I can’t believe that this book is finally out. When George Martin asked me way back in the winter of 2001 if I wanted to illustrate one of his books I never thought that it would take quite this long. But, after years and years of stop and start work, the limited edition of the third volume of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy epic, A Storm of Swords has finally landed. This rather lengthy gestation can only be blamed on me and my desire to make a beautiful book. Storm is so damn huge (almost a thousand pages in length without the art!) that the publisher decided to divide it into two volumes, each with it’s own dust jacket art and both contained within a lovely foil stamped slipcase. All told, I completed almost 70 b/w illustrations, four interior color plates and the two cover paintings for the project. That’s a lot of drawings!! But It looks great and it feels splendid to at long last hold the book in my hands. Here’s the art for both dust jackets.
And here are a few of the black and whites:
This is the title page art for the second volume of the massive tome.
And here is the second of two endpaper designs:
There were four interior color plates, this is one of them.
Working on such a massive project as this takes a lot out of you as an artist. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of such a project is the need to remain consistent with your artistic voice. You certainly don’t want any reader to be saying to themselves, “Oh well, Vess really wasn’t interested in drawing that scene!” Another concern is my desire to collaborate with that same reader in a sense and allow them to visualize certain aspects of the book however they would like, so I had to pick and choose which scenes I drew with care. Retaining all the myriad details of each characters appearance, conceptualizing the vast geography of Martin’s landscape as well as sustaining your artistic interest over such a long run is fraught with pit falls. I found that I had to escape every once in a while to execute the occasional one-off cover painting or some other short term project. The lure of being able to begin and end a project in a relatively short space of time is very tantalizing when faced with the years that it took to complete the Storm book. I always found that when I returned to the project I could approach my drawing with a fresh sense of excitement. Fortunately for me (and for you!) Martin’s writing is compelling and his storytelling abilities are excellent so it was always easy to dive back into his world.
I’ve been informed that there are now only 60 copies of the numbered edition left, so you might want to pay Subterranean Press a visit: