Concept Art Friday—March 22, 2024

I’ve been so preoccupied with the upcoming release of Secret Sky: The Young Universe that I’ve been neglecting other duties—this blog included.

And so much good artwork is being created for this book that I wish I could share with you…but it’s not a good idea to publish the unfinished sketches of artists, regardless of how fantastic those sketches are.

I can tell you that everything I’ve seen looks extraordinary, and some of it is bound to knock your socks off. This book will not only have full cover art provided by a fine artist, but also a number of interior illustrations that take the cake.

So, since I can’t show you any of the current work in progress, I’ve decided to lean on Midjourney again, to produce concepts that can give a foretaste of what’s to come. You could even call them hints.

So, without further ado, let’s explore the (unused conceptual) art of Secret Sky: The Young Universe.

Our Main Character

AI art-making technology has completely changed since this project began. The earliest concept art for Secret Sky was made with Midjourney version 4. Or maybe 3.

The most interesting part of this image is how it redrew the background onto the boy’s clothes after he was incorporated into the picture. What used to be twinkling stars in the background were transformed into ornamental cloth stars on his clothing. It’s fascinating to note how Midjourney made this change.

But a more recent example demonstrates what the technology has become capable of:

This is our protagonist, Skylar, looking up at the stars and pondering his place in them. What part will he have to play in the young universe, and where will his story take him?

But Every Story Needs a Villain

Some villains are ugly.

Some villains are beautiful.

But then there are some villains who have no appearance whatsoever—such as a strange chamberlain to the king whose face has never been seen. Rumors abound as to who he really is. Some say he is a disgraced lord, who now must serve anonymously. Others assert that he is, in fact, several people. How else could he get so much work done?

Or perhaps nothing at all lurks beneath that mask. Perhaps this creature—who can stand as still as a statue for hours on end—isn’t alive at all.

Places and Things

Many mysterious objects and creatures await in the young universe. Some are keys that will unlock the story. Others are obstacles that may bring the narrative to a sudden, vicious end.

Is this Fantasy…or Science Fiction?

A number of twists and turns await you in the young universe. At times, you won’t even know what genre you’re in.

That is by design.

Answers Are Coming

The book is due to be out this summer. But even as your questions are answered, you will be left with new questions. A few scattered Midjourney pictures cannot capture what is about to fall into your lap.

You’d best be on the lookout when the real thing drops.

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