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 02-25, and the ornamental frame that separates the Acts of the novel (part one, part two, etc). The black-filled 9-point gear in the center of that ornament was used in various places as a singular framing device (for instance, it appears around every page number).
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.
I did get excessively dense in a couple of these especially 21 and 22... I was having too much fun with contour hatching, and what looks clean at 1200 dpi across a 21-inch monitor is less so when printed at two inches wide on paper. Susan Chang (our editor at Tor) actually had me go back and adjust those two so that the numerals were more readable, and rightly so... even afters, I can tell I should have roped it in a lot more.
You might notice that the gears-n-springs noise that surround the Act ornament is different from that which surrounds the Chapter ornaments. I didn't need to do that, I just wanted to... after using the same pattern for 26 chapters, it felt too lazy to use it again. I doubt anyone noticed in the context of the books, but it made me feel a little better about the abuse of copy/paste technique in creating all those gears to begin with.
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.