When a troubled boy casts a curse he can’t handle, he is tasked to travel to the Kingdom of Dreams to fix the damage he’s caused, or else.
The below samples are all original works that I created to help illustrate my story. I intend to create larger, full or near full page images, for major scenes such as the ones below, and perhaps several doodles (for lack of a better word) to fill the margins throughout the novel to keep the tone going, etc.
Regarding my style of art, I’m a huge fan of chiaroscuro (using strong contrasts between light and dark), and love to use it in both my words and images. Some samples from the book: Francis the cat, waxing poetic from a stump in the Kingdom of Dreams.
Francis the cat, Charley the dog, and a mysterious warhorse with a dreamcatcher saddle.
Dromon is the horrifying character you met if you read my prologue and the story’s other narrator.
Who is this strange figure? And why is there an ocean in the sky? Better question: Why are they wearing a vacuum cleaner for a helmet?
A note about Inkshares and this project:
Jimmy Reve just wants the bullies in his life to go away—for good. So imagine his surprise, when one by one, they mysteriously go missing from his school. That’s a cool development… but Jimmy senses his messed up home life might be the least of his problems. His suspicions are confirmed when he meets Burks, Jimmy’s snarky recurring daydream who suffers from ADD, and one of the two narrators of the story. Burks has a mission for Jimmy: find his way into the Kingdom of Dreams and fix the damage he’s caused. If he doesn’t, he’ll be the next to disappear along with everyone else that dreams. Permanently.
An illustrated fantasy novel recommended for ages eight and up. Your parents don’t have to put it together.
I’m a Hybrid Graphic Novelist/Illustrator. Picture a geek with a dash of Freak. I majored in Studio Art at James Madison University with a concentration in charcoals as my preferred medium, and double minored in English and Art History. Like Monty Python, I like to take Silly Walks on the beach. I’m a lucky husband and proud father of a one-year old boy, and a nine-year old Australian Shepherd highly jealous of said one-year old.
I want to represent those that don’t often have a voice or heroes to follow in popular literature and media. Here, I’ll just show you what I mean:
Imagine all of the major ethnicities represented in one story, and the power of choice for readers to choose their own heroes. These are crude sketches, but hopefully you get the gist. Being the illustrator as well as the writer, I can make this happen. Can I shift the paradigm? Perhaps not, but you can bet every dime you put forth to support this book will go to hiring some really cool kids to to model for their very own ethnic version of my book. Diversity in books isn’t important, it’s essential.
Kingdom of Dreams is fully written, but, I have several images to go. I also need massive support to enable alternate versions of the novel that offer literal character building techniques users experience in video games such as Skyrim, etc.
When they see my face, they scream.
Usually, the pattern is this: the beefier the subject—especially teenage boys—the louder and higher the pitch of my victim’s wail.
Here’s one now. Through the portal, I see my target, an acned, freckled-face adolescent boy just above me, asleep in his bed.
I have a scathing curse to place on this unfortunate fellow on behalf of a most unusual master. I shrug. I’m helpless but to fulfill his requests. Besides, it’s fun to scare, and my new young master in his naiveté has given me the promise of more. Much more.
My victim isn’t particularly large, but he is tall, lean, lanky—very quick on his feet and much stronger than he looks. His puddle of drool, and the primitive way he gapes open his mouth to suck in deep breaths like he’s devouring the air itself, makes him look none too bright, but that doesn’t matter. Imbeciles make natural subordinates.
Best of all, he’s filled with a rare kind of hatred and cruelty that I can draw out of him like venom. So much cruelty, in fact, that even I hesitate to make a night terror from his essence. But then again, I don’t have much of a choice if I’m to have my way with my unsuspecting master. In fact, I’m depending on my new creation’s treachery. And it’s fun to have a rival—I make a wager with myself that I’ll be able to outwit my new lackey the second he hisses into existence.
With smoky fingers that tremble with excitement, I wrench his shoulders down and shove, forcing him to spring up. The boy gasps, his eyes full of shock, then terror. They flash in the darkness, growing nearly as big as mine. And no wonder, he sees nothing. Time to take him down to my realm, let him feel the free fall in its entirety, and pass out from shock the way they usually do before we hit bottom.
But not yet…
I spin around (leaving my smoking hands exactly where they were, clinching his shoulders) until I’m hovering inches over the boy’s face.
Oh, I’m real all right.
My lidless, and as a result, oversized manic eyes are supported by smoking, detached stalks and the hint of a misshapen, crooked nose welded together by burning embers. There is little else to my being with the exception of a restless, ever bending, spine of toxic and suffocating smoke. Admittedly, I must be gruesome for living things to see.
When I don’t go away and he’s sure I’m really there in all of my apparent ghastliness, out comes the predictable scream that seems to shake the walls. I relax, bathing in the sonorous wake of his fear and helplessness.
“Bucky?” I hear his father call from down the hall. And then the delayed ruckus as the spooked parents clamber around and knock things over in their bedroom. Bucky doesn’t stop screaming; if anything, his shrill screech climbs a couple of octaves. Ecstasy.
I hear the cocking of a gun and squeaking floorboards as someone sprints toward the room.
For a moment...