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Morning Star

Artwork Continuity and Aesthetic

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Well, I've skulked about for a long time but it finally took the announcement of the World Book to get me registered on the forum! So here are two of my cents:

While I've read that the artwork for the World Book will not be considered seriously for a while yet, I'm curious if there will be any guidelines planned for the art insofar as the mediums or style used by the participating artists (to maintain some sort of continuity in the book's design, considering it is an encyclopaedic/compilation type endeavor). Many companion books suffer from 'slapped together artwork syndrome' often from the necessity of using whats available. The muddle of styles have the effect of making it look like a tour guide or game manual (unless that is the intention!). Watercolours, pencil and pencil-crayons work harmoniously together and have an elegance which gives a similar impression to illuminated manuscripts or at least of age and hand-crafting. Also having the illustrations differ in size and arrangement throughout would accentuate the possible use of 'annotation' type notes/chronicle style ie. little sketches for certain examples of things described here and there. Little scrapbook-esque details would make the book fun to explore and delight fans the world over! :P

Lastly in my lengthy parable: From what I have heard of the intention to perhaps write it as a maester's work, the use of a matte, off-white paper (simulating parchment or vellum) would really compliment the effect and can give any art the visual quality and texture of an original piece (as opposed to glossy paper). This is within the realm of possibility as many books have used similar paper to that effect.

Cheers

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One reason we're not making much in the way of decisions regarding the art or formatting of the book is that, after some meetings, Bantam will be putting us in touch with their art director and, I suppose, whatever layout designer(s) that will be assigned to this book. We will be consulting heavily with them and getting their expert views as to what is possible or not.

I do not believe that there will be any attempt to get everyone to match-up in style or mediums. We have to give artists the room to work in whichever way they work best -- you really can' tell someone like (and this is a completely random example, people; just the first big-name artist to pop into my head) Michael Whelan that he can't use acrylics.

To what degree there'll be an attempt to coordinate some of the details of the setting so that they all come out looking similar, I don't really know. I'd guess the art director would work on that, primarily. Linda and I have, of course, will offer our services as a resource for artists who want quotes and descriptions pulled up concerning people, places, and/or things they're working on, though.

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It makes sense that the general design of the book will be in the hands of the publisher, and is also understandable that if you want to use a variety of artists you can't really limit them via medium use etc. Guess I'm just hoping for a design that has a recognizable theme (where the art at least doesn't look totally alien together) and fits with the writing style you are hoping to present it in. Here is hoping the writers (the ones with the most creatively invested in the project!) have their design ideas listened to (since presentation can make or break a book). Though I'm sure you guys will pull it off with banners flying!

Ah, the excitement !

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Well, the idea that we're presently operating on is that the number of artists (at least, the number of artists being commissioned to create new work specifically for this book) will be quite few. So at least there shouldn't be a very wide scatter of new art.

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Out of pure curiosity (ahem) around how many new/different artists are you looking at? If that is a projection too far in the future yet to contemplate, will information on how/who the design people will be looking at be posted/mentioned on the forum? ;)

conjecture of course...

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Well, when last it was discussed -- at Worldcon -- the idea was maybe 5-8 artists. Things can change. Could get smaller, could get a lot bigger, but that's the last we had heard of it.

We may be able to announce some names in the coming months, but right now it's too early. :)

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