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Phoenix Comic-Con 2016 ()
#1 Copy

Badger (paraphrased)

How much say did you have in the narrators for your audiobooks?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He talked about the process behind picking narrators in the sense of he's allowed to request people, but if they can't get them, the publisher will present him with other options he can pick from. Same went for book cover artists (he chose Michael Whelan). He requested Michael Kramer and Kate Reading for his books because he was impressed with how he did the Wheel of Time books. The only one he didn't have say in is the original Warbreaker narrator (surfer dude Lightsong, anyone?).

YouTube Livestream 16 ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

How much artistic license did Michael [Whelan] have when designing the cover [of Rhythm of War] and what your process is when working with him to get the cover vision that you're going for?

Brandon Sanderson

Our preference is to give artists a lot of leeway for personal interpretation. I, personally, believe any piece of fan-art or official art is that artist's vision of what they saw in their head when they were reading the book. And that's going to differ greatly from what someone else would see, and I like seeing those interpretations. I like seeing those visions. So we try to give quite a bit of leeway and flexibility to the artist.

For instance, Michael (being the consummate professional he is) sent, like, ten sketches of possibilities. And we had ones we liked the most, and fortunately they were the same ones that he liked the most. But mostly, we say, "These are all great. Which one do you enjoy? Which one are you most excited to paint?" And we move that direction most of the time. Isaac will usually have continuity comments, and we want to make sure that things are in continuity, but we give a lot of freedom to the artists. We don't really want to chain them down. We want art to inspire art.

And so, because of that, people look different in some of our official interpretations. And I think that's okay, because that's how artwork goes. We're not trying to match a really exacting style guide on the characters, usually. And that lets us have the cover art for the UK cover look very different from the covert art form the US cover, and even have different interpretations on the characters in different ways. We'll catch the big things. We'll say "put a glove on her" if there's a scandalous hand exposed. We'll say "this is what the patch looks like that should be on Kaladin's shoulder." Stuff like that, we will do, but we try to give a lot of freedom.

I really like this cover. This is my favorite of his covers since the first one.