I came across this artist by way of reading Publisher's Weekly, the Fall 2009 children's books edition, where there was an author profile on sci-fi/fantasy writer, Scott Westerfeld. His new book Leviathan, released in October, is the first of a planned four book series imagining a WWI fought with "hybrid creatures, living products of Charles Darwin's 19th Century discoveries about DNA and bioengineering."
Westerfeld discovered artist/illustrator Keith Thompson when he was surfing the web for inspiration and for artists specializing in Steampunk. Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy that denotes works set in a world where steam power is still widely used, usually the 19th century and Victorian England. It's also something I've been researching for my next book which I'll write more about in a future post.
Doesn't this just make your mind spin!? This is a giant bio-engineered whale kept afloat by microscopic hydrogen breathers, also featured in the book Leviathan.
I can't help but be inspired by these dark, otherworldly illustrations. In the PW profile, Westerfeld says "that the back-and-forth process of collaborating with an artist has invigorated his writing, allowing him to build on Thompson's equally inventive imagination."
This one is called The Prophet. "Pilgrims listen in rapt attention to one of the many prophets imprisoned along this road..."
And finally...does this look familiar to anyone!? I almost died when I saw this! It's so similar to the balloon in my new book, Trevelyn's Shimmer! See my previous posts; leave it to vote, from August; and process of creation, from October. The balloon I've imagined in my book is a little different; the one here looks like some kind of plant attached to the earth still - but same general idea with the seat and cables and all. It was actually kind of cool coming across this though and seeing the perspective in the background. It makes me excited to think about the characters in my book come alive one day.
(All artwork by Keith Thompson).
(Read more of the author profile on Scott Westerfeld in Publisher's Weekly, or purchase the July 20, 2009 PW Issue - Fall 2009 Children's Books edition).