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Illustrating WIFI

When creating the world of WIFI, I had clear images of the characters in my mind. Whilst putting these ideas into words was easy, illustrating them was a different ball game. Thankfully I had the assistance of Frederique Lebon whose artwork is featured on the cover of the book.

Porto the goblin activist, Ellery East, Prince Derrick
Sketches by Frederique Lebon

Frederique Lebon was born in Reunion Island and studied arts. She moved to France in recent years, studying art and design in the prestigious university, ECV Bordeaux.

Frederique became instrumental in the creation of the cover for WIFI. She had the ability to bring my characters to life. She has a keen eye with a great dark tone to her work that seemed to suite my modern day fairy tale. However, the process of creating the ideal cover would take some considerable time.

I had already provided some clear notes for myself when creating the characters’ looks in the story. To make things easier for myself I had a small notepad full of character bios and personality traits. These notes were useful when I wrote what the characters wore or their physical appearances such as ears or nose.

Thankfully, many creatures featured in the book were already well established visually in the public domain. However, I had decided to take some of the existing mythologies in the public domain but placed my own spin on what they would look like. For example, I wanted my goblins to be green and I wanted them to be an array of different sizes. I looked at existing stories involving goblins and they tended to be small and wrinkled. I wanted to expand past this established mythology and add another dimension to goblins.

When I began WIFI, I had my large notebook that I often referred to full of notes regarding the characters’ traits or appearances. This included the landscapes and even historical facts that never made it into the book. I was able to put all of these visuals into my writing but I knew I would not be able to illustrate the work.

I had attempted to draw some maps to make sure the character’s journey through United-Evora was coherent. Unfortunately, my artwork is very questionable. I have never had the best handwriting and my ability to draw and paint is rather limited but I was very lucky to have someone to assist me in this department. Needless to say without Frederique I would not have the beautiful artwork to accompany my story.

It was during the early days of editorial work that I realised I would need a cover for WIFI. Once more I had an idea in my mind yet lacked the tools to execute the ideas. Thankfully, I had somebody in mind to assist me. Frederique Lebon had finished her Masters in art and design in ECV Bordeaux when I approached her about cover-work for WIFI.

Early Goblin concepts by Frederique Lebon

Frederique sent me over a rough draft of the cover and I was happy to see my vision come to life. I quickly sent over the manuscript of WIFI for her to read. After she had finished reading the book Frederique started sending me some drawings of the main characters. Ellery East had several different examples to choose from and different designs were made of the outfits.

It was interesting because some illustrations really did look like my character had come to life. Admittedly there where a few variations that did not match my vision, in these instances we would have lengthy meetings to decide on the correct version for the book.

Ellery East early concept by Frederique Lebon.
This outfit was later modified as I felt it was not reflective of the outfit in the book.
Ellery East early concept idea by Frederique Lebon

Initially, I had planned to have WIFI illustrated, but once the manuscript was being house-styled I found the book did not require the illustrations. Although Frederique’s work is only featured on the cover of the book you can see many of her illustrative works on my website.

Published inWIFI

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