Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The art of Leviathan, part 1: An interview with Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld’s highly anticipated and extensively illustrated young adult steampunk novel, releases today. Whenever I’d run into Scott over the past year or so he’d whip out his iPhone and excitedly show-off the latest drawings by Keith Thompson. After a few of these incidents it became clear that Keith wasn’t just adding a few embellishments to the book but, with fifty drawings throughout, was helping to create the world of Leviathan.

I took the opportunity to interview Scott and Keith about the project. Part 1 is the interview with Scott talking about his dual role as author/art director.

Check out the full interview on tor.com

Did working on the illustrations for Leviathan affect your writing for book two?
Because we have an illustration almost every chapter, I simply can’t have my characters sitting around and talking for very long—stuff has to happen. This is great for recreating the action-packed feel of the “boy’s own adventures” that I was inspired by, but I’ve learned a few subtler tricks to create visual interest. Sometimes, a really cool-looking thing can just show up, and thanks to Keith’s brilliance, that’s enough to fill the page. Also some very quiet illustrations—a pocket cameo, a pair of teacups—have turned out to be wonderful storytelling aids.

And, yes, certainly when a drawing of a machine or beastie comes out great, it will tend to stay in the story more. Some throwaway ideas have become pivotal parts of the plot, just because Keith made them look so damn cool.

Stay tuned for part two, talking with Keith Thompson, this Thursday.


Hunter said...

Illustrated novels need to happen more often.
Beautiful work-- I'll definitely check it out!

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Frame Theory said...

Damn, that's a nice drawing. I'll check it out.

Micah Kaneshiro said...

A friend of mine told me about this blog and I gotta say it's looking like the real deal. There really aren't enough art news sights that have this sort of focus, either that or I just don't know about them. Have you heard of an independent game called Machinarium? I don't know how applicable it would be to your blog but it looks to me like it's shaping up to be a very cool little work of art. Anyhow, I'm loving your posts and I look forward to reading part 2 of your interview.