This third part in the deconstructing Armageddon series, takes a topic discussed on a forum I belong to, The Fifthwind http://thekreggorian.com/forum/. Here I've fleshed out some of the thoughts I had then.I think the difference in writing flow from straight forward writing to doing combined illustrations with writing is certainly up to the author, but I can definetely state my own preferences and experience. There were definitely times during writing that I decided to cut down on the amount of description going into characters because I knew that they'd be depicted in an illustration, or already had been. This wasn't a rule by any means, and because several of the illustrations get done after the writing is done, I don't always know that I'll have an illustration for that part of the book. When it comes to clean up and cutting though, I definitely can scrap descriptive passages a little harder than your typical non-illustrated novel. Its just one of the benefits of being an artist as well.
As for timing of when drawings are done, I work on illustrations before writing, during writing, and finish up the remaining ones after writing -- all for different purposes.The ones I do before the writing help with the visualization of characters and (sometimes) places. I do this mostly for my own benefit when I'm writing about any of said character's. I get a feel for who the character is when I'm drawing them, based on the design of their armor, clothing, hair, skin, and body type etc. Many of the drawings I begin with have been done in rough form, from anywhere between 20 and 5 years ago. I clean these up and color some of them, and ultimately put them in the book as well, but its for a visual aid to myself more than anything at this point (I also like to have teaser art to post on my Deviantart site http://moonshaft.deviantart.com ).
The illustrations done during the writing process, are done to keep me from getting burnt out, and done in more of a production mode to ensure I can get them all completed. There have been several times where some of these drawings depicted a particular scene and I modified the book to capture or align with the illustration. A lot of background/landscape type illustration gets done at this point as I decide there's a place that should really be visually depicted. I'll have a site written in the book that I can work from, or hand to another illustrator even (I don't do a lot of background stuff myself, as there's others who are WAY better), and then I can take the tiny details that show up in the illustration and go back to the passage where I described it and make it feel more real with those details.
And at last, I do illustrations after the ms is completed as well. Part of this is because there's just so many illustrations! The other part is because I now have secondary characters that need a visual depiction that I never had drawn before, or because there's specific scenes that I'd like shown. Its at this point that I have a solid idea of how many illustrations I'll need for the page count also.
In Armageddon - The Battle of Darkening Skies, there are over 130 illustrations in both greyscale and black and white lineart. If you weren't aware, I began work on the Armageddon Online Card Game (which is still in production) a short while before I began work on the novel. Because of that, I had closer to 350-400 illustrations that were created for the Armageddon OCCG, but a good number of those simply didn't fit in the story of the first book. I had intended to ask the publisher to help pay for some additional freelance work to help pay colorists so that the first book had more illustrations, but my publisher, Eloquent Books, isn't a publisher who has the resources to do that sort of thing, and so I settled on a lesser amount for this first book. Will I do more for the second book, The White Steel Peaks? I'd sure like to. I fully intend to, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
Thank you all who give this blog an occassional read. I had my first comment post the other day and was glad for that! It means someone's reading at least, and that's all that matters. Have a great night everyone.