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Ring of Intrigue: the concept sketch

Ring of Intrigue is the most complex book of the three, with two very separate, but merging, storylines going. The brothers each have the own individual “jobs,” all of which are tied together, but that would make way too complex a cover to even begin to approach. But theirs is not the only story in the arc. Dancer’s is equally important.

ThierryBesides, I had this character-sketch thing going and for the dance-loving me, there was only one real answer: I had to give Thyerri and Temorii their moment in the limelight.

Putting them on the dance rings would defeat the purpose…they’d be very small… so I thought of their dances at the competition dinner and that brought to mind Tem’s sparkly dress….Oooooo Sparkles!


So…I went surfing and found some really cool dance images for reference.

Thyerri is an aggressive little so-and-so. His dance is very in-your-face.

Temori3Temorii’s dance is for Khyel. It’s lyrical and sensual.But she’s also very self-centered, so I wanted a certain amount of distance… sort of dancing for herself in the midst of strangers, hence the lack of eye contact.

Both needed to show the marvelous, almost contorted flexibility of a ringdancer. Fortunately, modern dancers have that down pat. They’re truly amazing.

Keyelsketch1I thought I should include at least one of the brothers and since this book also introduces a lot more about the ley-creatures, and since Khyel is the link for both Mother and Dancer, I decided to put him on. But I wanted to at least hint at Mother/Sucks-pond-water, and so I thought…hmmm…a webbed/scaled hand reaching out to touch him would be…intriguing. (Ouch!)

I wanted the Khyel/Mother image to reflect his mesmerized fascination for the ley creatures. This was what I came up with. Mother’s hand is pretty large, but she’s mutable. Besides, that’s easy to change.

For the cover design: Again, I knew I wanted rings. Two, for the second book. Two for T&T. Two for…infelicity? Hmmm…make them interlinked and you’ve got a felicitous three sections. (oooo, I love to dance a little sidestep). Besides, that gave me a “spot” for Khyel.

I had the titling style from ROL, so without further ado: the layout.

All images are copyright © 2009 Jane S. Fancher. Thank you for respecting that copyright.

Obviously, this was pre-Kato-ji input on ROL. It was getting really busy, and that idea of putting all the lettering at the bottom went a long way toward solving that problem…But this is where the plan began.

Now comes the hard part…

Ja ne!

Ja ne!

19 comments to Ring of Intrigue: the concept sketch

  • aelith

    try reversing the placement of the two dancers for a better fit with center drawing.

  • OrionSlaveGirl

    What beautiful depictions of the dancers! Lyrical, indeed.

  • katoji

    This one looks harder right from the start….we’ll have to see what you did with it!

    On Harmonies you had a background that tied everything together.

    On ROL you had the ring that contained all your elements in one place.

    This one has all the issues you resolved on the other two covers, but with an additional problem–you’ll have to figure a way to keep the three images from competing with one another. On the other two covers, the elements were closely related in content–people interacting with one another. On this cover you will have to make a choice as to what is the most important image–with size, value, color, detail…something. That’s what I would think–but, we haven’t seen it yet. A sketch is a sketch.

    • Jane

      Absolutely. I’m trying to share the process my head went through in choosing, out of all the possibilities for cover images within the book, what I did…without giving away too much of the story!

      As you already know, and I’m increasingly enamored of…One of the marvelous things about the layers is, once you have the elements, you can play with things like size, opacity, position…even color balance…pretty much infinitely and see, not a facsimile of the final, but what the final is, in the course of fifteen minutes…or less.

  • Bri

    Here I come again… (cue music)

    Lovely idea. As usual, a couple of suggestions ;^)

    First, I agree with ailith that you should consider either reversing the positions of the two dancers, or flipping Temorii. One design lesson I learned–probably from you LOL!–is to avoid having your characters looking off the edge of the page.

    One other thing is that I think the three figures are too close to the same size. This is hard to judge while they are still in sketch form, but you might consider making the mother’s hand/Khyell image larger, and in the background (letting the figures of the two dancers overlap it in the foreground).

    Just me blowing steam again :^)

  • Jane

    Yup yup yup! As you’ll see, adjusting relative sizes was the first thing I did. This was the sketches taken right out of my sketch program and stuck into the layout. I was amazed that they were as close as they were to the right size. You don’t set the size of your canvas in Sketchbook, so I had no idea.

  • skitterling

    Wow…just…wow! The dancers are exquisite! And I love how the rings came out. Thanks for showing how you did that.

    These covers are going to be fantastic! Have you thought of maybe making them available in a small poster size, suitable for hanging? :heart:

    • Jane

      Thank you! I honestly have no idea how large they will successfully print. I’m working as large as my machine will let me. I still have it freeze periodically…not surprising, the number of layers and copies of layers I make it follow. :dizzy: I certainly don’t have the capacity to do a poster sized print. I wonder if cafe press does…Hmmm…

      Hey…it does! Good idea. It’s a bit scary knowing the variability of the printing, but I could just close my eyes and hope! 😀 It seems a 23×35 can be done for $20, and something smaller for $18. Does that sound reasonable?

      • skitterling

        I would certainly buy it!

        • Jane

          When I get to the stage of putting things together (which I’d better take a break from covers pretty soon and do!) I’ll set that up. I don’t think it costs anything for a “store” so…hey, why not?

          I just shudder to think of things getting printed and sent out without my vetting them! Scary scary scary.

          Hmmm…I’m such a control freak!

  • Jane

    Oh…I think I want a mug with Thyerri on one side and Temorii on the other….Ooooo…

  • AbigailM

    For just prints, not mugs or T-shirts, have you looked at iprintfromhome.com? An 11×14 inch, photographic not giclee, is $5. The “Somerset Velvet” on textured water-color board is $17, and the sample they send of that technique looks gorgeous. Although with the sparklies and the iridescence, the very shiny metallic-finish photographic would actually probably be better.

    I have had them do several prints, and the quality seems excellent.

    • Jane

      Oooo…I dunno. It’s tempting, but I’d have to do all the order taking and shipping, and that just isn’t what I want to spend my time doing. Cafe Press does all that. You just send them a file, and they handle printing and shipping. I can’t guarantee the quality, which bothers me, but I just can’t do everything. I’ve got to get back to writing before I forget how! 😀

  • AbigailM

    That makes sense. We want you to remember how to write, too.

  • AbigailM

    (hit submit too soon) but if you want hard copies of your creations for yourself, in finishes or papers that are beyond your printer, I do recommend iprintfromhome.

  • Jane

    It really sounds great. Thanks for putting me onto it!

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