Daily Archives: Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Well, this is certainly different! It’s fantastic to see Tor continuing to push these new covers in new directions. Though it’s not exactly practical, it suits the medium, and will be an interesting practice once we see more e-readers with full colour, dynamic screens.

The Battle of Dumai's Well by Greg Manchess

Artist Greg Manchess on the cover:

I told Irene that I was offering to do a grander, wider scene so that the viewer could explore the battle. It would stretch far enough to break the borders of the square, but to compensate, I composed it so that we could pick a ‘sweet spot’ to place on the cover. I let that spot dictate the broader POV.

As I stretched the scene, stage left, I found myself able to include more of what was happening in the story. I wanted to give a sense of distance to the landscape, while bringing figures forward enough that they’re almost on top of you. But the closer the figure, the more they block. And explosions take up a lot of real estate in a painting.

I had to pick the moment carefully. Depict a moment too far in advance of the mayhem and it weakens the excitement. Too far after the initial firestorm and I’d be depicting heaps of charred meat. I chose the moment just before the detonations went rending through the ranks completely. The wave is just starting to sweep over the Aiel, but as timing isn’t quite so precise, I depicted the flames cresting quickly from right to left, allowing the viewer “time” to see what was about to come. Utter flaming chaos.

Manchess absolutely nails the Battle of Dumai’s Well, one of the most intense and immediately recognizable scenes in the entire Wheel of Time series. My favourite in the series so far is still The Fires of Heaven, but it’s nice to see Tor change pace and provide a frenetic action scene to accompany the mostly characters-based covers for the previous volumes.