Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Process of Building Kilroy

Hey fellow space adventurers! I thought it would be fun to share some of the original art from my book. Early sketches from the beginning of the process, if you will!

When I write, I often have a blurry image of the character in my head. A sort of cloudy, half-formed creature that floats around in my brain. Because of this, I often try to get an artist on-board early in the process, so I can SEE the character more clearly. It's amazing how helpful seeing your characters can help with with your writing (at least for me).

Today, I'm going to share with you the early sketches of one of the main villains of my book. His name is Kilroy... and he's a pretty scary dude.

Kilroy is a culmination of everything that scared me as a kid. He is the boogeyman. He is Death. He is doubt. He is all the things I fear. I wanted the artist to capture all of that in one defining image. 
(Yeah, def not an easy task.)

Early on, I worked with the talented artist, John Zarate-Khus. John has a military background, and is also a huge fan of D&D - the best of both worlds when needing to come up with the scariest monster in the galaxy! 
(He's also one of the genuinely nicest men I ever had the pleasure of knowing. No joke. He did NOT pay me to say that!) 

We discussed all my ideas for Kilroy. Born on an alien planet, Kilroy lead a normal life. But, a horrible accident took his life, or so they say. Repaired and brought back to life by his heart-broken, master-tinkerer father, Kilroy grew to hate his easily damaged flesh and organs, and would stay up late into the night repairing himself. His father grew concerned about his sons odd behavior, and intervened. Kilroy lashed out at his father, murdering him in a fit of rage, then fled his planet.  

Kilroy would go on to become the bane of all life in the galaxy. A lose cannon, and leader of a rag-tag group of misfit robots calling themselves "The Life-Enders."

There were a few specific things Kilroy would need - 'Three Eyes' and sharp metal protruding from his body. I also wanted wires and hoses to criss-cross his body. A gross maw. Veins. Ect.

John nailed it right from the get-go.

I was creeped out already!

I also wanted the art in the book to look sketched. The main character in the book, Dean Kilmer, would often be sketching these images on the fly, so they would need to be a bit rough and even partially finished at times.

We were cooking now!

Things were going great! better than I could ever imagine! 

But John's journey with Kilroy had to end here. I thanked John for lending me his amazing skills, drank a strong root-beer in his honor, and continued the journey alone.

Until I met Adam Barutis!

I gave Adam the amazing sketches of Kilroy and - with John's blessing - moved forward on defining Kilroy into the full-size, killer cyborg-monster in the book.

Adam took the bust John had created and added a full body to the beast. 

 Kilroy has a body!

 At first, I was torn about having a full body, and near finished, version of Kilroy. But, as I thought it through, it actually helped to drive the story. Dean had a very logical reason for taking his time with this sketch. His life may depend on it!  

Adam fine tuned the idea, give it a 'sketchy look', then handed me the final image we used in the book. 

 THIS is Kilroy.

In the end, it was fitting that Kilroy would end up being a culmination of 3 minds. A mash-up of ideas... just like the character I had dreamed up from the very beginning. 

Coincidence? Well, yes... of course it was. But still cool!

It's a strange thing to look into the eyes of your own creation -  something I wouldn't be able to do without the amazing talent of two men...

John Zarate-Khus
Adam Barutis. 

Don't Eat the Grot!

all rights reserved to: Tig Carson.

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