On Sunday we shot the live model for my new cover for The Darkening Dream.
The artist, the amazing Cliff Nielsen, works out of a 1903 former power station! This was totally awesome given the 1913 setting of The Darkening Dream.
And our studio location where Cliff has set up his stage area and lighting.
The artist behind his camera. Turns out he’s a Canon 5D Mark II shooter as well!
Enter our lovely young protagonist, Sarah Engelmann, played by the talented Dana Melanie.
It just takes a bit of costume and some hair styling to take her back a hundred years! This cover is a bit allegorical. In the book, Sarah is plagued by dreams of violent super natural deaths, and entangled with more than a bit of the violent supernatural during her waking moments.
So for the cover we are trying to capture a bit of a nighttime Sarah caught in the junction between these waking (natural) and sleeping (supernatural) worlds. Just a note for total verisimilitude, Cliff will have to Photoshop off the nail polish (like 2 minutes work) because Western women didn’t wear nail polish between late antiquity and the 1930s! (Although the Chinese did)
He shot using the 24-70 2.8L which is a great lens for studio work.
I thought this shot during break an amusing contrast of period and modern.
Dana was a fantastic sport and even put up with a second — and creepy — crucifixion pose. In the context of The Darkening Dream this isn’t really Jesus type crucifixion, but more Conan on the Tree of Woe or Odin sacrificed and hung from the world tree Yggdrasil. Rest assured, it has certain magical/occult significance in the story.
Cliff had to shoot from high up on a ladder.
During this part of the shoot it was suggested that I draw in a small dark mustache and cultivate a sinister silent movie villain laugh.
All in all, it was a fantastic shoot and we got great images. I can’t wait to see the finished cover in a couple of days.
Read more about The Darkening Dream here.
Or check out the cover design here.
Or read the first two chapters for free.