The Art of TKK: Cover Painting

For those familiar with earlier books in the Realm of Tah’afajien series, the cover for Book 3 falls in line, layout-wise, with Book 2, where the image is features a major character and a prominent location in the story. This time around, the focus fell on Marianus O’mas and the Moa’rehnzan capital city of Gran’rehnza.


In truth, the painting did not end up how I originally intended it to be. As you can tell by the unfinished painting (see image on right), I originally considered illustrating O’mas as more than just an image of his face. There was a stylistic choice to model the scene after photographs of Vietnam War. When I started mocking up the book cover, though, I realized this arrangement would cause more trouble to fit into the series’ cover template than it was worth.

With the cityscape already near completion, I didn’t want to scrap the entire painting. Instead, I scrubbed the paint already on the board and went back to the proverbial drawing board. In the end, I channeled a little Bill Sienkiewicz while putting the portrait together.

Below is the final piece.

As the book cover. You’ll notice I flipped the artwork around to fit the same design standards from the other books (portrait on top, landscape on the bottom).

Another thing of note: I originally wanted the background color to be green but once I saw the assembled artwork in Photoshop, I realized that it was too much. I instead, on the suggestion of my wife, went with bronze.

Background photography by Trần Anh Tuấn on Unsplash.