OF THE CITY OF THE SAVED...

COMMENTARY: COVER ART

I would have liked to include my correspondence with Steve Johnson regarding my ideas for the cover to Of the City of the Saved..., as I have with my illustration specifications for The Book of the War. However, the concept evolved a great deal from initial ideas to final image, until the associated email conversation became too vague and sprawling for me to edit it down into anything concise.

Originally, the cover was supposed to depict the reception at View Point, the summit of the City Watchtower, as described in Chapters 70 and 71 of the novel. The intention was to depict a generic Faction Paradox member enjoying a pleasant drink and chat with a fellow party-guest. I'd supplied Steve with a list of scenes which might make good covers, the others being:

According to the description of View Point in the novel, the ground beneath the parapet is far too distant for any but the vastest details of the Cityscape to be visible. As work on the cover progressed, it was decided that showing a more detailed (and therefore interesting) City skyline and non-horizon would be a better plan. Clearly then the illustration would no longer depict this particular reception, but a more generic image of City life -- which means it now makes sense for Godfather Avatar, the most visually striking Faction Paradox associate in the novel, to be used as the Faction figure. The green-haired woman he's talking to may well be Councillor Mesh Cos.

The eagle-eyed may notice that Godfather Avatar isn't wearing his tricorn hat, described in the novel as a permanent fixture. For some reason, it was felt that the hat looked silly. Rocky and Bullwinkle references were being made. Steve patiently produced a whole collection of alternative images in which Avatar wears a large tricorn, a small tricorn, a floppy pirate hat and a cowl, but in the end it was decided to go with his bare skull.

I imagine the Godfather has removed his headgear and set it on the wall behind him, out of sight. Perhaps he felt overheated with it on.


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Of the City of the Saved... cover © Steve Johnson 2003.