The Neverborn Saga development notes: July 2015

Krys Evergale swinging across Ikkara square

Hello Neverborn fans,

It is I, Colin Finkle, esteemed and accomplished (not really, not yet hopefully) writer and illustrator of the Neverborn Saga. Welcome to the first issue of our development notes.

So this is a tradition that I am borrowing from the video game community, particularly Destiny. Bungie, the team behind the video game sensation that is Destiny, tells their fans what they have been working on that week on their blog. We are going to do the same thing, because you deserve it. We love our fans and are working on content we hope you will love, so why wouldn’t we share what we have been working on with you.

July 2015 has been an exciting month because it feels like we are getting closer and closer to launching the book. As we get closer to the final product, it becomes less about the process and the expression and more about the product itself. There is a certain amount of nerves that come with showing you what I have made for you, allowing you to judge it good or bad for yourself (be nice!). Check out this blog post by children’s author / editor Eliza Wheeler to better understand what I am talking about. But I know we have a great story that deserves to be shared, and I don’t want Krys to be like the innumerable characters that is trapped in a manuscript in a desk drawer by an author who doesn’t want to bare his / her soul.

The biggest news stories of the month have been the website being up and running and the Twitter community growing, but that isn’t what these updates are about. It’s about the books! That is what we are all here for.

Cover / Poster Illustration

You’ve seen it already if you came into the website from the home page. It is the illustration for the cover and the poster for Book One: Tesselation. It depicts a moment in the book where Krys calms her mind down and gets focused on what she needs to do to save her mother. She is looking at one of the lovely sunsets of Ong from the roof of a building, looking at the district of Ikkara by the bay.

I chose this moment for two reasons. The first, this is a turning point for Krys and you needed to see the beauty she sees. The second, this allowed us to showcase the renaissance inspired setting juxtaposed against the sci-fi visual of the colourful nebula in the nighttime sky. Those two visuals together tell you what The Neverborn Saga is all about.

There is a third (secret) reason that I did not know about until I started on the illustration; there is an aspect of that scene that some may notice once they have read the whole book. Call it a breadcrumb to a larger mystery.

The illustration was made with both physical and digital methods. I start with thumbnail sketches done in pencils. I then do a pencil sketch that is about 14″ x 8″ and then ink overtop of it; the same way comics were drawn in the silver age. Then I scan it into the computer, and my drawing becomes a digital overlay. The colours go in underneath the drawing in Photoshop. The nebula is a photograph that is public domain via NASA. Did you know all photos NASA generates are public domain?

We will have a more formal reveal of the poster, but for now, here is a peak:
Krys Evergale looking at the sunset over Ikkara

Illustration: The Swing

This is an depiction of a scene in the early part of the book where Krys uses her omni-tool as a whip and swings over a busy town square on her way to meeting her friends at the Knowledgarium. She is late and trying to make up time. This moment is a great showcase of her approach to problems and her ability to do amazing urban acrobatics.

I am really pleased at how free and in her element she seems in the illustration. This is Krys Evergale.

Again, we will formally reveal all the illustrations except for the final two when the time is right, but here is a sneak peak for now:

Krys Evergale swinging across Ikkara square

Editing of Book One: Tessellation

Inputting the red pen edits into the second draft is the single most mind numbing thing I can think of. If there is a personalized hell that bad people go to in the afterlife, this will be mine, though I don’t consider myself bad. I printed out the first draft and did it manually on the advice of some authors so errors are more apparent, but I will never do that again. All digital from now on! It will still take less time even if I have to do it multiple times over.

We have been also looking at editors to work with. The second member of the creative team! Exciting.

Plotting for Book Two: Encapsulation

Book two is underway, and it is being plotted as book one is being finished. The idea is that we can bring you these books in quick succession so you can enjoy the serial adventure as well as each book on it’s own merit.

This book is written around a moment. A moment where Krys cannot take another minute of helplessly watching another be bullied, she gets pushed and pushed, and she takes drastic action with disastrous consequences that she did not think through. It is a moment I can see and feel so clearly in my head. It is a moment that was inspired by a song: “Oil Rig” by Hans Zimmer on the Man of Steel sound track. If it feels like I am talking around it, you are right! You will have to experience it yourself.

Colin Finkle