn't appear as the story's villain), but any sort of artwork that can cleverly convey this theme will be of great interest to me. I'll attach a few pieces of art from our previous artist. These are not meant to represent a guide, but merely try to help give you an image of the characters. If you don't want to feel that these bias your work or limit your creativity, feel free to disregard them. I'm far more interested in the resulting artwork following the *prose* of the characters, rather than the previous art which will no longer be used. In that vein, I'll also attach a few character bios and the exact text of their physical descriptions from the novel. Finally, I'd like to give you an idea of the world itself. The universe I've crafted consists of four planes, Elysium/Asteria/Morolia/Gehenna. This first novel takes place entirely in Morolia, with some influence of Asterian origins (Sinjuin Serene, for instance, comes from Asteria). The world of Morolia (or at least Itrius, the continent where this novel is primarily set) is a fairly typical fantasy setting, lots of grasslands, regions divided by mountains, a few large cities but mostly scattered towns trading throughout. Monsters freely roam the lands outside of the cities themselves, such as dragons, liches, normal animals (tigers, bears, etc), ogres, or any other of dozens of varieties of demonspawn the characters might encounter and fight throughout their journies. The city where most of the events take place is Felthespar, which is a super massive fortified city surrounded by a towering wall. If the cover art were to be set inside of the city of Felthespar, the architecture styles should be fairly Victorian.
While it's not a strict requirement any of the characters to appear on the final cover art, I'm going to include information about them in case that's a direction you're interested in going. The order that characters should appear on the cover is Atheme > Abaddon > Relm/Serene > Cildar and Myris > Hell Knight Atheme: Hair: Red, short; Eyes: Brown; Height: 5'8". Lord of the Red Robes, referred to as "the man in red" several times, so red is an important element of his character. Atheme is a jovial, positive character, and should not be depicted as overly serious. If he's draw in some sort of general "pose" or default state, it should be with a pleasant expression on his face, not necessarily a smile, but certainly a look that displays his positivity. Physical description from novel: "The Grand Councilor's body belied the imposing warrior that it contained. Twenty-nine years old, he stood a mere five feet, eight inches. His short, fiery red hair was matched by a simple red tunic and breeches, which hid a light mail shirt. " Miscellaneous: Atheme uses a unique weapon called the sare. Here is the description from the novel: "He seized the silver tube and flicked a switch on it, and instantly the device extended into a five foot staff...As the man regained his feet, Atheme flicked another switch on his weapon. A fanned series of blades opened from one end, mirrored by a long single blade protruding from the other." Please note that previous concept art of the sare is inaccurate. The side with multiple blades should be much more like a hand fan. Abaddon: Hair: Black, long, hangs loose freely down back; Eyes: Dark blue (black when joined to Kargaroth); Height: 6'2". Abaddon wears a white ribbon across his forehead in this novel, and I'd like to see it as being extremely long, with the strands of the ribbon intermingling with his hair behind him. Abaddon is an extremely serious, if not dour, character, and unlike Atheme should DEFINITELY be depicted with a serious expression. Physical description from novel: "The youth towered over the Felthesparians, comfortably over six feet tall. He had a dangerous build, all muscle, with thick arms attached to a broad chest and shoulders. His hair was wild and unkempt, with frayed ends which seemed to have been clumsily cut by a longsword." (...later...) "The man was the biggest Cildar had ever seen. He was a couple of inches shorter than Cildar, but possessed a much larger frame. His clothes were black, save the thick gray leather gloves and a long purple cape. A single white headband above his brow served to keep his long hair out of his eyes, and a scabbard held a tremendous broadsword on his back." Miscellanous: Abaddon's sword, Kargaroth, is a critical part of the novel's plot. If it's drawn (preferable), it should be drawn to match this description: "It was six feet long from hilt to tip and nearly half a foot wide, with a blood groove that ran three quarters the length of the blade. The blade was glistening silver, forged from a flawless metal and free of stain or scratch. The hilt was deep gold, with the grip wrapped in a thick black leather Abaddon had never seen, and a large dark ruby was set into the pommel. As a final touch, two menacing black spikes rose out of the cross-guard, angled between it and the blade. Everything on the sword was crafted at perfect angles, symmetric and aligned to detail that he had never before seen."; True Kargaroth (wielded only by the Hell Knight) "Kargaroth had also transformed. Instead of the beautiful broadsword that Atheme had known long ago, it was a huge serpentine twist of metal, well over ten feet long, with the entire length of the blade coiling up and out into hooks. The black metal of the blade seemed ethereal, and a slight shimmer of purple energy rose from it."; Kargaroth can either be shown in Abaddon's hand, across his back, or as a sort of background object, hovering behind and "over" the characters. Relm: Hair: Red, shoulder-length; Eyes: light blue (silver when Serene); Height: 5'4"-5'5"; Relm wears a cloak whose hood has a cat-ear-like design on top of it. Relm, like Atheme, is cheerful, or even childlike in her personality. Sinjuin Serene, her true personality, however, is much more serious, so depending on how you choose to use her, she could be depicted either way. Physical description from novel: "Relm had new attire now, wearing a purple dress shrouded in a white hooded cloak with red trim. She had insisted, however, that her hood should still have the distinctive cat ear design she had come up with herself." Cildar: Hair: Blond (covered by helmet); Eyes: Green; Height: 6'4"; Cildar is Felthespar's highest and wealthiest noble, and if portrayed should strike an impressive visual. His clothing and armor is almost entirely a pure white, except for patches of either light or royal blue added for color. Physical description from novel: "Cildar was a tall, noble man, wearing white plate mail and garb befitting the House of Lurin. His face was covered by a blue mask, designed to prevent the dust of the battlefield from choking him." Myris: Hair: Brown (covered by cowl); Eyes: Brown (but covered by illusion spell making them appear as fire); Height: 5'10"; Myris is a member of the Cainites, and is distinctly dressed in dark, mostly featureless attire that allows his stealth magic to work more easily. Physical description from novel: "Galbion didn't have to wait long before the dark man approached. He was a couple inches shy of six feet tall, and his tattered attire was black and dark purple, with a dark mask covering his face and a long black cloak hiding the rest of his physical features. Galbion tried to meet the man's gaze, but two flames hovered where eyes should have been. None of his flesh was visible through his cowl, or anywhere else on his body." Hell Knight: This is Abaddon's form when he is merged with Kargaroth Physical description from novel: "It was a cruel abomination of Abaddon's visage. It stood over nine feet tall, covered in an impressive array of demonic armors with various spikes and blades protruding. The parts of the body not covered by armor were nothing but darkness, and a black shroud resembling a cape floated behind. The face was Abaddon's, but it was frozen in a terrifying grin that resembled a silent scream. Where the man's eyes had once been, two empty craters had been carved into the chiseled face, and his long black hair flowed down to become one with the dark shroud behind him." ... "Kargaroth had also transformed. Instead of the beautiful broadsword that Atheme had known long ago, it was a huge serpentine twist of metal, well over ten feet long, with the entire length of the blade coiling up and out into hooks. The black metal of the blade seemed ethereal, and a slight shimmer of purple energy rose from it." I'll attach sketches of each of the characters from our last artist, but more can also be seen here if interested in seeing the previous artwork: http://www.onionknight.com/gallery.php There are definitely inaccuracies in this art, so please defer to the text whenever there's confusion, or feel free to ask questions of me personally.
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