Saturday, September 7, 2013

Illustration for SHADOW HAND

Dear Imps, as some of you already know, once in a while, the artist side of me wants to come out and play, and I forgo writing for a little doodling instead. This year, I've been learning photo-manipulation, which is fun . . . a very different art form than my usual, but fun!

Bard Eanrin and Dame Imraldera have been fan favorites since . . . well I think since Book 1, honestly! So while Shadow Hand is not focused on them (they are major characters, but not the protagonists, per se), I decided to do an illustration featuring them anyway. I'd found the image of this girl months ago and had been planning to use her for an Imraldera-themed piece ever since. This seemed like a good opportunity.

After all, there are some big changes coming up in their relationship come Shadow Hand . . .

Stock Credit: A-Stock
So, what do you think? I know, I know, Eanrin is in a hood, not a hat . . . but it's tough to find stock photos with exactly the right outfits, and I think this fellow works pretty well on the whole.
 
If you'd like to share this illustration as a blog button on your sidebars, please link it back to the Shadow Hand blog page. Hope you enjoyed the image. And I hope you'll all be grabbing copies of Shadow Hand this winter!
 

25 comments:

Bookishqueen said...

I love it! And the quote is awesome. I can't wait.

Hannah said...

Ah, how beautiful! And it will be so hard to see the change in their relationship...Eanrin is so obvious in his love for Imraldera in Starflower and Dragonwitch...yet 1600 years later they haven't become any closer, yet rather drifted further apart. I always used to think it was Eanrin's fault...but now I'm reconsidering that position. They need to just sit down and actually talk.

"One conversation! One simple, honest, true conversation and all your questions would be answered, all your problems solved. Really, man is that so difficult? Then you'd be free to fall into each other's arms and live your Happily Ever After. Why make it so complicated?" quoth Eanrin.

He really ought to listen to his own advice.

Allison Ruvidich said...

Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Too much awesomeness! I felt like Imraldera was looking at me in this picture. :D This is so cool!

Allison Ruvidich said...

Also, I'm excited because "Shadow Hand" comes out just in time for my birthday. :D

Rebeka B. said...

*sigh* So lovely. I love the atmosphere in this piece, and I actually really like the photo stocks for Eanrin and Imraldera--especially the bit of swagger for the guy supposed to be Eanrin. :D

Jennette Mbewe said...

Awesome! Now, you have us drooling for the next book! Ha! Great job! My hubby and I have been playing around with photo manipulation as well. It was been fun and time consuming! :-)

I'll get around to posting the button soon!

Clara Darling said...

Oh my GOODNESS!!! I swear, you're going to drive your imps mad with all of these tantalizing sneak peeks!

I think I am looking more forward to Shadow Hand than any other of your books.

Sarah said...

I love that picture! It's so pretty! Nice work!

And I so totally cannot wait for Shadow Hand. It's going to be so awesome.

@Hannah: IKR? So very true.

Jenelle Leanne said...

Gorgeous!

Cannot wait for this book!

Maria Rod. said...

Whoa-ho! That is sooo cool : )

S.F. Gorske said...

Can't wait! I love the picture, but this teasing is too much for me. I want this book!

Rebecca Stanford said...

Oh my! I love the girl you picked to be Imraldera!

@Hannah Can you explain your reasoning for why you don't think it's completely Eanrin's fault? I'm curious to hear your reasoning.

Laura Pol said...

I CAN'T WAIT!!! So making this button!

Hannah said...

Rebecca:
(Warning! Speculation About Upcoming Story Alert. If you want to gather your own speculations, don't read this.)
Anne has given us all a few hints of this upcoming story. We know Sun Eagle will return. We've also been told that our dear, loving, compassionate, wants-to-help-everyone, Imraldera makes a big mistake. I'm guessing that she will be torn between her "duty" to Sun Eagle as he still considers her his betrothed and her love for Eanrin. I think whatever she does will be an attempt to not hurt either of them...and will accidentally hurt both of them tremendously.

This, I believe, will be an event of the past. I think Shadow Hand will have past and present events in it because A) Eanrin has his eyes in the pictures we've seen and the daughter of Eldest Sight-of-Day is a main character and B) it also obviously picks up with the characters from Moonblood.

While the story with Sun Eagle might have begun in the past (for Eanrin seemed to know him in Moonblood and didn't want to mention him to Imraldera) will also continue in the future.

Also, I think Eanrin feels unworthy of her. No matter the mistake Imraldera might have made, she is a beautiful, loving woman committed to her Lord. And Eanrin...he's failed at times...probably more than her. And he's lost his eyes. We don't know the story about that yet, besides he was far from his Path by his will or not. He should know that Imraldera doesn't care two cents about his being blind, but nonetheless, I think he's afraid of being rejected. And if Sun Eagle is still out there in the Wood, he might wonder if Imraldera prefers the man of her land.

I don't really know. These are all speculations I've gathered over reading the books. Eanrin is vain and petty at times, yes, but he loves Imraldera and he loves the Prince. And while he may struggle with his Path, I know he wants to do the right thing.

And I know it will all come right in the end, because I have complete confidence in the story-telling abilities of Anne!

Well, that was an LONG comment. Heh, heh, you asked for it. The ravings of a Goldstone Geek. :D

Platypus Pianist said...

So FUN! :D Can't wait for the release!!!

Allison Ruvidich said...

This is where the painting of Bard Eshirt would've been funny. :)

Meredith said...

This is so very nice that you can continue to do illustration work as well. Do you superimpose computer images into drawings, or how does this form of illustration work? Such fun, and I'm so excited to discover what Imraldera could have done.

To Hannah: I love your speculations. Do you think the "Everblooming" character might have something to do with Imraldera's mistake? Methinks Sun Eagle might have come across someone who tempted him in some way, (a bargain of some sort, perhaps?), so that he is seeking to obtain Imraldera in a way that might bring harm. So fun to contemplate. God bless.

Hannah said...

Meredith: Oooo, so possible. But it could also be a deal with a terrible entity called the Cren Cru...you'll know what I mean when you read Dragonwitch.

Anonymous said...

@ Hannah: what's that quote from, 'Dragonwitch'?

Hannah said...

Anonymous: Yes, it is from Dragonwitch. Eanrin is giving someone advice on woman as usual. =P

Meredith said...

Hannah: Cren Cru? Interesting. How does she come up with these things? So exciting! Thanks for the tantalizing information.

And, of course Eanrin must give advice about wooing. I only wish he'd follow it himself. Ah, well. I can't be too frustrated with him, because I don't listen to myself, either. God bless.

Becky said...

The cover, the speculation, the anticipation...so much fun. I'm smiling and teary eyed all at the same time! :o)

Beautiful cover, Anne Elisabeth! I'm sure I could really have fun with photo manipulation also.

Rebecca Stanford said...

@Hannah Oh I quite enjoyed the long comment :) It's so nice to have people to talk to about this stuff! I converted my mom and aunt, but they have only read Heartless. I see the your point! Good observation :)
I was also thinking of Cren Cru myself. Especially since he was mentioned in the last book. And I think we have all learned that Anne never introduces a character unnecessarily. ;)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

So enjoying all the comments and speculation here! Thank you, ladies, for the lovely compliments. And I hope you'll all enjoy seeing where the story of SHADOW HAND takes us . . . :)

@Meredith: You asked about this form of artwork. It's photo-manipulation, so what I do is take regular photos and then use computer software to cut them out, put them on new scenes, soften the lighting and edges, and so forth. In this particular illustration, I took an up-close portrait of a lovely Indian girl wearing a hot pink head-covering and gold robe . . . then, because the original photo had washed her out so that she looked a little too pale, I darkened her skin. Then I used various softening and blurring techniques so that she almost looks like a painting rather than a photo. Because Imraldera is described as wearing lavender and green, I changed her clothing to a purple head-covering and teal-green robe. I also made her hair darker, almost blue-black.

The original photo of the girl was on a blank gray background, so I cut her out of that and put her on a new background. This one is a moonlit scene of tall pillars, stone floors, and trees with moonlit leaves. It made me think of how I've described the Haven as both a building and forest at the same time. Now that I had the girl on this background, I had to change the lighting on her so that she looked like she might be standing in moonlight. Thus I added light blue highlights to her hair, her skin, and her head-covering. I also cast several layers of dark blue shadows over the whole of her image until she looked like she was actually part of the scene, and not simply cropped and pasted over the top of it.

The Eanrin figure is a smaller, full-figure, not a just a head-shot. So I put him back behind her, standing on the stone floor. His original photo was of a bright, sunny day, and he was standing on grass, not stone. So my challenge with him was to again make the lighting and shadows look appropriate for the new scene I had put him into. Again, lots of shading involved.

I hope this is good description for you of what the image looks like and a little of the work involved! It's a fun art form, and I enjoy playing with it.

Oh, and I also put some text on it. I'm not sure if your computer lets you read it or not, so I'll just tell you, it says: "SHADOW HAND -- The Adventure Continues February 2014."

And up at the top, above Eanrin, I put this text: "Be behold, my heart! Now is the Hour. You've dared to love the Maid Starflower." It's the last little line from STARFLOWER, if you recall. :)

AudstarDiamond said...

im just up to this book and i know its going to be awesome!!!