Cover artist needs our help

OK!  Asyouknowbob, David Mattingly will be doing the cover art for Dragon in Exile.

Today, he wrote to us asking for help with descriptions.  Most of them, Steve and I will need to do, since the characters/situations are unique to this novel


He also needs physical descriptions of Val Con and Miri, who have been described many times in. . .books that David hasn’t read, because — while he’s illustrated five novels for us, he started, as it were, with Theo.

So this is your chance to go through the Liaden books that have already been published and find your favorite description of Miri and of Val Con.

Gentlefolk!  Start your engines!


7 thoughts on “Cover artist needs our help”

  1. I have been compiling some of the descriptions for my own artistic purposes.

    Val Con:
    Slender young man, carriage smooth and easy, 5’5″
    Dark brown hair, thick and glossy
    Deep-set green eyes (luminous, alight)
    Quirking eyebrows, straight brows
    Lean cheeks, high-cheeked
    Pointed chin
    Golden face
    Wide mouth, generous

    5’2″, slender build
    Straight red hair (copper colored), braid around the head like a crown, or down below waist
    Freckles across small, snubbed nose
    Grey eyes, direct, expressive, beautiful
    Willful, intelligent face, all sharp angles
    Square chin, willful
    Full mouth

    I think these are mostly from Agent of Change and Carpe Diem

  2. Susan Krinard’s painting of Val Con and Miri? I always refer to those images in my head when reading any Liaden story containing them…

  3. Great compilation, Janis. I think the braid crown is better for portraying Miri, since presumably you don’t want a bed or bath scene.

  4. Janis, I first read “full mouth” as “foul mouth,” realized my mistake and then thought “foul mouth” also sort of works for Miri! — though it’s harder to visually represent. 🙂

  5. I’ve only just discovered your blog, though I’ve been a fan since Conflict of Honors was new. Maybe my response comes too late, but I’ll post this anyway. Speaking both as an artist and an artist’s model, personality, if known to the artist, can find its way into a portrait, so I’d like to offer more complete descriptions.From Agent of Change:
    Ten minutes later he was toweling himself dry: a slender young man with straight dark hair and green eyes set deep in a high-cheeked, golden face. He finger-combed his hair and went quickly into the bedroom, shoulders level, carriage smooth and easy. He dressed in dark leather trousers and vest, cloth shirt, and high, soft boots; ran the wide belt around his waist and checked the holstered pellet gun. The most important blade he slid into his left sleeve; the throwing knife went into the sheath at the back of his neck. The belt pouch contained sufficient funds and convincing papers; he snapped it shut and looked around.

    She hadn’t expected such a little guy to weigh so much, though at that he was bigger than she was. Everybody was bigger than she was.

    She saw high cheeks curving smoothly to a pointed chin, a generous mouth, straight brows above the shuttered eyes, thick, glossy hair tumbling across a smooth golden forehead—a boy’s face, though the papers claimed thirty Standards for him.

    Absently, she unpinned the braid wrapped around her head and began to unweave it, eyes sharp on the still figure of the man.

    She was sitting cross-legged on the blasted tiles, weaving her copper-colored hair into one long braid. Her leathers were dark, like his own; her white shirt was loosely laced with silver cord. A black scarf was tied around one forearm, and the gun strapped to her thigh looked acceptably deadly.

    He regarded her blandly, noting the set of her shoulders and the deceptively gentle motion of her hands as she braided her hair, and recalling her efficiency during the fire-fight. The Loop indicated that he could take her—if he had to. But he’d have to kill her to be sure; she meant business, and no simple rush to disable would suffice.

    She grinned again. “Tough guy.” It seemed a term of admiration. She finished her braid, put a knot at the end, and flipped the length behind her shoulder, one slender hand coming to rest on her gun.

    The Juntavas don’t know who you are—what kind of description can they have? That you’re short? Skinny? Dark?”

    The long lashes dropped over his eyes…

    She grinned. “Short, I guess. Skinny, maybe. Brown hair—needs to be cut. Green eyes. Male.” She bit her lip and looked Liz full in the face. “Liaden.”

    He offered her a smile. “Look at you. Everyone knows Liadens are short, small compared with other humans; that the heartbeat is a fraction off, the blood count a trifle different . . . .” She shrugged, and the smile she returned him was real. “Mutated within acceptable limits. Says so in my papers.”

    “You really do need a haircut.” The adrenal rush had left him drained, a little shaky, but curiously at ease. He flashed a quick grin. “I find that suggestion hard to take seriously from someone whose own hair falls well below her waist.” “I like it long.” “And you a soldier!” “Yeah, but, you see, my commander told me never to cut it. Just following orders!”

    She was dressed in a dark blue gown that sheathed her like a second skin in some places, and flowed loose and elegant, like a fall of midnight waters, in others. On the right side, her hair was arranged in a complex knot through which was thrust a slender, gleaming stick; the rest of the copper mass was allowed to fall free. Her throat was bare, as was one arm; her hands were innocent of rings. He stood as she approached Edger, and faded back toward his own room as she made her bow. “Yes, my youngest of sisters,” the T’carais boomed, recognizing her immediately. “That color becomes you—it sets off the flame of your hair. A wise choice, indeed.”

    He was beautiful, Miri saw. The dark leathers were gone, replaced by a wide-sleeved white shirt, banded tight at the wrists, lacy ruffles half-concealing slender hands. There was lace at his throat, and his trousers were dark burgundy, made of some soft material that cried out to be stroked. A green drop hung in his right ear, and a gold and green ring was on his left hand. The dark hair gleamed silken in the room’s buttery light. He bowed to her and offered the box he carried. “I am sorry to have offended you.” “It’s okay.” She took the box and cautiously lifted the lid. Inside shone a necklace of silver net, holding a single stone of faceted blue, and a silver ring in the shape of an improbable serpent, clutching its jaws tight around a stone of matching blue.

    Physical descriptions of the two human members of the party scrolled into place. “‘Male, brown hair, green eyes, slender build, approximately five-five, age eighteen to twenty-five. Female, red hair, gray eyes, slender build, approximately five-two, age eighteen to twenty-five.'” He straightened, pushing the screen back where it belonged. “This is armed and dangerous? Ain’t neither one of ’em big enough to pick up a gun, much less use it.

    What about the kids?” “Pretty couple. He’s dark. She’s a redhead. Not orange,” he elaborated surprisingly. “Kind of a reddish brown.” “Auburn.” “Yeah, auburn. Little thing. Seem to be having a good time—all six of ’em. Million laughs.”

    Two humans: She, pale-skinned and tiny, the blue of her dress feeding the flame of her hair; he, dark and in no way large, casual in the fine white shirt, as if these were the clothes he always wore. Charlie saw him lean close to speak into her ear. She laughed and raised her glass to drink. Armed and dangerous? Charlie thought. Fat chance.

    His companion was a tiny woman, dressed in what seemed to be well-used leather clothing of the sort worn by laborers on space vessels or mercenary soldiers. Her hair was red, braided and wrapped around her head like a gaudy copper crown.

    Jason’s eyes lit on the little man in dark leathers, noting the gun belted for a crossdraw from the right, but seeing no other hardware. The stranger was slender, though with a certain whippiness about him that said he’d do well for himself, hand-to-hand. A fighter, and no nonsense. The sort of person one would want at Redhead’s back. He shifted his attention to the beardless golden face, encountering eyes as warm and cuddlesome as shards of green glass: Jealous, then.

    “Two kids,” Costello said, picking up the thread of his story. “Boy about—oh, twenty, twenty-five; dark brown hair, green eyes, thin. Girl—pretty little girl—eighteen, or maybe twenty; red hair, gray eyes. Thought you might’ve seen them,” he repeated.

    He had never seen her face at rest before; he noted the slim brows that curved above the lightly lashed eyes, and the spangle of freckles across her nose, spilling here and there onto her cheeks. Her full mouth was smiling faintly, as if what she dreamed pleased her. Beautiful Miri, he thought and was surprised at the thought, even as he extended a hand to stroke her cheek.

    She flicked her eyes to his face and discovered no trace of last night’s horror. He returned her gaze calmly, his eyes a clear and bottomless green.

    Miri was walking ahead, allowing him a fine view of her strong, slender shape and the tantalizing hint of sway to her hips. It was a sight that gave him delight, which was not of itself surprising.

    He dropped his face to her warm, bright hair, rubbing cheek and forehead in its wonderful softness, rumpling her bangs and half unmooring her braid.

    –I will do additional books if you say you want me to.

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