Reimagining El i Monpress
Lauren Panepinto, Orbit’s creative director, on the thinking behind creating new art for Rachel Aaron’s The Legend of Eli Monpress Orbit commissioned Sam Weber to illustrate the cover of The Legend of Eli Monpress. “Sam does great character portraits,” says Lauren Panepinto. “We wanted him to capture the main character, who’s very funny, arch and roguish. A lot of our illustrators are good at character design, but Sam is also very good at conveying emotion.” Rachel has since written a fourth book.
Orbit’s brief asked for some humour, romance and epicness – but not
too much of each.
“Sam came back with those initial thumbnails within a week. We thought it was dynamic to have the protagonist in this Spider-Man-esque pose, which conveys a sense of fun. He looks a bit more heroic in some of the other sketches.”
“We put two of Sam’s sketches together and flipped things around so it looked like he was leaping off. I quickly Photoshopped them together at our cover meeting. Sam mostly works traditionally, so we needed to factor that into the timescale.”
“We knew we would need to put colour in the type as Sam’s style uses very muted backgrounds. We gave the type less character, however, as the illustration does all the work. This edition really breathed new life into the series.” “I sent Sam the manuscript and a physical description of the character. Humorous but not too humorous, epic but not too epic, romantic but not for a romance book. These thumbs came out of his imagination – he really nailed the attitude.”