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Creating the Artwork for the Ildarwood

Today's "Inklings from the Author" post provides a behind the scenes look at the artwork for the book.

Some of you have asked me what went into the creation of artwork for the Trials of Ildarwood series. To be honest, it's been a fairly elaborate and time-consuming process, but well worth the time, effort, and investment. Several months ago, I reached out on Facebook and Upwork to try and find some artists who would be willing to help me bring the world of the Ildarwood to life. After several weeks of searching, I narrowed the list of candidates down to just under twelve - each one specializing in a different style of illustration. The end results can be seen all over, with featured artwork from artists located all over the world!

But believe it or not, the collaborative process can take days to weeks for each image. Take the chapter illustration for Chapter One above, for example. I had to begin by sending that particular artist reference photos from Google to capture the type of tree and type of well I wanted in the sketch. From there, the artist sent me rough sketches to help us both figure out the perfect framing and content.

Here you can see how I indicated which aspects of each illustration I liked so that we could hone in on a final concept. Then in each image thereafter, you can see how it was refined further and further.

Finally, after multiple rounds of revisions, we ended up with an illustration that captured "Wisher's Well" and the concept of an Ildarwood tree all in a single scene.

Then lather, rinse, and repeat another twenty-seven times to cover the rest of the book's chapters! All in all, I could not be happier with the end results, and I sincerely hope that you find them every bit as beautiful and helpful during your journey through the Ildarwood as I do.


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