There were so many incredible things about working on this piece. There are so many rich visuals in the Mistborn world. The skies stained with ash, the imposing towers of the great houses of Luthadel, mistcloaks, and of course the iconic characters, like Vin. It was also amazing to have Brandon Sanderson himself as a resource for questions and feedback. He shared all the details I'd wondered about, yet gave me all the room in the world to explore designs and visualize my concepts of the Final Empire. It was a fantastic experience from beginning to end.
Vin has been my longest work in the making to date. As a primarily digital artist, I have a lot of tools, tricks, and forbidden witchcraft to conduct my dark pixel manipulations. I've dabbled in the more venerable mediums, of oil paint, watercolors, and screaming at buckets of paint until they splash themselves agains a canvas out of fear. But this was a very special commission to me, and I wanted it to be oil. With all the texture, and depth, and archivalness, and other fancy words that get tossed around with oil paintings. Brandon let me take the time to not only do it right, but address all the trial and error and troubleshooting that was inevitible when moving from my hobbyish oil studies, to "full-for-realsies art."
So I worked on it on and off for like a year. I'm pretty pleased with the result. There exists now in the universe a lovely 24x30 inch oil-on-aluminum Vin.
I've wanted to work with Brandon Sanderson for forever.
A few years ago, my wife Kat were headed out to San Diego Comic Con, the only geek convention that warps spacetime, causing classical physics to collapse for about a week. "No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time" becomes "ten or more people can occupy each and every square foot. All of them touching and breathing on you."
Anyway, we were in the airport, and Kat was looking for something to read on the flight. A friendly fella asked us if he could help us find something. Kat listed off some of the books and authors she liked, including Brandon Sanderson. "Have you read this one?" he asked, holding up a copy of Warbreaker. "I've been meaning to, it's one of the few things of his I haven't read." Handing it to Kat, he mentioned "this is even a signed copy. And I'd reccommend it by the sounds of your tastes. But, full disclosure, I'm not really an unbiased source. I like it, but I also wrote it."
And Kat's eyes lit up, and she exploded a little on the inside. I kept my cool. I can handle meeting my heroes. Seriously. No really. I'm cool. I didn't freak out or anything. Totally cool.
After Kat picked my gibbering self up off the floor after a brief - but totally cool - fanillepsy, we introduced ourselves properly. Brandon recognized my name and mentioned some of my work. Kat had to haul me off the floor again. We had a lovely chat, got on planes, and narrowly survived comic con for another year.
Not tremendously long after, I was invited to a local Magic pre-release. They asked if I'd be interested in doing a two-headed-giant Archenemy vs. six opponents per round with a local author, so that the most people could play with the special guests. That author, a long time favorite of mine, was the zombie of Terry Prachett, of the amazing Disk World series. Okay no, of course it was Brandon. Even better.
My confession here is that until this prerelease, I hadn't really played Magic. Just a few weeks of fumbling through and playing it completely wrong when I was in high school. After admitting this, Brandon took me aside and gave me the basics, and since we were two heads of a giant, patiently walked me through everything new or confusing to me. And that's how I got hooked on playing Magic.