Working with artist Pam Hage on the covers of all three books in The Legend of Light has been nothing but a pleasure since day one. She’s as busy as she is talented, which is why I’ve always been very grateful to have her illustrating the cover art for what is my first series of novels.
I’ve commented on the creative process between us several times through posts for The Legend of Light’s Facebook page, but social media updates only allow for so much info. Just the same, it sounds a lot better coming from the artist, herself. Pam was nice enough to take a few minutes from her hectic schedule to participate in a little interview, where she offered lots of insight into the creation of the book’s various cover art. The illustration for Book One, Echoes of Light, is featured on this website’s primary header, featuring the main character Alamor; the illustration for Book Two, The Gleaming Path, is featured at the top of this specific piece, where you see the other main character in the story, Princess Raissa Hokara.
What was the most difficult part of drawing Alamor? What part felt most natural?
Pam: That’s definitely his face. Human faces are always tricky; we look at them every day, we know what they look like, and most importantly, we know when there is something odd about them. You don’t have to be an artist to sense that something looks a bit weird, but it can be really hard to pinpoint what exactly is the cause of that. Alamor had that ‘weird feeling’ a lot. I still notice it when I look at his face. Oh, and that sword was a bit of a pain too. Swords are made of long, straight lines, and my drawing style is made of short, messy brush strokes. Those two do not go well together.
I am not sure what part of drawing him felt the most natural, but I certainly had a lot of fun drawing the shiny bits of his red armour. I like playing with light, and everything about him is glowing! That made me happy.
What was the most difficult part of drawing Raissa? What part felt most natural?
Pam: Raissa was a lot easier than Alamor. She was drawn quite some time later, meaning I had time to get better at art, and drawing women is easier for me anyway. Still, that dress was hard. It’s made of multiple layers and lots of fabric, and to make it even harder: it’s moving in the wind. I needed some time to figure out where all the folds of the skirt should go. What’s also flowing in the wind is her hair, but for some reason, I found that much easier to draw. I like long hair. Most of the characters I draw have hair like that, and I guess that experience helped me here.
What was the most satisfying part of drawing Alamor, or what part did you feel turned out the best? The same for Raissa?
Pam: I really do not know this for Alamor, but for Raissa, it was the short time I needed to draw the face. This had taken me so long with Alamor, so it was funny to see (and quite a relief) that it went so much better with Raissa. I’ve been practicing human faces and expressions a lot lately, so I guess that paid off.
Aside from the input I provided you, what, if any other, references or inspirations did you pull from while creating Alamor? The same with Raissa?
Pam: For Alamor: I think I googled some images of armour for him. For Raissa: lots and lots of ball gowns and fancy hairdos. I did not copy anything though; it was all purely for inspiration.
You came up with the idea midway through to include that halo-like aura behind Alamor — a feature we would go on to use for all of the covers. At what point did the idea for that background feature come into your head, and what made you feel it would suit the image as well as it has?
Pam: I think it’s based on a rather dubious, personal piece of advice: when in doubt, draw a halo. Alamor has a very static pose and is surrounded by a lot of nothingness – which makes sense, because the title and author name is supposed to go there, but in terms of composition, it looks unbalanced. There is too much of that nothingness. I think we already agreed from the beginning to add some smoke to make the dark background more interesting, so I did, but it felt like it wasn’t enough. The solution wasn’t that hard; just before and around the same time I was working on Alamor, I have made art that featured halos. Some had planned halos, others were just an experiment. The halos instantly made those drawings more interesting to look at. Halos give a sense of power, and they strengthen the character that’s surrounded by them. It’s quite a simple, but effective trick, and I have used it often when I thought a drawing looked a bit ‘meh’. I just tried it out with Alamor, and it looked pretty neat, so I kept it (with your permission, of course).
Here are some of those (experimental) halo drawings:
Raissa has a very intricate outfit; what was your visualization process like for that given the information I provided? In deciding what exact shapes, sizes, and color shades to include, did you come up with one at a time and hope for the best? Did you try to plan it all out beforehand to make sure that nothing clashed?
Pam: You gave a very detailed description, my brain hardly had to do anything to picture it, haha! I try to get a rough image in my head of what I want to draw, but it’s mostly trial and error from that point. I know where I want light and shadow and have vague ideas for the colour, but that’s it, I have to try things out. Though I do know which colours work well together and which ones don’t, so it is not that I have to try every option available. That would certainly make me the slowest artist in the world.
I also hope that you can take a moment to visit Pam’s deviant art page and look at the rest of her stunning work!