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:
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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
On Sale: February 5, 2013
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