art & photography


Shakespeare Shake-up

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre has been given a revamp, and look how pretty it is. I imagine it is a remarkable moment when an actor/actress is presented with this view. (Click on the image to view the whole gallery – it’s rather impressive.)

When the renovation of the Royal Shakespeare theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon was first announced, someone asked why the number of seats was to fall by 400. Surely this was against the notion of “accessibility” or “art for all”? Michael Boyd, artistic director of the RSC, boomed: “This isn’t football – you’re meant to be able to hear what the actors are saying.”

Not a bad way to spend £112million. I remember being in awe of the Royal Opera House when I watched Don Giovanni (featuring Anna Netrebko) a couple of years ago, but where that was a contemporary building, the Royal Shakespeare theatre seems to be all about the heritage.


New Cover: The Book Of Transformations

Here is the latest cover draft for The Book of Transformations, front and back so you can see the artwork wrapped around. People didn’t like the figure – so, for the hardcover, there will not be one.

And here’s the blurb:

A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant.

The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace – the Villjamur Knights. But there’s more to Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities – each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent.

Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights, but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has travelled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest’s existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unravel the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Súr steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his order are heading back to Villjamur.

And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur’s ancient legends are about to be shattered…


Fool’s Cap Map

The Fool’s Cap Map of the World, ca. 1580-1590:

The archetype of the Fool, presented here in his incarnation as the court jester, is a first indicator of the map’s deeper meaning. In previous ages, the Fool was a court figure allowed to mock majesty and to speak truth to power. These were rare and useful correctives to the corrupting absolutism of the monarchies of the day. But criticism of this sort was only possible if it was de-fanged by the grotesque appearance of the Fool – preferably a hunchbacked, slightly loopy-headed dwarf, i.e. someone not to be taken too seriously.

All of this would have been common and current knowledge to the people viewing this map, in the late 16th century. The uncomfortable truth told by this map is that the world is a sombre, irrational and dangerous place, and that life on it is nasty, brutish and short. The world is, quite literally, a foolish place.

Via Strange Maps


Uncool Cover

So, you didn’t really like the cover drafts we put up last week, and that’s fine. You didn’t think they were cool. So we are going to change it – and by we, I mean my editor Julie, who has asked the design guys and the artist to be rid of the character for the hardcover and focus on detailing the cityscape. We will have a figure on the paperback, but it’s likely to be a different one than the drafts. You all helped do that, so thank you for your contribution, even if it was answering a question we didn’t quite ask…

A couple of things came to mind. Firstly, some people really don’t understand the meaning of the word draft, but that’s fine, I could have been clearer. Secondly, a couple of comments sprung up that basically asked “Why should a transwoman look so feminine?” or querying that there’s nothing to mark her out as a transwoman. I think that’s uncool, but if we start analysing such sentiments, we’ll invoke Godwin’s Law pretty quickly.

Anyway, there you have it. I’ll hopefully have something more soon, but for now, you wild bunch of democratic anarchists have influenced what a publisher is going to do, and changed the cover of my book.

But if it bombs, you all owe me a drink.


Cover Art For The Book of Transformations – You Decide

You can have any cover you like, as long as it’s one of these two. Here we have a cover art draft for The Book of Transformations, the third book in the Legends of the Red Sun series, and there are two different crops of the artwork. I repeat: this is a draft. It is not finished: it’s low-res, the character isn’t quite set into the picture properly, and the final will be much more detailed and painterly, to bring it in line with the others, but first we need to decide which crop is better. Neither my editor Julie nor myself could come to a thorough conclusion, so we thought we’d put the question out to the blogosphere. I think I prefer the close-up version. So what do you think?

Oh the figure here is Lan, a new character: she’s a transwoman, and one of the leads of the novel.




Slightly Updated Cover

As you can see, even though it’s subtle, I think it’s a big improvement on the old cover for City of Ruin, which I’ve posted below so you can see the difference.

It was made darker once the designer had the final high res artwork, and also Brynd is more integrated into the image. There will be silver foiling on the title. I’m much happier with this – even though I liked the original. The images now enlarge so all you art geeks can really see the detail.