See the originals in the Commons Art category.
My friend Mike Visnov has once again outdone himself with another concept sketch of Ken, our philosophical mummy friend with the sledgehammer fists and the bigger-than-big heart. There isn’t much I can say to add to the visual, but you can check out Mr. Visnov’s past takes on Ken, Po, and more in the Commons Art category.
It’s been far too long since I last posted a contribution from artist extraordinaire and Commoners pal Michael Visnov, who’s blessed us with character concept sketches for The Commons: Book One: The Journeyman numerous times now. (See Ken the mummy and Po the Shaolin monk. And while you’re at it, take a look at James Barnett’s Annie work, too. Or peruse the Commons Art category to soak everything in.) Keep in mind that several of these are just to establish underlying details that would be much more subtle when the monster’s properly portrayed as a true shadow.
I have a tough time making up my mind, but I think I’m slightly partial to a combo of 2 and 4. (Hover over each image to see its assigned number or click on one to cycle through the gallery in close-up.)
Until the Post Office sees fit to issue Commons stamps, I suppose I’ll have to make my own.
So I did. (And they’re legal, too!)
Such is the beauty of Dan Fernandez‘s cover design. I can turn it into just about anything.
Just a few random updates.
First off, I’m very excited to finally have the print version of The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman available. It’s currently on offer domestically from Amazon, but an international paper version is hot on its heels and should be ready in a week or two. Already, those who’ve seen it are asking about the little band of mysterious icons on the back cover, which are tossed in without any explanation.
Those are the handiwork of cover artist and designer Dan Fernandez, who’s done a beautiful job on the full book package. Each icon represents a different character, item, or aspect of the novel. Dan’s created some wondrous abstract art based on those, the first of which plays up the peacock (at the top of this post, full version here). I couldn’t be happier with Dan’s work, and I look forward to unveiling more of it in future posts.
Meanwhile, last week found me signing my first-ever autographed copy. A colleague of mine, Sheneen Landry, asked for it. Another colleague, Susan Hardy, captured the moment for posterity.
Having a print version in hand also allowed me to start peppering my neighborhood Little Free Libraries with copies, the first of which got dropped into a local box this past Saturday night. (I left a note on the inside cover asking my reader neighbors to keep it circulating and to drop me a line if they enjoyed it (and even if they didn’t).
Last, but not least, are a few recognition and review highlights. I’m proud to have received an indieBRAG medallion for The Journeyman, and I’m just as happy to see a couple of generous reviews from the links of blogger Jordan Binkerd and fellow fantasy author Kyra Dune. Reviews are the lifeblood of any authorial effort, so I freely admit I can’t get enough of them.
That is all, friends. Take care, and, as always, thank you for your support and attention.
Another day, another offering of treats-for-the-eyes Commons character artwork, this time from pal and lens ninja James Barnett (along with model Enrika Newbury). If you need a wedding or portrait photographer in Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale, James is your man.
An interesting presentation of the addictive pinkies and the fugue state they put Annie in, says I.
Artist extraordinaire and Commoners pal Michael Visnov has been at it again, putting together more character concept sketches for The Commons: Book One: The Journeyman. After whipping up some beautiful renderings of Ken the mummy, he’s back with his take on Po. A couple are an experiment with a full-on David Carradine/Kwai Chang Caine/Kung Fu look (7 and 8), while others give Po a look all his own.
I’m partial to 3, 4, and 9. You?
My friend Michael Visnov and I grew up trading comics, superhero Slurpee cups, and just about any other comic-related item you can imagine with each other and with like-minded friends. We couldn’t get enough of those worlds and still can’t. So when Mike offered to try his hand at some character concept sketches for The Commons 1: The Journeyman, I was only too happy to set him loose on it.
The best part is that he got started without reading the book and after reading only a few of my character notes, which means that some of his stuff looks nothing like my imagined version of Ken and doesn’t really fit the character. But it doesn’t matter because it’s so much fun, and we’re all left to picture our favorite characters however we like. (That’s one of the reasons I’m always annoyed when book covers adopt the art and cast of their movie adaptations. I like seeing my versions of the characters while reading, and I don’t mind if my imagination alters them as I go.)
I’ll say up front that my favorites are in Concept Sketches 2, seen in the gallery above (click on it for a larger version). I see Ken as number three with number one’s Wayfarers and number two’s eyes when the shades are off. But the rest is a blast. Skeletal Ken (who really would make a great boyfriend for Barbie, no?). Billy Jack Ken. Ben Grimm Ken, even though Ken doesn’t smoke. Just because. And Ken played by Ted Cassidy (who is best known as The Addams Family‘s Lurch, but who will always be treasured for appearing in one of the best fight scenes ever filmed); Abe Lincoln Ken (because I mentioned to Mike that Ken could be thought of as the late president with a willingness to break bones when all alternatives are exhausted), and Liam Neeson Ken (who would crush the role, I think).
Number three comes the closest to illustrating Ken’s character. He’s the philosopher who dispenses relationship advice to a waitress when she wonders if she might deserve better than her current boyfriend. He’s a master of diner puzzles, despite his mitt-sized hands. And when we first meet him and the angry monk Po in a truck-stop restaurant, he does his best to convince the gang of bullying skinheads targeting him and his friend that the brawl they seek will not go well for them. When the skinhead leaders insist, Ken and Po are forced to prove their point with pain.
But all of this art is wonderful, as are the other sketches I’ll highlight in future posts.
What do you see?