Tag Archives: illustrator

Call of Elespen Cover Reveal

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Call of Elespen Cover Reveal

The epic conclusion to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series is almost here, and you know what that means: It’s time for a cover reveal!

If you’re familiar with the series so far, you know that I have illustrated designed all of the covers myself. It has always been important to me to make sure each cover is unique enough to be attractive on its own, but consistent enough with the rest of the series that it looks like a series when all of the books are displayed together.

To do this, I  really thought about color, giving each book its own unique palette and tone. I knew Kythshire, for example, would be blue and gold, because those colors appear prominently in the book. They’re the colors of Azi’s guild, and the colors of the golden field she visits in Kythshire.

 

For Call of Sunteri, I chose red for the dye fields Tib escaped, and gold for the wings of a prominent fairy in the book. I won’t say who, just in case you haven’t read it yet!

 

For Call of Brindelier, it had to be purple for the mystery and majesty of the hidden kingdom of Brindelier, and gold, of course. This time, for Azi.

 

For Call of Hywilkin, I knew I wanted flame orange and yellow to represent the fiery mountain of Kerevorna, and the wings of its Keeper had to be very distinct. I also wanted it to feel quite ominous because of the dark, dramatic tone of this book.

Finally, here we are at Elespen! As the final book in the series, I hoped to make this cover really stand out. This book and its cover had to feel like a triumph. I wanted it to feel mysterious and creepy, but also bright and hopeful. I painted the wings to seem like they could be a butterfly in a rain forest jungle, and gave them eyes to make them curious and interesting. It was important that the green felt like a jungle, with all of the wonder and danger that the idea of a jungle invokes. I wanted it to feel ambiguously good and evil, beautiful, and unnerving. My favorite part about this cover is how the area beneath the wings feels like a portal into a strange blue sky or tropical water, which happened accidentally as I was painting it.

Without further delay, here it is, the cover reveal of Call of Elespen!

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books bannerI’m still planning on releasing the book in the later part of November. I promise to keep you updated! In the meantime, you can download Call of Kythshire for free today, in celebration of my cover release! Enjoy!

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Quick Update

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Quick Update

The more I write, the more excited I am to share the next installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings with all of you. Call of Elespen is currently up to 79,533 words and counting. I’m about to start chapter 24 this morning, and I thought I’d pop in quickly to say hello and let everyone know I’m still here and I’m definitely still writing!

Here’s my favorite tiny snippet from a recent chapter:

     “Rescue?” she whispers.
For a long stretch of silence, she looks me over. Her halfhearted gaze slowly drifts into the vast space above us. I follow, looking up into the chute as far as I can before the walls are swallowed into shadow. She doesn’t have to say a word. The hopelessness she feels hangs heavy in the air around us.
“Even if you could,” she sighs, “to what end?”

I won’t tell you who’s doing the rescue or who’s getting rescued, but I will share with you this sketch, which will definitely appear in the final version:

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Call of Elespen is the fifth and final book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, due out this November. I’ll be announcing a release date and cover reveal soon, so keep checking back here for updates.

One last thing! Call of Kythshire, book one of the series, will be free to download on Amazon September 12, so if you want to dive into the series before the last book is released, be sure to grab your copy! See you soon!

Call of Elespen Update: New Illustrations!

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Call of Elespen Update: New Illustrations!

I know I’ve been quiet here in blog land, but I have a great excuse. I’ve been busy writing and illustrating Call of Elespen! I’m up to Chapter 13 now, with a total word count of 41,069.

I’m not going to tell you anything at all about the following illustrations, posted in no particular order. I’ll let you wonder what’s happening based on what you see. You can click on each pic to see a larger version.

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Which one do you like the most, and why? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to ask a question if you have one. I’ll answer anything that’s not a spoiler. 😉

All images are Copyright 2017 Missy Sheldrake, so please don’t share without crediting me. 

It’s my Birthday! Presents for everyone!

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It’s my Birthday! Presents for everyone!

That’s right! Today is my birthday and I’m offering Call of Kythshire for free on Kindle!

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It’s the first book in my Keepers of the Wellsprings series, and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out! Follow knight-in-training Azaeli Hammerfel, squire of His Majesty’s Elite, on an adventure to uncover the root of the mysterious curse that has befallen her family. Are fairies to blame for her father’s mysterious madness and her mother’s disappearance, or is something far more sinister to blame?

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His Majesty’s Elite 

If you have read it, tell your friends! Call of Kythshire is free today only! Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday! Here’s to fairy wishes for great adventures!

Cover Reveal, and a Dream Come True

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Cover Reveal, and a Dream Come True

When Christina McMullen, one of my favorite indie authors and a good friend, approached me to work on the cover for her book, I admit I was a bit nervous. I mean, I’ve done commissioned artwork for years, so I’m accustomed to doing artwork for others. And I’ve even done book covers, but they were always for my own books, so it was mostly easy to know what to do.

Still, I’d read an early beta copy of the first few chapters of A Space Girl from Earth, and I was hooked. Ellie was a heroine I could really stand behind, and her story is filled with delicious sci-fi, edge-of-your-seat adventure, and heart-string-pulling romance. Admittedly, I haven’t had a chance yet to read through the final version, but it’s next on my list and I’m itching to get to it.

So, with a just a little trepidation because I felt this was a character who deserved a great portrayal, and because I wasn’t sure I was the one to make that happen, I agreed to paint Ellie for Christina. The result, to my delight, is exactly as I (and Christina, thankfully) pictured her. I’m so excited to finally be able to share the final result with you. Here’s Ellie!

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Click the cover to preorder A Space Girl From Earth

Christina was so happy with all of the details I added to Ellie, that she created a separate cover for the Kindle edition of the book with a close-up:

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Click the cover to visit Christina’s blog and read more!

 

I had so much fun working on all of the little details, like the doodles on Ellie’s shoes, and her blue nail polish, and of course her glowing spots!

You can read more about the book, which is now available for preorder, on Christina’s blog. Christina also has some preview chapters up for grabs, so make sure you visit her blog for more info!

Now, as for the second part of the title of this post… a dream come true. Last night when I was reflecting on the anticipation of today and this exciting cover reveal, something occurred to me. Back in my college days, I studied under a sci-fi cover artist named Abe Echevarria. He was my mentor, and he encouraged me to focus on Illustration as a career. Here are a couple of examples of his work:

At the time, I worked hard to hone my skills and emulate his style. I dreamed that one day I could be a freelance illustrator and have my artwork on fantasy book covers. This was back in a time before digital art, when covers were hand-painted with oils or acrylics and canvases were rolled up and shipped to the publisher to be processed for printing. I romanticized what the life of a freelancer would be like, and imagined myself one day in my own studio, negotiating contracts with publishers and seeing my artwork on store shelves. But abstract painting lured me away, and my focus on illustration faded. I spent my graduate studies in the fine art painting studio, and left illustration behind.

How amazing that the faded dream just ended up falling into place, and here I am twenty years later, with my artwork on the cover of someone else’s novel!. And it’s a trilogy, so I’m really looking forward to painting more covers for Christina soon!

Finally, I’d love to share a fun little video of my process. I do all of my artwork on the Procreate app on my iPad Pro, which records time-lapse videos as I work. If you watch closely, you can see all of my reference images popping in and out of the canvas, along with Christina’s suggestions and comments on some of the images. You’ll notice that I sometimes sketch over the reference images to make sure I get proportions and certain features right. This was one of the techniques Mr. Echevarria taught me, though back in college we used vellum, light tables, and projectors for the same process. I really love technology!

If you’d like to discuss cover art or other commissioned pieces, please feel free to contact me through my website: http://www.missysheldrake.com

 

Prepping for the Last Book

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Prepping for the Last Book

Guess what?! I just finished reading through the entire Keepers of the Wellsprings series and taking notes for Book 5, which will be the last book in the series! 😢 This illustration represents one of my favorite moments in Call of Hywilkin. 💜💙 If you’ve read it, you’ll understand why!

Over the next few days, I plan to read over my notes and finalize a plan, and hopefully by next week I can really get to work writing! Wish me luck!

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Illustration for Call of Hywilkin, Keepers of the Wellsprings Book 4

It’s today!! Call of Hywilkin is here!

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It’s today!! Call of Hywilkin is here!

Author’s Note: This post was written before coffee.

It’s release day! I can’t stand it, I’m so excited!! Call of Hywilkin is finally available for sale on Amazon, and you are definitely in for a treat if you get it! You’re going to meet so many amazing characters and go on such an adventure!

You’ll meet Wyvern:

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“Talk plain to me. You know I don’t like all that frilly talk.”

 

 

And Tulya:

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“I am not porcupine.” 

And Kenrick:

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“Mentalism, my dear, is not like other schools of magic.”

And Pippa:

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“How can I keep it out when it is all I ever see? Night. Always, night.”

And you’ll travel with old favorites like Azi and Rian:

 

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“A screech from the darkness…a strange glow fills the space like cool, blue moonlight.”

Flitt:

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“Want to play?”

And of course, Tib!

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“I just want to do what I want, and I don’t want to answer to anyone.”

And don’t forget Celli and Quenson!

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“What have you done to this girl? What dark magic is this?”

You can order Call of Hywilkin by clicking  here.

All the other books in the series are available for free today only! (March 3, 2017) Click here to download them!

 

Less Than a Week to Go!

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Less Than a Week to Go!

EVERYONE! I am so excited for the week ahead. Call of Hywilkin has its official release this Friday, March 3. To celebrate, I’ll be offering Call of Kythshire, Call of Sunteri, and Call of Brindelier for free for that one day only!

Are you ready to explore Hywilkin? Here’s a desktop wallpaper I made with some of my favorite illustrations from the book. Feel free to download it and use it (personal use only, please)!

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My website is all ready to go, with a face lift to match the color scheme of the new book. I invite you to read an excerpt from the book (spoiler-free) and check out the illustration gallery (not so spoiler-free).

This week also happens to be #RobotPartyWeek. I’m told it has nothing to do with robots or parties, but anyone following the hashtag on Twitter will find free books from fantastic indie authors! Check it out this week, the week of Feb 26-March 4.

Speaking of #RobotPartyWeek, my friend and fellow indie Christina McMullen has a few things planned over on her Vampires & Robots blog. Says she: “All week long, I’m featuring new releases from a variety of sci-fi and fantasy authors. We’ve got flying cars, snarky adventure seekers, pantsless elves, and an outspoken fairy. Plus, alien robots from outer space run amok and only the book world can save us!”

I’m also working on a fun interview between Flitt and a character created by author Ember Winters which she’ll be posting this Friday, and I’ll have a fun Realm Explorers by Annie Douglass Lima interview going up March 6 telling all about the Known Lands.

With all that to look forward to, it’s going to be a great week! What do you have going on? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Book 4, Draft 2 Finished!

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Book 4, Draft 2 Finished!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished my second draft of Call of Hywilkin! That means all that’s left to do is some proofreading, formatting, and making sure my illustrations are spaced through the book in a way that makes sense.

I’m hoping to have a release date for you soon, and I expect that date to be in early March.

Book Four was a real challenge for me to write.  There were many stops and starts which made me worry that the plot was stilted and choppy. I was so relieved during my read-through to find the opposite to be true. There is so much action and emotion in this book. It’s packed full of all of the characters you’ve grown close to, and a few new ones you’re sure to love. I truly can’t wait to share it with the world!

Here’s a preview illustration of Flitt, who’s as cheeky as ever in this book.  If you like the image, I have a whole line of products available for sale on redbubble.

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Finally, I have a favor to ask. If you’ve read any of the books in this series and haven’t written a review yet, please consider reviewing them on Amazon. I’m especially grateful for reviews of Call of Brindelier, book three in the series. Thanks so much, and check back for more news coming soon!

 

Up for Air

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Up for Air

Wow! Happy 2017, everyone! I can’t believe another year has gone by! I have great news that I’m so excited to share. On the first day of this  year, I wrote the last chapter of Book 4: Call of Hywilkin. I feel like I was in an author-induced cocoon for months, and I have finally broken out of The Known Lands and back into Real Life again! I’m up for air for a week, and then it’s time to get to editing.

I’m really excited about this book. In this installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, Azi and Rian set out to Hywilkin to search for missing members of the Elite, and meet with much more than they bargain for. In the meantime, Tib spends some time with the elves of Ceras’lain before heading to Brindelier to look into strange dealings there. Of course, both parties encounter the darkest of the dark: Sorcerers bent on claiming the power of the Wellsprings for themselves and plunging the world into darkness.

I can’t wait to share more of the story with you! So much happens in this book that’s impossible for me to hint at since I don’t want to ruin the previous books for those who haven’t caught up!

I’m hoping to release Call of Hywilkin in March, possibly on Kythshire’s birthday which strangely happens to be St. Patrick’s day, too. Keep an eye here for a cover reveal!

In other news, I’m planning a free promo of books 1&2 for next weekend. Call of Kythshire will be free Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14, and Call of Sunteri will be free Saturday, January 14 and Sunday, January 15.

Just for fun, here’s a sneak peek illustration and excerpt from Call of Hywilkin:

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The Gilt Cage

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Don’t forget, you can get Snowberry Blossom for free every day on Amazon!

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The Keepers of the Wellsprings series is available on Amazon.com, and it’s free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited!