One of the best parts—and hardest parts— of my job is getting to match up artists with a new book or series. You have a big responsibility to get the image “right” — there’s nothing worse to me as a fan than reading a book and picturing it in your mind and loving it, then having an image on the cover that just doesn’t capture the depth or feel of the book. This can be true of a cover whether it’s designed or illustrated, but there’s something about an illustration that locks the image of the character or world in your mind, and it’s unshakeable. So you want it to be RIGHT.
The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee was definitely one of those books that begged to be illustrated. And the editor and I both thought Sam Weber had the perfect style for the book—both for his beautiful but haunting figures, and for his stark backgrounds. We thought he could perfectly evoke that arctic wasteland feeling, while giving us a compelling but accurate picture of the main character and her spirit form. That’s the tricky thing about hiring an illustrator also—you don’t just want them to paint a scene straight from the book—you want them to add something to it. Another layer, a feeling, it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. It’s a very elusive quality, and one of those things that makes Creative Directors tear their hair out in their sleep.
Well, in my opinion, I think Sam did a fabulous job bringing The Gaslight Dogs to life. You immediately get a feeling for the book, and it lets you know enough of what the book is about without having to depict too much. The streetlight evokes a victorian feel without hitting you over the head with steampunk details, and the starkness of the background is absolutely arctic. I love it, and hopefully you’ll like it enough to pick up the book, and then you can come back and let us know after you read it if we got the image right, ok?
Here’s a description to get you interested:
At the edge of the known world a new empire built on war, technology, and religious fervor faces a new enemy.
A young spiritwalker of the Aniw and a captain in the Ciracusan army both find themselves unexpectedly thrown together, the Aniw girl a prisoner taken from her people, the soldier a reluctant student of a forbidden talent—one that may turn the tide of the war and will surely brand him an outcast.
From the rippling curtains of light in an Arctic sky, to the gaslit cobbled streets of the city, war is coming to the frozen north. Two people have a choice that will decide the fates of nations—and may cast them into a darkness that threatens to bring destruction to both their peoples.
And as an added treat,because I know you guys like seeing behind the curtain a bit, here’s a few of Sam’s pencil sketches so you can get a feel for the different directions we were considering…