One of my favorite parts of The Rithmatist
were the chapter headers, iconic little ornamentations that lead into each chapter. Brandon and the team at Tor were kind enough to let me more-or-less do as I liked with these, and I had a lot of fun with them. This set covers chapters 01-14, plus the Prologue ornament.
In the context of the novel, "Chalklings" are basically characters that Rithmatists draw and imbue with life, in order to attack and defend. Unlike most of the chalklings I drew in the novel, these I designed as if they were seen in a book, rather than drawn with chalk... the sort of drawings that would inspire a Rithmatist, rather than representational of a Rithmatist's actual drawings. I was all over the place with inspirations... sometimes it was animals, sometimes it was mythology, and sometimes I was just making shiz up.
I tried to go with a sort of "woodcut" style here, in keeping with the analog period of the novel, with varying levels of success. Digital drawing made certain aspects of the task much easier (achievable, even), by allowing me to layer things such that I could work on the hatch shading without fear of damaging the contours, and so forth. It also let me save iterations, so that if I messed up I could always back up.
The clockwork gears-n-springs action that borders each ornament was intentionally dense enough that it becomes a bit of pattern noise... it frames the circle of the main composition while not (hopefully) distracting from it. Something else that was easier to do thanks to digital drawing, since making gears becomes a function of duplication and repetition and variation (make a circle, make a tooth on that circle, duplicate the tooth and shift it around the circle using Transform, copy and paste and repeat). I could then lay the various bits around each other before removing the overlaps and filling in the remaining spaces.
These were illustrated in Photoshop (unusual, since I tend to work in Manga Studio for line work) at 1200dpi, using the Cintiq. © 2012 Brandon Sanderson and Dragonsteel Entertainment LLC, reprinted with permission.