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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Olympians Boxed Set-- Countdown! Megapost Number 7- IT'S OUT TODAY!!!

On October 7th, -- why that's today! --the new boxed set of the first 6 Olympians books has officially  been released! That's all six volumes of Olympians, and a poster, all in one handy-dandy box! For the past six days I've posted a behind-the-scenes look at the making of each of the six Olympians books, and today I'll share a little about the making of the poster, the slipcase, and even some future peeks at what's coming down the pike for Olympians.
What are you sitting there for? Go out and get yours!

Whew, it's been a long strange trip doing these books-- I won't lie, it gives me an immense swell of satisfaction to see them all assembled together in a giant brick of Olympian-y goodness on my shelf. I honestly don't recall exactly when the idea of creating a boxed set of Olympians first came up-- I know I was not pushing for it, and I have a vague recollection of thinking it wouldn't actually materialize (the world of publishing is rife with those sort of heartbreaks), but one day I had a meeting with editorial at the Daily Bugle (Flatiron) building and I was told the boxed set was a go, and they wanted to do a poster to go with it.

A poster for Olympians was something I wanted for a very long time. I had previously assembled some mock-ups that never got made, but before I get into that, I want to talk about the trickiness of drawing large group assemblies. Above is the earliest sketch I could find of a group shot of the Olympians, from a project I was working on before Olympians that eventually fed into, in many ways, Olympians.  Maybe I'll write a post about that early project one day...

Above is a sketch for the assembled Olympian family as seen on page 66 of Zeus: King of the Gods. This was from the revised dummy for Zeus (notice that its in pencil rather than the fancy ink of the rest of that dummy), but I always intended for it to double as an Olympians poster.

Here's the finished panel as it appeared in Zeus: King of the Gods. There are elements of the coloring I'm not wild about, and some of the characters are a little off-model (I hadn't fully worked out everyone yet-- I'm looking at you, Aphrodite), but all in all I really liked the composition. All of the future poster pieces are derived from this posing and iconography.

Wish this had been made...
This is a mock-up and tagline I put together for the series. First Second never committed to publishing this poster (in part because I mention twelve books, and who knew if the series would last that long), but it was used in a few places on-line and such. The poster that comes with the boxed set sports an alternate iteration of the tagline here, "Not your average family."

There's about 7 million of these cards out there. If you have one, it's worth, like, one plugged nickel.

You've seen this piece before-- just pan up, it's the header to this site. I created this piece, heavily based on the page from Zeus: King of the Gods, for a postcard that I distribute at personal appearances and for this website. The family is growing a bit here, with the addition of Persephone and Hebe, and even a tiny little piece of Heracles' shoulder.

Pretty much immediately after it was decided to make a poster for the boxed set, we knew it would be an expansion of the previous 'poster' pieces. Above is the rough sketch mock-up of the cover and the slipcase for the boxed set-- I would use the same piece for both, and designed it so that the composition worked as both a flat poster and a three-dimensional slipcase. If you look above, you can see my notations for where the cover and slipcase measured up to the original art.  The family has expanded by leaps and bounds, but it is easy to see the compositional elements of that first poster.

Finished pencils.

Finished inks.

And finished colors.

The back of the poster has a new, ultimate family tree that is so detailed that the cartographer we hired to make it reportedly quit. Above is my rough draft of all the new names I wanted added, for some poor person at First Second (the venerable Colleen Venable) to fashion into a working family tree.

And that's that! Today the boxed set comes out, commemorating the halfway point of the Olympians series! Thanks everyone for your support!

And now a few peeks at the future...

 The three pictures above are sketches for the Ares: Bringer of War cover (my original title-- Ares: God of War :)). The final cover was recently revealed on Mr Schu's blog HERE, but you can see what might have been above.

A rough sketch for a double-paged spread from Ares: Bringer of War.

And the final spread.

My favorite part of Ares is when the gods who supported the Trojans face off against the gods who supported the Greeks. I literally waited years to draw this. Ares: Bringer of War comes out in January.

I'm working on Apollo's book right now. I'm planning on calling it Apollo: The Brilliant God, let's see if that one goes through the process unchanged ;). Here's the cover sketch for that one.

And this is some of the dummy of the interior.

I'd be very curious if anyone can name them from their attributes.

This is the first finished piece of artwork for Apollo-- the pin up of the Muses, who narrate the book.

A glimpse at some potential future covers, mixed in with a few older ones.

Finally, this is a screen shot of part of the spreadsheet I made way back in the day while I crafted the blueprint for the entirety of the Olympians series. It's worth a closer look-- you can see what made it in, what didn't, original subtitles, even the original intended order of the publishing. Some of what is coming has been redacted to protect the surprise.

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