Exclusive Preview of A Memory of Light
Wheel of Time fans at Dragon*Con 2012 were treated to a special preview reading by Brandon Sanderson of A Memory of Light, the final book in the epic Wheel of Time fantasy series!
Brandon gave the audience a sneak peek at Chapter 11 , which featured Mat Cauthon returning to some old Ebou Dari stomping grounds. But how does one sneak into a city when an entire Empire is looking for you? Mat’s whereabouts weren’t the only thing that Sanderson revealed about A Memory of Light.
The second video is a Q & A with Brandon, Maria and Jenn Liang.
How excited are we for January 2013?!
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I must admit I’m not a pro comic book collector, though I’ve always had a fascination for their stories and, most especially, the talent and craft involved in creating such works of art. It was no surprise that, when I stumbled upon a very gracious and talented graphic novel artist on Twitter—Paul Taylor—I immediately fell in love with his work Wapsi Square. Paul describes his books as “cute and macabre,” and though they are humorous and somewhat dark and fantastical, what I love the most is Paul’s understanding and depiction of women. They’re role models. They’re fun. They’re smart. They’re fearless. They’re sexy. And yes, they’re badass.
Here’s my interview with Paul Taylor (who is pretty badass himself).
So, you are the creator of the Wapsi Square comic. How did that get started?
Originally, Monica and Dietzel were going to be the characters in a short stop-action film that I wanted to make. I had the simple story, the 16mm film equipment, and I was in the process of making the stop-action puppets. It was a very labor-intensive process for just myself and in the process; the characters began growing more and more in complexity and background. Beyond my control, Monica and Dietzel were taking on a larger life as well as a circle of friends that were growing well beyond the scope of me ever being able to do in animation. My wife was the one who suggested to me to do my stories as a graphic novel as well as publishing them online.
What made you decide to use strong, central female characters, and how has that impacted you and your audience?
Most of my friends growing up were female. For some reason, I seemed to connect better with girls/women than boys/men and just being so comfortable around them, I got to hear their side of things, their complaints, insecurities, etc, and I believe that give the foundation for my writing. Also, I knew all too well about being picked on for being skinny, something that I really had no control over, so I wasn’t the one to pick on others. In jr. high, with some of the gals being early bloomers, I wasn’t throwing the taunts at them like other boys and girls were doing. In turn, it seemed like I ended up with busty female friends.
I feel that my relationship and understanding with my female friends carries over in my writing and characters and female Wapsi readers appreciate this. At conventions, it seems that better than half the folks coming to my table tend to be gals.
Tell us more about the Wapsi Girl Project and what inspired you to set that up?
The Wapsi Girl Project cam about after receiving several emails from female readers and talking with female fans at conventions and how much the girls of Wapsi Square meant to them. They would see something of themselves in one or more of the cast, feel a connection from something a character was going though, or just feeling inspired by how a character had overcome an obstacle. I felt that each of the fans’ stories were every bit as relevant, if not more-so, as anything that the cast members were going through, and it seemed appropriate to give them their own venue to help inspire one another.
What made you decide to be an artist?
It wasn’t as much of a decision as it has always felt like the right path. As early as I can remember, I was interested in drawing to express myself.
Describe your style and the materials you use, and how you found your nitch.
I do as much work as I can analog until preparing the image for the digital realm. I do a lot of sketching on newsprint with soft-lead pencils, when I get images that I like, these are scanned into Photoshop, arranged, re-sized, and formed to be like the finished comic. I print this out and then on to the light box where I transfer the image to Bristol with blue pencil. After that step the comic is inked and scanned back into Photoshop where tone is added, backgrounds are layered in and a font of my own handwriting goes into the word balloons.
As for my nitch, be it the style of my work, how I work, or the nitch of the story, I have to say it was completely organic.
What artists or people have inspired you throughout your career, and how?
Frank Frazetta is one of the main inspirations for combining my love of the cartoony with the realm of the macabre.
What words of advice would you give a comic book artist that’s just starting out?
Oh goodness, that is a tough one. First and foremost, you need to enter into the world of comics and graphic novels because you have a story to tell. Not because you think it’ll be cool or you want to strike it rich. You’ll come out with a derivative work that will soon suck all the energy from you and eventually you’ll give up. One has to be a bit nuts to do this for a living and also have the discipline to keep going. The main reason you keep moving forward is because if you stopped, the stories and characters would be nagging at you so bad, you’d have to write and draw just to quiet them for a moment.
Time to brag! You won an award – what was it for and what went through your mind when you found out?
That’s the weird part, I hadn’t even known that I was nominated and several of my readers emailed me to congratulate me for being in the running for the 2009 Lulu Award for Best Female Character. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. Here there were, what felt to me, much more established graphic novel characters and then my odd little creation Monica. Her fans really pulled together and she did indeed win. I was equally humbled and floored at the same time.
If you could have a dream skill or superhero power, what would it be and why?
I think that I’d love to have the ability to teleport and take whatever or whoever that I’m touching, minus taking the ground, with me. I think it would make visiting other places quite fun.
What do you do for fun (besides art)?
I am a huge scary movie fan, not gory slasher films where all those idiot college kids do everything in the book one shouldn’t do when in whatever situation they end up in. I still think that the original b&w “The Haunting” is one of the scarier films made and the South Korean film “Janghwa, Hongryeon” (“A Tale of Two Sisters”) is by far the creepiest. Give me a nice dark theater and a good scary movie and that is my roller coaster.
Did anyone ever give you a piece of advice that, looking back, helped shape your career or life?
“Duck!” No, seriously, I’d have to say it was a bit of advice regarding characters, unfortunately, I don’t remember who said it. “Learn to listen to your characters and don‘t try to speak for them. Let them tell the story, they‘re the ones that know it best.”.
Where were you born?
On an Air Force base in Texas.
Where did you grow up?
Dubuque, Iowa. This was a town that held importance as to whether or not you were born there, who you knew and if you were involved in sports. Needless to say for multiple reasons, I didn’t fit in there.
What’s your favorite color?
What food do you dislike the most?
That’s easy. Meatloaf.
Where you can find Paul
He’s also selling his books here!
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I’m a huge fantasy fan, and though I must commend many series writers for their attempt at adapting some of our favorite novels into episodic television, the end result (for most) is generally, well, cheesy. They err on the side of good prevailing (in every episode), yet they fail to venture into the depths of pain, suffering, violence and seeming hopelessness in story lines. Often the dialogue doesn’t come close to matching the original writer’s brilliance. (Then there are the special effects… sigh).
Late last year when I found out that HBO, the television network that gave us True Blood, Rome and many other sagas filled with blood, murder, deception and betrayal, was about to embark on bringing George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (the first book from A Song of Ice and Fire series) to television, I couldn’t be happier. Will they finally get it right?
With production announcements pouring in daily, the new series creeps closer into our purview and spring 2011 can’t come soon enough. Here are some highlights so far, starting with our favorite topic: Art!
Costumes & Set (new!)
Costume designer Michele Clapton shares the process of creating Westeros garb.
Artisan Gemma Jackson on the Castle Black Lift
Some oldies but goodies (if you haven’t seen them):
Behind The Scenes Featurette
George R.R. Martin (the author of “A Game Of Thrones”), the executive producers and the cast talk about what to expect in HBO’s new dramatic series.
Game of Thrones teasers
True, they don’t show much!
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SPOILER ALERT: Parts 2 & 3 include the same spoilers the trailer does.
The Wheel of Time is my favorite fantasy series ever. I’ve dreamed about being part of the world Robert Jordan began back in 1984, whether it was being immersed in one of the enormous novels, making a fun costume or getting to meet Jordan himself to attest my love for his incredible work of political, epic fantasy.
Sadly, I never did get to meet Robert before he passed away in 2007; however, back in June (thanks to Twitter), I became pals with some of his most devoted followers. One of those fans was Jason Denzel, who created Dragonmount.com (@Dragonmount). After a lengthy phone call (or what I like to refer to as a total WOT geek out session!), Jason informed me that Tor, The Wheel of Time publishing company, had asked him to create something special to promote the release of book 13 Towers of Midnight: a book trailer. So, I jumped in the car and drove to Sacramento to capture this epic moment in Wheel of Time history.
Below are three Making of the Book Trailer features that I’ve created to showcase the story of this production, featuring clips from the trailer, behind the scenes photos and interviews with the cast and crew. Be sure to visit Dragonmount for the full feature write-up by Jason: A featured look at the making of the Towers of Midnight book trailer. And come find me on Twitter @Nedopak!
Part 1: The Making of the Book Trailer (no spoilers)
Part 2: Characters & Costumes (spoilers)
Part 3: Creating the Set, FX & The Tower of Genji (spoilers)
Sound Designer & Sound Mixer
Wheel of Time fan since 2002
I was particularly excited about creating a rumbling world of thunder for the trailer. Being a kid from the Northeast trapped in sunny Los Angeles has deprived me of years of thunder storms, and this was like therapy for me. Jason Denzel kept emailing me after each pass, “More thunder!” Building a world of sound from scratch around Kate Reading’s rich voice and the striking imagery on the screen was invigorating. My greatest challenge was creating the sound of Saidar. Tess and Jason both wanted it to be a holy sound. My first try sounded too much like thunder and was more fitting for Saidin; luckily Jason was very demanding and whipped me furiously until I got it right. A swirly sound of smooth glory made up of twenty tracks (one of which is me singing with my voice pitched up)!
I’m a huge fan of epic fantasy. I started reading The Wheel of Time while studying Tolkien at Oxford University in England in 2002. I finished Knife of Dreams just in time to shoot an interview and book signing video with Brandon in Pasadena during the release of The Gathering Storm.
Final Film: Towers of Midnight Book Trailer
Be sure to visit the official book trailer page on Dragonmount, where you can discuss it with fans!
Towers of Midnight: The Novel
Towers of Midnight will release in early November and is written by Brandon Sanderson (@BrandonSandrson), another incredible fantasy author who took over the WOT series after Jordan passed away (and is kicking some serious butt at it).
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Outta This World captured Brandon Sanderson reading the first few pages of “Distinctions,” the Towers of Midnight prologue, off his laptop during the TOM panel at Dragon*Con (2010). Towers of Midnight is book 13 in The Wheel of Time series. My apologies for the slightly shaky camera. This was completely impromptu!
This is only part of the prologue too! You can purchase the entire piece at Tor.com. Brandon Sanderson has also posted the the first Mat chapter from Towers of Midnight, “The Seven-Striped Lass,” on his website.
Videos: Towers of Midnight: The Making of the Book Trailer (3 parts)
Seamas designed the Tower of Genji in the Towers of Midnight book trailer and is famous for his Wheel of Time character renditions.
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Be sure to check out our other post with a VIDEO: Towers of Midnight Prologue read by Brandon Sanderson (Dragon*Con)
Ages come and go, but one thing is for certain: with the premiere of the incredible Towers of Midnight (ToM) book trailer that gave its audience chills; a reading of not one, but two scenes from the new novel by Brandon Sanderson himself; the unveiling of Todd Lockwood‘s epic eBook cover for The Gathering Storm; and the first official Dragon*Con sponsorship by Tor; this was one of the most exciting years for The Wheel of Time (WoT) fans in Atlanta.
Here are some of the highlights… so far!
Towers of Midnight book trailer premiere
Warning: Some spoilers!
The book trailer premiered during the Towers of Midnight panel on Saturday afternoon. Aside from many excited fans, panel speakers and attendees included Brandon Sanderson (Co-Author), Jason Denzel (Director of ToM book trailer, Dragonmount.com), Jennifer Liang (Director of WoT Programing, Dragonmount.com), Jake Ro (Dragon*Con staff) and Sarah Bernard (ToM actress, Moraine).
Visit Dragonmount.com for a complete list of credits.
Watch Outta This World’s non-spoiler cast and crew interviews discussing the making of the book trailer (two more episodes coming about characters/costumes and location/set).
Photos: Panels, book signing & fans
eBook cover discussions & unveiling of new art
The Gathering Storm cover art was unveiled at Dragon*Con and created by Todd Lockwood (below).
Tor Art Director Irene Gallo and Dragonmount’s Jason Denzel (below) led the discussion on eBook cover artwork, including how each cover was created, choosing the perfect scene, working with each artist and fan reactions. Tor often consulted with Denzel, who Gallo referred to as her Associate Art Director, on each book cover’s scene choice. “Jason has helped me understand the emotional impact of each scene,” comments Gallo.
Each book cover goes through several rounds of reviews and changes to get it “just right.” For example, The Path of Daggers cover shows only three Aes Sedai instead of the thirteen that appear around the Bowl of the Winds in the book. “We’re always trying to split the balance between the storyline vs. a very visual scene,” Gallo adds. She felt the cover would appear crowded with all thirteen women.
Fan responses range dramatically from good to bad. Some absolutely loved Mélanie Delon’s A Crown of Swords cover with Lan rescuing Nyneve, while others disliked it. With The Path of Daggers cover, Gallo says fans went crazy over the womens’ appearance. “There was a lot of hair debate,” she says. Denzel responded, “There was a lot of boob debate!” It goes to show WoT fans care.
Denzel wasn’t the only one who helped during the process. Harriet McDougal, Editor, described exactly what some of the characters should look like. “It’s really tight curls, like a poodle, ” she once said about Perrin’s hair.
Gallo has provided several write-ups describing the process of creating each cover with a purpose of engaging The Wheel of Time community. “It’s not a magical process,” she says. You can find links to the entire collection of eBook covers, along with Gallo’s write-ups as to how each was created, on Dragonmount.com.
Be sure to check out our other Dragon*Con post here: Dragon*Con 2010 Photos: Parade, Costume Contest & Hallway Mania
- Towers of Midnight Prologue read by Brandon Sanderson (Dragon*Con)
- Towers of Midnight: The Making of the Book Trailer (part 1)
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Reports are flooding in that Peter Jackson will indeed direct The Hobbit in a two-movie deal, and I know I’m not the only Lord of the Rings fan who is jumping for joy at the news. Yet before we see this world once more through Jackson’s eyes, let’s take a peek at what artists have been doing for years: creating incredible art depicting Tolkien’s beloved world and characters.
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When I tell people I’m a huge fantasy nerd and frequent reader, the first question that comes up is, “have you read the The Wheel of Time series?” My lightning-quick response is, “Hells yeah!” (Note: I generally salivate by just thinking of these books). If my boyfriend happens to be around when the question arises, he’ll laugh because he knows just how much I obsess over this series. Picture he and I hanging in our back yard, drinking coffee, and discussing our passions. He talks cars and I talk WOT (when I’m in midst of reading the series). The two of us usually have no idea what the other is talking about, though I did finally get him to read Eye of the World.
After my brother-in-law turned me onto the series years ago, I’ve read (or shall I say listened to; I do books on mp3) each one of the first eleven books several times. Book 12 just came out, so I’ve only got one read in. I want to go on record right now to say that The Wheel of Time is arguably the best epic fantasy series of all time. It combines everything I adore about good stories: fantasy, magic, mythical and dangerous creatures, and two major topics I think every good fantasy series should have: politics and a struggle for power. Yes, yes, I’ve read The Lord of the Rings series too, and oddly found the books a little slow. Perhaps it’s because I watched the movies first and they are brilliant on so many levels.
Haven’t read this series? Robert Jordan has been writing WOT since 1984 until his death. (Yes, I cried when I heard the news!) At that point Brandon Sanderson took over to complete the final three books of the series, and has done an extraordinary job with book 12: The Gathering Storm. By the way, I’m also reading Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, another great series.
Jordan’s WOT series is one of the reasons I started this blog. There are hundreds of thousands of fans, like me, who spend hours a day scouring the Internet for news, art, and discussions about the WOT, and I wanted to continue to honor this incredible and still flourishing work of art.
As most fans know, Universal Pictures acquired the movie rights to Eye of the World in August 2008, and the movie is set to start filming in 2011 (produced by Red Eagle Entertainment). So I thought it’d be fun to write, shoot, and produce a short scene from the film for fans! Per the suggestions made by WOT fans on a my blog post Which WOT character am I, I’ll be playing the role of Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred (pictured to the right). It’ll be more of a “making of,” and we’ll document the entire process from start to finish… for fans!
- About The Wheel of Time
- Dragonmount: Best WOT forum-based fan site
- An interview with Brandon Sanderson