We’re thrilled to share the cover for Above the Timberline, Greg Manchess’ fully illustrated novel about the son of a famed polar explorer searching for his lost father in an alternate future in which the world is buried under snow, available October 2017 from Saga Press. While the novel contains 120 full-page illustrations, it all began because of just one piece of art…
What is now the cover image for Above the Timberline was originally a one-off demo painting. “When sketching the idea for the first painting,” Manchess said, “I was simply interested in a guy and his polar bear companions. I was searching for a visual moment that gave the viewer just enough information to wonder about his character. A moment to give a viewer something to reflect on. Maybe a little agitation amongst the bears would give them some character, too. I hadn’t realized that I was building an adventure that eventually went beyond the original painting.”
When people kept asking about the story behind the painting—who is he? who is he looking for?—Manchess said that “I found my answers coalescing into an adventure tale that surprised me as well. Much storytelling had built up inside and I let all of it out. It was fascinating to watch my character do things I hadn’t expected. I had general ideas about why he was out there, but it took several years to find out. Interestingly, drawing the images guided me. To find my story, I would sketch each day to figure out what he was doing. I found his story through the pictures. It was an endlessly enjoyable process. It never got burdensome.”
In addition to the gorgeous cover above, Greg and Saga Press were kind enough to share several interior spreads. Feast your eyes below, and click any image to enlarge:
Saga Press describes Above the Timberline as “a stunning and cinematic combination of art and novel.” From the catalog copy:
When it started to snow, it didn’t stop for 1,500 years. The Pole Shift that ancient climatologists talked about finally came, the topography was ripped apart and the weather of the world was changed—forever. Now the Earth is covered in snow, and to unknown depths in some places.
In this world, Wes Singleton leaves the academy in search of his father, the famed explorer Galen Singleton, who was searching for a lost city until Galen’s expedition was cut short after being sabotaged. But Wes believes his father is still alive somewhere above the timberline.
Award-winning painter Gregory Manchess has worked as a freelance illustrator for nearly forty years on advertising campaigns, magazines, and book covers.
His work has appeared on covers and for feature stories of National Geographic Magazine, Time, Atlantic Monthly, and The Smithsonian. Gregory’s excellent figure work has led to numerous commissions for stamps by the US Postal Service, including the Mark Twain stamp and the recently released March On Washington stamp.
With Gregory’s passion for history, the National Geographic Society sent him on expedition to record the exploits of explorer, David Thomson, and chose his work to illustrate the adventures of the first discovery of an actual pirate ship for the traveling exhibition, Real Pirates: The Untold Story of The Whydah, from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship.
Widely awarded within the industry, Manchess exhibits frequently at the Society of Illustrators in New York. His peers at the Society presented him with their highest honor, the coveted Hamilton King Award.
Gregory is included in Walt Reed’s latest edition of “The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000.” He lectures frequently at universities and colleges nationwide and gives workshops in painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, and the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, MA.
Above the Timberline will be available October 24th from Saga Press. Pre-order from the stores below, or your favorite retailer: