Awhile back, I did a number of illustrations for author Ray Garton’s book Vortex. It recently was released from publisher Cemetery Dance, and I thought I’d show both of you (there are still two of you that read my blog, right?) the artwork for the book.
To get us started, let’s talk about the cover. I went through the cover’s genesis when that was first shown off, feel free to click here and read all about that. Here it is anyway, since I roll like that:
Along with the cover, I also created interior images for the book. Here’s the first of them, and it’s a part near the beginning where the above creature, named Pyk, is found by a local rancher. Pyk, we find out is not only feral but also a very powerful telekinetic.
Pyk is feeding on the livestock, and I was looking for the feeling of surprise. For that, I tried to keep the view as tight as possible. I also didn’t really want to reveal Pyk fully (despite the cover). I also wanted to play with the focus on all of the Vortex images, since so much of the story is back and forth between reality and mind control. Click on the image (and any of them) for a larger view.
In the story, the girl on the cover, Penny, is able to read and manipulate minds. She befriends Pyk (sort of, more or less, it’s complicated) later in the story. Before then, though, she’s shown to be part of a group called the Aquino Academy. They aren’t what you’d call nice people, though she’s a good person in a bad situation.
For this scene, Penny has infiltrated someone’s mind to get information. The woman who’s mind she’s being asked to infiltrate has been tortured, and the woman is near death. While Penny is in her mind, the woman dies, and Penny’s own mind is sent whirling.
That’s a tricky thing to show, and I tried to hit, again, both reality and the mind. I wanted to show Penny’s surprise, but also to try and show the physical beating that the woman took.
For the third image, as is sometimes the case with doing multiple images for one book, I created a more “normal” piece. In this one, two of the evil folks from the Aquino Academy have brought in a different “powered” kid to deal with Pyk. The only thing I wanted to get across in this image is that the kid is a real arrogant douchebag. He also has no chance at all against Pyk.
With the last image in the book, which is still maybe a quarter of the way from the true end, I decided to play with a few ideas. First, the more extreme angle of perspective. These three characters are all involved with the event, but at different levels. The two in front are obviously fighting, but I also wanted Pyk (as he is described in the story) merely sitting up to watch this happen. He’s the one forcing them to fight, by taking over their minds.
In that respect, I wanted to convey using the perspective that Pyk is the one who is winning. Despite his near calm, he’s the only one really in this fight. The others are his pawns, and they pay for all the things they’ve done.
That was the other tricky thing I wanted to bring to it, their expressions. The doctor is raging, Ryker (the real bad guy) is having a very bad time, and Pyk seems to be passively watching the whole thing. That all goes along with the story, and I wanted to make sure that it all worked according to plan.
Of course, let me know what you think of the art. If you can find it, definitely pick up the book too. Garton is a fantastic author, and deserves the praise.