I just wanted to show off the final version of the cover art that Jake Bullock completed today.
Here's the blurb…
MAGIC WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING, AND A WIZARD'S GUILD WITH NO MEMBERS.
Young Rush has bent the rules and managed to become an apprentice in wizardry to his uncle, but neither of them is qualified to revive the Torch & Scroll Guild, and there is no one else left. Neglected for generations, the mother house is in ruins, soon to be sold off by the Star Watch, the wizards' council, as the only guild to ever have expired for lack of heirs.
But this clever and deep-thinking young man may have puzzled out some of the fundamental principles underlying all magical practice, and this discovery will change everything, if only Rush can stay alive long enough for his plans to work.
What we're looking at is the servants' quarters behind the decayed guild house of Torch & Scroll. All that's left of the guild is huddled there, in a disgraceful building for an institution that has long fallen out of power.
Over time, our clever young apprentice wizard is going to discover the basic principles underlying the common and industrial use of magic in his world, much as Gregor Mendel used pea plants to formulate the principles of genetic inheritance. Rush will rely upon close observation of, and experimentation on, some of the magic-using plants and animals of his world. You can see his notes…
Each novel will center around a particular critter or plant that contributes to Rush's understanding of the basic principles of magical inheritance. A vignette of the creature will appear on the back cover of the novel.
It might be a rodent, or a tree, or a fish, or even just a lowly fungus. Each of these may provide a new insight.
This particular burrowing rodent will prove to have a special magical ability to pulverize earth and rock over a short distance, giving it an evolutionary advantage.
There will also be short stories and story collections, each of which will have its own vignette. These works will be too short for print formats, and so they will only need front covers. I'll use the back covers of the novels as front covers for short stories. Here's a mockup of how that might look…
As each new novel is written, the main house on the front cover (the incipient Academy) will reflect its change of fortune since the last novel. There will be repairs and rebuilding, and also potential setbacks (an experiment gone explosively wrong, say).
You'll be able to line up the novel covers side by side and watch the house change over time.
My cover artist, Jake Bullock, and I worked closely together to set this up as a process for covers for the entire series. Each new novel will need some new painting for the Academy building background (the rest of the background won't change), a new vignette, and a new title text. Each new story will require a new vignette and a new title text. These changes will be highly visible for differentiating the individual novels and stories, but won't cost a fortune to produce, since the changes (after the first one) are restricted in scope.
Working with Jake was a delight and I couldn't be happier with the results. It's really interesting to compare this with his audition sketch.
What do you think about the cover?
You can find more of Jake's work here.