Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Author Blog Post: Marie Brennan and Dragon Art


Words cannot express how delighted I was when Paul Stevens, my editor at Tor, told me that he had gotten Todd Lockwood to do the cover and interior art for A Natural History of Dragons.

 Todd’s an amazing artist, but that isn’t even the reason. (At least, it isn’t all of the reason.) Having him do the art, both inside and out, brings this book full circle. You see, his work was part of the inspiration for it in the first place.

 It comes, of all places, from a role-playing game book. The third edition D&D supplement Draconomicon is a nifty piece of work, full of tasty information about dragons, but it also contains images that are not like the usual art found in those books. They’re line drawings of dragons: full-body sketches, detail shots of heads or claws, skeletal and muscular studies, and more. In other words, the sort of thing a natural historian would produce, if they happened to be studying dragons.

 That, in combination with the Dragonology series (or more specifically, the Dragonology calendar), was the jumping-off point for Isabella and her story. So when it was decided that the book would have interior sketches -- examples of Isabella’s own artwork, from her field notes -- I immediately thought of Draconomicon, and went to see who was responsible for the images that had inspired me to write about her in the first place.

 I was not at all surprised to see that it was Todd Lockwood. He’s one of the powerhouses of fantasy art, especially for Dungeons & Dragons, the Forgotten Realms, and so on. I was, however, a bit sad. If it had been someone else, I might have stood a chance; it being Todd Lockwood, the odds of me getting him on board seemed vanishingly small.

 So it seemed nothing short of a miracle when I heard that it was really going to happen. And then I saw the cover, which is an utterly perfect melding of my idea and my editor’s, as well as being eye-catching and a perfect advertisement for what the book is about. (I bought the first of the limited edition of prints, and once it’s framed it will be going up on my wall.) Then I started getting the interior art (and I’m thinking of buying one or more of those images, too). It is, in short, everything I visualized when I started writing this series, now made into reality.

 And it makes the world of the story so much more solid. Not just by showing readers what my words describe, but by mimicking the Victorian style of publishing, where such figures were common. I’m always thrilled to get the first copies of one of my books, but this one is especially exciting, because it’s such a beautiful object.

Some of Todd Lockwood's artwork below:

Would you like a wallpaper of slide 10 (the full cover of the book)? Well, guess what? There are downloads for your comp and other electronics HERE. All free from Tor.com.

Excerpt from the book:


A Natural History of Dragons
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. 
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
A Tor Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3196-0
On Sale: February 5, 2013
Available here:


Marie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to many short stories and novellas, she is also the author of A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire (both from Tor Books), as well as Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and Lies and Prophecy. You can find her online at SwanTower.com.
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)

Are you curious yet? Well, Tor is giving away one HC book!
Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter. US/Can only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 comments:

  1. This does indeed sound beautiful and I'm sure will prove popular and not just with those who love dragons.

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  2. I am honestly very excited about this one! :) I LOVE dragons, and more so if it's in a historical context.

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  3. Sounds like a terrific book!

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  4. I'm not much of a dragon girl, but those illustrations are just marvelous and breath taking! I would just check this book out to look at them. Very excited for the author to have a fabulous illustrator. I can definitely see it's one of the book's strength. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Eeeee Dragons!!! Sounds bloody epic :D I'm really anxious for this one.

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  6. Wonderful story. That's amazing the inspiration was able to do the artwork. A friend of mine would probably LOVE this bok. She's a big dragon fan. :)

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  7. I love the artwork! Sooo amazing! I so tried to get a copy of this from NetGalley to review but I didn't qualify so I'm so glad to get a chance to win a copy. The book looks amazing!

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  8. I agree it's a really wonderful work!

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  9. It sounds cool and different and I do love dragons

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  10. This book looks so amazing, I'm really excited about it. I've been trying to win it for fooreever. Hehe.

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  11. This sounds fascinating. I loved the art slide show as well. Too cool. Thanks for the chance to win. I would certainly like to check this out!

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  12. I love that slide show! Such gorgeous artwork. This book sounds very unique, and I'm a huge fan of dragons. Thanks for sharing, I hadn't heard of this yet, and I'm really excited about it now!

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  13. This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. I love dragons! Such beautiful artwork. I'm not an artist and can't really draw these at all. I'd love to have a book of dragon pictures and the story.

    Heather

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  15. Those illustrations are so cool. I could love the book just for those, if the story is that good it's a total win/win! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  16. In high school I went through a dragon phase. Drawing dragons on everything I could. This books sounds awesome! Great giveaway!

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  17. Oh this book is fun! I'll have my review next week. So loved the illustrations and can see why you were inspired. Loved the way it was incorporated within the story!

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  18. Oh that's amazing artwork! How lucky you are to have gotten him. I LOVE dragon artwork! I already have this book on my wishlist. :)

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  19. Oh wow! Look at those images. He did amazing work with the dragons. Thank you!

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Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!