Mar 1, 2010

Covering Covers: The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson

Over at, Irene Gallo is showing off the cover for Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings as well as the creative process behind it.

Cover Artist: Michael Whelan

If you go over to (and you definitely should), you can see the evolution of Whelan's cover, complete with rough sketches and early alternate drafts of the cover. I love reading about how cover art comes together and although I feel like something went astray here its still interesting. There is also a reference to a 1400 page manuscript, which Whelan said was dismaying long upon arrival. He did go on to say that he "was soon hooked and lost in the world Mr. Sanderson so skillfully realized. It helped that the writing had a rich cinematic quality that brought images of scenes, characters and creatures to my mind as if [Whelan] were immersed in a Myst-style virtual reality adventure, or watching a movie."

Regarding the cover itself, it's not my favorite. I know Tor is selling Sanderson as their next Jordan or Goodkind but does his name really need to be that big? It takes away from the detail of the sword and standard which is lost behind the name/title text combo. I actually really like the rough draft a lot [shown below] before the ridiculous looking sword and color were added. I can't really place my finger on what changed beside the sword, it might be how the cliffs/crags changed, but something was lost between the draft and the final version.

So what do you think? Sanderson is quickly reaching the point where he doesn't need a cover to move books, as evidenced by THE GIANT NAME, but good cover art is always appreciated.

And what's with the tentacled onion things anyway?


  1. One thing to keep in mind - Whelan did this cover because that's who Sanderson wanted for it. Usually an author has little control over who does the cover art and what it ultimatlely ends up as. But with his agreeing to finish up the WOT books, Tor owed Sanderson a big favor and Sanderson cashed in with this request. Whelan has basically retired from doing cover art, so Doherty had to call in a favor to get Whelan to do it.

    On the cover art itself - I like Whelan's work - his scope and color almost always fascinate me. I don't think this is his best work, but it's still pretty good. So I like it, but it's still a very traditional fantasy book cover. And I don't care for that so much. But the postives outweigh the negatives for me.

    It'll be interesting to see if Whelan does the other books in the series of if they need to find someone else.

  2. It's not terrible, it's just not great. Like you said, it's a very traditional fantasy cover. I just don't like how it all looks together.

  3. I like more the entire art piece. The cover misses the left part which helps the atmosphere. I like that it is old school also, not that I have something against the new type of covers. However, the letters cover some important parts of the art piece which is not very good in my opinion.

  4. I'm very excited about Sanderson's new book and I say, the bigger the better! I'm also not too enthusiastic about the covers though. I'm not one of those people that pay too much attention to book covers but this is one that I would probably ignore in the bookstore because it looks so generic, if I didn't know that it was Sanderson's book. I do think the black and white version below looks more dramatic.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...