Fri
Mar 22 2013 12:30pm
Enter Cadsuane: Revealing New Wheel of Time Art for Crown of Swords Trade Paperback

 

Crown of Swords trade paperback new art Wheel of Time

Take a look at the new art Tor Books has comissioned for the trade paperback edition of A Crown of Swords, volume 7 in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series!

When it came time to print the trade paperback editions, editor Harriet McDougal asked if we could depict the scene where Cadsuane meets Rand for the first time. It’s a great moment in the book but I feared it might be a difficult one to depict, being a cinematically quiet test of wills. Luckily, artist Tyler Jacobson pulled it off with flying colors. 

I met Tyler a few years ago when I went to a portfolio review at Academy of Art University in San Fransisco and have been watching his career ever since. I needed someone that understood the fantasy aesthetic and could handle a crowd scene—Tyler’s name came to mind pretty quickly. Not only did he manage to get all those characters into a small space, he was able to capture the sense of tension embedded in the scene. Not an easy task in a still image. 

Tyler says, “I was very honored to be allowed to work on the Wheel of Time series. It was really great to contribute to a set of books that not only have such a great following, but have also had an amazing lineup of artists creating beautiful covers. What I found particularly fun and challenging on this piece was creating a sense of anticipation and tension. I also wanted to develop a tight space and provide the viewer with some open questions that might draw them in, like who are these people and what the heck is going to happen next?”

 

Below you can see his paintng process step-by step.

The initial sketches:

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

I knew I had gone to the right artist as soon as I saw these sketces. What seemed to me to be a compositional nightmare was clearly not a problem for him. 

The first one got a good amount of movement in a static scene, and I like that Cadsuane is a pillar of calm and unperturbed by the crowd, but it was a bit more expected than the other two compositions.

I also really liked the third sketch, it was a great way to show Cadsuane's strength and calm even while faced with a room full of Asha’man on guard. The trouble was, Asha'man didn't use spears and I didn’t think the swords would work in their place. There was also a height issue between Rand and Cadsuane. 

The middle seemed just right. She enters a room full of pent-up agression with strength and poise, completely confident, as befits her status as a near-legendary Aes Sedai.

The final drawing. Note this is before we swapped the spears for swords. 

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

And here you can follow his painting style through a number of steps. It is interesting that, although he is painting digitally, he following a very traditional technique by blocking in all the values first and then slowly introducing color. 

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.

And the final art! 

Tyler Jacobson's Crown of Swords cover in progress.


Irene Gallo is the Art Director for Tor Books.

32 comments
Scott Silver
1. hihosilver28
Will the rest of the TP releases have new art too? It feels odd that the new art starts on book 7.
BlackAjah
2. BlackAjah
Yes, I agree. Can you please shed some insight, Irene, on what happened to the ACOS eBook art that we thought would be used on the ACOS trade paperback? I love this new painting as well, I'm just curious...did Harriet think Lan saving Nynaeve was a bit too romance-novel like or something?
BlackAjah
4. Alex16
I love this cover. It looks very good. Well Done!
BlackAjah
5. SandraC
Very disappointed, have been waiting to buy the Lan and Nynaeve cover.
James Starke
6. jamestarke
I really like this new cover, but I have to agree with the rest in wondering why this one is being changed...
BlackAjah
7. ShaneRebenschied
Amazing art, and incredible sketches/process!
BlackAjah
8. Rancho Unicorno
I know I should be happy that we are getting an interesting cover, etc., etc., but I'm disappointed. Partly because Cadsuane always felt like a trumped up C-list character who thought she should have been an A-lister, and partly because I never liked her. And partly because I always liked Lan and grew to really like Nyneave.
rob christianson
9. robchristianson
The trade paperbacks and ebooks have both been released with new art, not just starting with #7... But it's odd to me that, although this is awesome, it's not the new art of Nyneave under water overcoming her block.

Irene, why diverge from the new current art series? Just curious.

Rob Christianson, Illustrator

PS: Commenting on your site does not work with iPhone/iOS. I just tried 4 times in a row and had to do this on my laptop in the end. Maybe have your techs look into this issue?

Tai'shar!
rob christianson
10. robchristianson
Also, I just wanted to say these are my favorite blog posts (artists' progress and process) so please keep them coming!

And I just noticed, it's interesting how differently we interpret things like the Asha'man's "high collars". I always pictured them as more like a clerical cassock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassock). I love how different our artistic interpretions can be.
BlackAjah
11. Rancho Unicorno
@10. You and me both. I also imagined Cad's lucky charms as more like trinkets attached to a hairnet that covered a bun. So, the hair would be the same, as the image, but that's it.
Dominick Saponaro
12. DominickSaponaro
Great choice of cover artist! Tylers awesome and a hell of a nice guy. Im sure theres all sorts of marketing reasons for slapping new art on the cover but I think it great your commisioning new pieces as opposed to just reusing the ebook versions. No matter how awesome those were!

Oh yeah... great piece too!
Amy Bryson
13. bonhoor
I agree; the posts about the artist's processes are great.
@10 I always imagined the collars to be very high like in the cover but with no fold over.
Anastasia Burina
14. Radda
Really like the composition and Cadsuane figure but I just can't help but think there's something wrong with almost every Asha'man's face, especially the Illianer next to Rand, who looks like he was slapped with a palm smeared in gray paint.
And *nitpicking* their clothing looks too modern and those coats aren't resembling the ones from Lord of Chaos ebook cover. Altogether, it reminds me too much of portaits of communist leaders.

And like @10 and @13 I also really enjoy those 'paintings in progress' posts. Thank you!
BlackAjah
15. SandraC
I know I should be happy that we are getting an interesting cover, etc., etc., but I'm disappointed. Partly because Cadsuane always felt like a trumped up C-list character who thought she should have been an A-lister, and partly because I never liked her. And partly because I always liked Lan and grew to really like Nyneave.
Rancho Unicorno, I'm in full agreement. I think Nynaeve deserves to have a cover of her own, so I was really disappointed to see her replaced by a much more minor character like Cadsuane. If the new cover had showed an even more exciting scene like Mat fighting the gholam, I could've understood, but I truly don't understand how Cadsuane's gray bun would be an improvement over the original Crown of Swords cover where Nynaeve loses her block. I don't think I will be buying this book.
Douglas Freer
16. Futurewriter1120
The cover is awesome. Although I've yet to experience Cads, this makes me look forward to reading her.
My main complaint is how weird Rand looks. It's probably the way his hair is parted but he doesn't look like Rand and the color of his hair looks strange to me. To orange for my tastes.
If there are more new covers, same for AMOL, I can't wait.
Irene Gallo
17. Irene
Hi Guys,

We are changing the art on this and one other title for trade papberback editions at Harriet's request. I won't speak for her but I imagine that the ebook art on those two just didn't match the scenes as she saw them. As for me, I'll jump at any chance I can hire artists.
rob christianson
18. robchristianson
Well whatever the reason, I'm always excited to see more professional WOT art, so great job Irene and awesome job Tyler!

@15: why decide to skip buying a book in the series just cuz the cover isn't the one you think it should be? Especially if the design still lines up with the rest of your collection.

Also, a random thought: When I met RJ back in... 95-ish I think at a signing for Legends, I gave him a print of my "The Death of Kinslayer" image. It'd be awesome if Harriet still had it in her house.. guess I'll always wonder. And it'd be amazing to do one of these paintings, but I know my illustration style is definately NOT in the same vein, so no hard feelings! Just please make sure the artists you choose are familiar with the story. Whelan pulled it off, but I think that's just cuz he's Michael Whelan. ;)
BlackAjah
19. SandraC
@15: why decide to skip buying a book in the series just cuz the cover isn't the one you think it should be? Especially if the design still lines up with the rest of your collection.
robchristianson: I already own hardcovers of all Wheel of Time books, but have been buying TPBs with the ebook covers I particularly liked (the ones featuring my favorite characters). I was looking forward to purchasing Crown of Swords - the scene where Nynaeve breaks her block is one of the highlights of the book and deserves to be on the cover - but this new cover just isn't worth repurchasing the book for. Cadsuane's gray bun and the gawking Asha'man isn't a very appealing visual, nor is she a character I am particularly invested in. I know there are some readers who actually like Cadsuane, but I'm pretty sure that the original cover with Nynaeve and Lan would attract far more sales. So from both a fan's and a sales point of view, I find the cover change very strange.
BlackAjah
20. nathannathannathan
More new art is better than less new art, if they could do three covers for every book I certainly wouldn't complain.

And while I like Nynaeve MUCH more as a character, and loved her eBook cover...this is nice too. I could understand feeling sore on Nynaeve's behalf :P but this is a nicely composed piece of art, if a little bit of a strange scene-choice.

Whatevs, I just hope we get another aMoL cover for the eBook (not because I disliked the old one but because new WoT art is new WoT art and therefore automatically awesome!)
Stefan Mitev
22. Bergmaniac
There's too many Rands on the covers already, I can't say I am a fan of having him on yet another one. Sure, he's the main character, but there are others with almost as much "screentime" and importance, like Nynaeve or Elayne, who barely get any covers. Cadsuane being a relatively minor character makes it even worse.

Plus I hate this scene, It's Cadsuane at her most obnoxious.

Good artwork though.
BlackAjah
23. Piratepete
I buy books to read, so I won't be buying any of these. I have tpbs of most of the set and most of them only have the triple circle on the cover. Although the last one was gold on white, instead of gold on black. The mmpbs have proper pictures, but I don't really look at them.

I guess I'm just a reader.
Kathryn Dix
24. Alopex
The old cover was my favorite scene in the series. I'm sorry to see it go.
Publius 75
25. publius75
Honestly, if they rounded all these posts up, expanded on them, and included other artwork, it would make an awesome book for the coffee table.
Eric Hughes
26. CireNaes
That was one of my favorite moments to read in the series. I'm happy to see it turned into a cover.

The e-book for this installment wasn't bad, but it didn't thrill me either. I would have rather seen Nyneave healing Logain depicted on Lord of Chaos over Lan and Nyneave under water in A Crown of Swords. This is a nice change up.

@ValMar

Too funny.
BlackAjah
27. ZhaneEndrick
I actually like this one better than the ebook cover.
But it's changing for one other too huh?
Please, I am begging you, do NOT let it be Path of Daggers. Julie Bell's cover is my favorite of the entire series.
BlackAjah
28. Kelley
Tyler Jacobson graduated from the Academy of Art University, not "University of the Arts."
Bridget McGovern
29. BMcGovern
Kelley @28: Fixed, thanks! Academy of Art University (in San Francisco) is correct. (The University of the Arts being in Philly, where I grew up :)
BlackAjah
30. PatrickS
Does anyone know when the rest of the trade books will be released with the new art? I believe that Path of Daggers is scheduled to be released in Nov of 2013, how about the rest?
BlackAjah
31. Namaste
The Path of Daggers is the other book that will get new cover art.
BlackAjah
32. Alexwithlove
It is beautiful.

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