A New Drawing for Will Silander

You guys may remember a contest we held last year, in which two reviews of The Monster in the Hollows were chosen (one for blogs, one for Amazon reviews). The two winners were to receive an original Wingfeather Saga drawing, and if I could swing it I’d try to draw whatever they wanted. The two runners-up were to receive signed prints of the same drawings. WELL. Last year was busy, and I had a hard time getting into a sketching frame of mind, so I’m just now getting to work on the first drawing.(So sorry, Will, Hamiltons, Kelly, Jeri, and Nora!)

Will Silander was the winner of the first contest, thanks to his most excellent stop motion video (scroll down a few posts to see its coolness), and he requested a scene from the library at Ban Rona, hopefully featuring the creepy librarian. What I came up with is a picture of the Great Library, with Janner and Oskar approaching on a carriage. Hopefully that’ll work. I got several hours in last week, then my tour started and everything was put on hold till I get back this Sunday. I thought I’d share my progress with you guys.

This is the rough sketch. In the book I described how people were strolling from the balcony straight to the limbs of a giant tree, reading books in the boughs. I liked how these tree branches turned out so much that I chickened out and didn’t draw any people up there for fear I’d mess up and have to start all over. If I were a real artist, I’d have gone for it.

Here’s a closeup of Oskar and Janner on the carriage. I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea to illustrate the faces of main characters; I’d rather you fill in the blank and let Janner be your Janner rather than mine. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I don’t spend much time describing the details of the main characters’ features for this reason, and in several of Justin Gerard’s illustrations the characters’ faces aren’t visible. So I wanted to frame this picture so that we didn’t see Janner and Oskar too clearly.

Now I’ve tightened up Janner and Oskar. I showed the drawing to Aedan, and he said Janner didn’t look quite right. I happen to agree. Maybe he looks too small next to Oskar? Or maybe it’s that Oskar really is as squishy as I describe him. Either way, I was too invested in the picture to turn back.

I’ve officially spent more time on this tree than any tree I’ve ever drawn. One thing I’ve learned between now and when I was an aspiring Batman penciller in high school is PATIENCE. It takes a long time to write a book. It takes a long time to write a song. And it takes a long time to draw a good tree. Twenty years ago I went crazy after the seventeenth leaf and got sloppy. This time I kept reminding myself to slow down, and I think you can tell a difference.

Here’s where I left off Monday night. I spent a while drawing the stones on the face of the building, and to be honest, I’m dreading filling in the bricks on the rest of it. Aedan pointed out that drawing every little line on the next section of the building might make it look too busy, especially since I don’t want to draw too much attention from Janner and Oskar in the foreground. Once I finish tightening up the rest of the drawing (“tightening” is a what Justin Gerard calls it, so I feel a little pretentious as a hobbyist using professional lingo). I’ll add the shading, which scares me silly. If I screw up the shading, I might have to start from scratch. We’ll see.

Anyway, Will, I hope you like it so far. (And you too, Jim Hamilton and family, since you’ll get a print of it.)

Thanks for reading my stories, folks. I’m getting excited about starting The Warden and the Wolf King later this month.


  1. anna says

    i’m quite excited at the prospect of the fourth book – i read the others last year, and i think the writing’s just got better and better, so that bodes well for the next one. 😉

    i read this post about a week ago, and i’ve been thinking about the issue of faces – i tend to imagine books from the perspective of the main character, so i know what i think leeli and nia and podo look like (obviously kalmar looks like a wolf, currently – it’ll be interesting to see where that goes, if anywhere), but i just. can’t. imagine. janner’s face. i see the story through his eyes, so i’m not looking *at* him in my head. it’s a little disconcerting when i read a scene that he’s not in and i still feel like i’m him.

  2. says

    Wow! I envy you, Andrew! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your art! I’m so glad for a new post! Great work. I completely agree about the characters faces. Some authors write a book and I get to know the characters and get a picture of them in my mind, then I see their drawing of the character’s face and… aaarrrgggghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s not what I think they look like! So I’m glad you have their faces be their actions , words, and personality, not a drawing of their features. Your tree is so great! I love how it twists and curves! The library as you described it is my dream place. I’d rather go there than anywhere else on earth. We love you, Andrew Peterson!!!

    Hi Piper! Ruler be with you.

  3. says

    Wow! I love that drawing. I’ve recently started trying to draw more and can imagine how hard it would be to draw that! Good horse, too. Horses are hard to draw.

    Three weeks ago I got The Monster in the Hollows from the library (finally). I abondoned my current read, The Hobbit, to devour the latest and greatest of the Igiby adventures. I wish the book was longer. It took me about three hours to read and now I am greatly anticipating the next book!

  4. Piper Dragonwings says

    I don’t know why I haven’t tried to draw Janner & co. yet, maybe that should be my next project. Oh, and I can’t wait for the next book! My friend started reading the series, and now almost her entire family is hooked!

  5. says

    Hi Mr. Peterson!
    I recently discovered this blog! I’ve read the Wingfeather Saga since last year, and I must say. Great job! I happen to have a blog, and have written a review on all three of your books. Here’s the link to the review.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to your concluding book. Monster In The Hollows was excellent, and my sister and I are already predicting what will happen in the finale.

    The Proprietor

  6. says

    Yes! The sketch is very cool! My favorite part is the tree. Thanks for spending so much time on it. I can’t wait to get it!

    I’m looking forward to reading The Warden and the Wolf King!


  7. Jess says

    Love it. I unfortunately haven’t learned the patience lesson yet so my artistic talents are strictly limited to one-inch sketches with big, frustrated Xs through them. And watercoloring–get a lot of water, a lot of color, blop it on the paper and hope it turns out to resemble anything at all.

  8. says

    Like it? Wow. Evidently you don’t realize how cool this is. When I show them this post, my kids are going to go crazy.

    Really grateful, and praying for the Lord’s blessing on you as you write WARDEN!


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