Juggling deadlines

In my effort to meet publishing deadlines, right now I’m having to constantly juggle multiple jobs and this week was a Stardust week. Its been almost 10 years since I completed 175 paintings for the initial edition of the book but now the fallout from the movie has brought me back to that visual world. Besides a new hardcover edition of the actual book, Paramount Studios is asking for art to use on their promotional website and Titan Publishing is producing a ‘Making of…’ the movie book and they also want some art from me. After a bit of mental adjustment and a quick re-read of the text I was happily conceptualizing scenes that for either deadline or textual reasons I wasn’t able to complete the first time around. Here are a few.


I was really happy to get a chance to re-conceptualize the Village of Wall as I thought that my earlier depictions of the place were far to ‘normal’. Neil’s descriptions spoke of a ancient village with one building built on top of another and all of them leaning into each other in an effort to remain upright and defy gravity. So this time, I think I got it. What do you think?


In a later part of the book Tristran and Evaine have a series of adventures that are tersely narrated by Neil one right after the other. Here (Pg#168 of the trade edition) our adventurers are concerned with the great, tawny eagle that attacks them in Berinhed’s Forest.

Both of these images as well as 4 others will eventually be fully painted and used as the last six plates in the deluxe set of Stardust prints that my Green Man Press has been issuing for the last several years.

This is the inked art for one of these scenes before I start applying washes of colored inks.
Evaine sits amidst a moonlite forest glade, singing to her sisters, the eternal stars in a ” beautiful melody, plangent and strange.”

All in all, there will be 24 pages of supplemental art and text in this new edition, loads of never seen before art. One of the images is a starting point that Neil has for a far-in-our-publishing-future sequel to the novel. In it Tristran is decending into Hell in, of all things, a hot air balloon. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing this new work.


10 Responses to “Juggling deadlines”

  1. Oliver says:

    Wow…I’m really happy to see Stardust revisited. Seeing your works, and Stardust in particular several years ago, helped direct me down the path I’m taking.

  2. stardustgirl says:

    I like the movie already if only for the fact that it means there is new Stardust art. I think Wall looks exactly like it’s described, and I love that last picture with all the wee tiny things in it.

    The new issue of Faerie magazine showed up today – nice article! Where is the fountain going to be located? I remember where the theatre is but don’t remember any large-ish empty spots.


  3. Charles Vess says:


    I’ve heard from Stephen Jones in the UK, the writer of the ‘Making of…’ the movie book that Titan will be publishing. He wrote to tell me that he had seen a rough cut of the entire film last week and simply said, “You and Neil have nothing to worry about.” Great news but I wish that I could have been there too! But still, cross yours fingers and send happy stardusty thoughts Matthew’s way, okay?

    I thought that the article on me (which features loads of full color art) in the latest Faerie Magazine came off rather well. There is also a long ass interview in the next issue of ‘The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts’ wherein I wax philosophical. Lots of talk with only two images. Take you pick.


  4. Casey Jones says:

    Wow, that new drawing of the Village of Wall turned out great! Very ambitious shot!

    I’m curious… do your pencils “live on” after you’ve scanned them in, or do you ink and paint directly on the original pencils? They look so nice… thank goodness for large format scanners!


  5. stardustgirl says:


    Fingers, toes and other parts crossed for Matthew (not eyes though…too hard to type). I couldn’t afford to do Comic Con this year so haven’t seen any of it other than the still shots on the web. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    I have the reprints of the new and upcoming Stardust books on the book reference pages, but not “The Making Of” yet since I don’t have any ISBN info or thumbnail for it. If you or Stephen Jones have any info on it and would like it up there now, let me know. I didn’t find anything on Titan’s site, nor Amazon.

    I google’d for some info on that fountain and found a few images. Wow! I can’t wait to see that when it’s finished. I’d say “don’t work too hard” but I can see it’s already too late…


  6. Charles Vess says:

    Casey, I usually draw everything right on the actual board that I will be painting on. Over the years I’ve found that if I somehow attain the ‘perfect’ gestural figure, trying to redraw it on another sheet of paper is almost always a disaster. So to avoid that particular frustration everything is done in one, so to speak. However these particular drawings are much more finished than usual as DC will be printing directly from these renderings in the new edition as I really couldn’t paint all of them in time for their deadline.

    Maureen, I’ll be posting the concept drawings for the fountain as well as photos of David Spence and I sculpting it, as progress develops on that particular project.


  7. isobel says:

    It´s been 8 years since I last read Stardust. At the time I wasn’t able to afford it, and I borrowed from a friend. I got really amazed by the drawings and I remember getting a little envy, wishing I could work in something like that too.
    8 years later and I’ll buy my own.
    And the cool thing about it, is that I’ll read and see almost as if it was the first time, so I’m controlling myself not to buy before this new edition gets printed ^.^ Ansiously waiting the new one! :)

  8. hollybird says:

    Hi Charles —

    The new Stardust drawings really add to the previous and the dizzying perspective on the Village of Wall nails Gaiman’s description perfectly. Great to see new Stardust work coming!

    Just wondering: I thought I had heard you mention that you were using FW acrylic inks for drawing and washes. Are you using FW on your initial outlining stage in brown and are you finding that their new “water resistant” formula runs when dry and painted over with washes? Or are you using another brand altogether?


  9. Charles Vess says:


    Good to hear from you!

    I’m using a combination of several FW inks for my outlines, a mixture of Sepia Brown with Black and watering it down a bit. So far it seems to be working quite well, with little or no dissolving once I start layering my colors. I did, however, just spill my bottle of the ‘perfect’ mixture so, it seems, that I’ll have to start from scratch all over again.

    So it goes…

  10. hollybird says:

    Well, whaddya know!

    After your FW endorsement above, I tried again and did a little experiment. My bottle of burnt umber stayed resistant to washes but the black started smudging again. It now turns out I actually have a bum bottle of black FW acrylic ink (it’s only a few months old). I just bought a new one and my watercolor washes went right over it with no problems.

    Thanks very much for the info, Charles, and I’ll try your color mixing & thinning strategy as well.


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