Recent entries

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7551 Copy

    JavaPython_

    I love your work. It really inspires me to improve my drawing. Do you have any rough sketches of Marsh's/Inquisitor/Obligator tattoos? I want to be Marsh for Halloween.

    Ben McSweeney

    I don't, the best image is probably the standing illustration of Marsh in the Adventure Game. In all honesty, they were freehanded on the page, so it was more about a general approximation of shapes than a planned composition of glyphs.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7552 Copy

    TheDJ47

    Were you at the Shadows of Self release last night? And what was the hardest drawing to get right?

    Ben McSweeney

    I was not, it wasn't in the cards for me to travel this time. Hopefully I'll make it out for Stormlight 3. :)

    I wasn't, and it blows 'cause Isaac sent me a very awesome photo of a Cryptic Pattern costume and I wish I could've seen it in person. Plus, I like signing and sketching in books :)

    The Axehound was an early challenge to design... it's not easy to make a six-foot dog-lobster look affectionate! The antennae do a lot of the work.

    The Whitespine was an interesting case because I took a design all the way to near-completion before I scrapped it entirely and started again to get the one in the book. I think I like the current one, but I know I hated the one I did the first time.

    TheDJ47

    The Pattern costume was pretty sweet. And your illustrations in Stormlight really helped me visualize many of the... Interesting aspects of Roshar. They are amazing.

    Ben McSweeney

    Thank you! That is, ideally, why we do 'em. :)

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7554 Copy

    Questioner

    Who, in your opinion, writes the best fantasy today?

    Ben McSweeney

    Until recently, I would have said Terry Pratchett, without hesitation. People mistake his books for mere comic fantasy, but that man had as sharp a wit as any Algonquin and more heart than a Care Bear Stare. He knew how to turn a phrase like a tango turns the hips. On more that one occasion, no exaggeration, that goofy old bearded bastard actually made me cry.

    To reach out and touch another human through time and space and make them actually feel something... that's good writing.

    But he's moved on, and there's plenty of great authors at their height today, so let's stick to the contemporary.

    For pure liquid prose, probably Rothfuss.

    For interesting concepts, I'm digging Guy Gavriel Kay. China Mieville is great as well.

    For action, I'm pretty into my man Brandon. Butcher does a good job with that also. Larry Corriea knows how to write a rocking fight.

    Joe Abercrombie is the first author I've read who took those boring battle maps with the arrows and blocks and made them into a gripping, visceral saga of honor and commitment and betrayal and vindication.

    Dan Abraham is the man who made a story about a rogue banker into one of the best epics since Ice met Fire. That right there is a Copperfield-level trick.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7555 Copy

    Dragon13

    In your mind, what would constitute a worldhopper? Is it someone who makes a single trip between worlds (for example, the exodus from Yolen—not that it was an exodus, but a single trip), multiple trips between worlds (such as Hoid), or simply leaving a particular world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    [...] Here's the thing. I would call anyone who is aware that there are multiple worlds in the Cosmere and has visited more than one a worldhopper.

    Dragon13

    Do they actually have to have made it to a second world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that... You’re getting at people like-- I would say that they are a worldhopper kind-of, but not fully. They’re kind of...

    Kurkistan

    The Doctor's companion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the Doctor’s companion type thing. I would define a Worldhopper as someone who has been to another world. I would call someone who has not actually been to another world "Cosmere-aware," but not necessarily a Worldhopper.

    Dragon13

    I was thinking more along the lines of the Shard who does not have a planet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, Shards transcend these definitions.

    Argent

    They're kind of worldhoppers by default.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7556 Copy

    darklordreddit

    Didn't you do the RoosterTeeth logo and work on RvB animated ?

    Can you talk a little about those two ?

    Ben McSweeney

    I did!

    The RT logo came about back in 2003, I think? I was a fan of the first season of RvB and I hung out in their forums. When they sent out the call to redesign their old clip-art logo, I was there. When other artists were offering mascot-style cartoons, I saw there wasn't anything wrong with the icons in their existing logo, they just needed a fully original representation. It's been one of the longest-reaching and most enduring illustrations of my career, and paid off quite well for what amounted to an afternoon's doodle of a rooster silhouette and some cartoon chatterteeth. I wish I'd drawn the key better, it's all asymmetrical and it never stops driving me nuts.

    RvB Animated came around in 2008. By that time I was a Lead Animator at Humoring the Fates, a studio down in Florida. Burnieb asked if we could take on some original RvB animated content, and we gave it our best shot. I did the character designs, boarded it, keyed out the animation and put in most of the gunfire/blaster VFX, but the team at Studio Fates did the lion's share of the real work. We produced the whole thing in-house, and with a core team of less than a dozen.

    This was before Monty and his team really revolutionized what Rooster Teeth could do with a blend of machinema and original 3D animation, which ultimately was the perfect solution for what they wanted to do. But it was a good early experiment and a rare opportunity that I'm proud to have taken part in.

    I'm pretty sure we were the first production to adapt Halo for 2D traditional, we were certainly a year ahead of the overseas work on Legends. If you dig around in the archives of the studio's production blog, you can find all sorts of early design docs and pencil tests.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7557 Copy

    CapeMonkey

    How much of the novel to you have to/get to read before producing the art?

    Ben McSweeney

    As much as I can get! I receive an early draft along with the rest of the team, and it's really useful to read the whole book. It's a privilege not often made available to illustrators on first draft novels.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7558 Copy

    WACKY_ALL_CAPS_NAME

    Did you draw this? www.imgur.com/AazzKDl

    I was out of town for the WoR signing but my dad went and picked up a copy for me and one of the people signing that night drew this in the front pages. It's super cool and I have been trying to figure out who did it.

    Ben McSweeney

    I did! I draw a lot of really quick sketches at signings. I can't do it for everyone because sometimes we're trying to move quickly (Brandon draws long lines), but I try to do it whenever I can. On the plus side, no two are ever quite alike!

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7559 Copy

    Kurkistan

    Is it practical for an Oracle to get more out of electrum than Vin and Elend tried to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It is totally possible.

    Kurkistan

    So if you could see your shadow wince when it turned left, you would think "Oh, Mrs. Peabody's around that corner. I probably shouldn’t turn left!"

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible to squeeze more out of it than they did.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7560 Copy

    MetalRuk

    Hi, Mr Sweeney!

    I'm sorry if my question might be complicated and/or badly articulated.

    When you are reading something and are trying to picture that world and those characters in your mind to later draw them, more often do you do your final work based on your first impression or the first picture you imagine, or do you try to imagine what you read in the most diferent ways you can?

    Thank you for the AMA!

    Ben McSweeney

    Often times I'll try and imagine a couple variations, just to be certain I've explored the idea. Sometimes my first idea turns out to be the best one, but not often! It helps to go ahead and articulate that first idea just to get it out in the air, and then look for ways to do something new with it, or think of an alternative altogether.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7561 Copy

    Thomniscient

    I love your work and have been wanting to get Stormlight related tattoos. Is there any way one can commission you into doing an original Shardbearer drawing for tattooing purposes? I love the ones in WoR, and want to get something very similar on my left leg!

    Ben McSweeney

    Thank you so much!

    I'm not sure if I can accept a commission to do something based on the stuff I do officially... maybe if /u/mistborn is down with it?

    Most folks just take one of the existing illustrations and have that reproduced. Doing something unique would be a different matter.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm more than okay with this, Ben.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7562 Copy

    Kurkistan

    If you're on Threnody and you get withered by a shade, are you better off burning Allomantic aluminum, or tapping Feruchemical gold?

    *laughter*

    [clarification on the question]

    Brandon Sanderson

    They would both work pretty well. I would say if you burned aluminum, that would kind of have the effect that you are wanting it to have, which is the effect-- negating and sucking out, so that's probably safer. But the gold would work, too.

    Kurkistan

    So would it be fair to describe withering as a kind of cancerous Forging-

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure.

    Kurkistan

    That just kind of slowly takes over your soul?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7563 Copy

    Kisaoda

    I got my wife hooked on Sanderson's works recently, especially the Stormlight novels. She absolutely loves Shallan as a character and fell deeper in love with her when she saw your illustration of her... which is now saved as her current desktop wallpaper. So kudos there!

    My question to you is this: how much reading into the novels do you do before coming up with an idea of a setting or character to paint? What is your process when deciding the best scene to depict?

    Ben McSweeney

    The Shallan endpage is mostly Michael Whelan, I assisted some in the layout and design but he's responsible for the finished painting.

    I read the full text of the novel while it's still in the draft stages, which is a rare privilege and part of what makes our production a little different than usual. When deciding what subjects to choose for Shallan's pages, I first look for seed that Brandon plants in the text, usually moments where Shallan specifically mentions drawing something. Or I look for subjects that are suitable for her to draw and which she's reasonably likely to see (and have time for) during her travels. Based on that and the conversations I have with Brandon and Isaac, we come up with a list of 6-8 subjects which we then develop further.

    Even though Shallan does draw portraits of people, we avoid trying to reproduce those so as to not define the features of various characters too strictly. Instead we focus on plants and animals and hints of the world around her.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7565 Copy

    TheAngush

    I could never tell, and I've got nothing better to ask, so: which drawings from the Stormlight books were you responsible for? Just the "Shallan's Sketchbook" ones, and nothing else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All of Shallan's pages, and a few of the chapter icons in WoR. And I assisted Michael on the Shallan endpage illustration, although the final painting is all him.

    Mostly what I do is help conceptualize animals and plants, and to a lesser degree Plate and Blade designs.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7566 Copy

    Lafona

    I assume there are decisions you have to make on the fly while doing the art, so I was wondering: are there any of those that have made it into the lore, and maybe actually made changes to some of the plot elements? If so, what is your favorite thing you added to the story through the illustrations?

    Ben McSweeney

    Actually, most everything that makes it into the book has been reviewed and discussed and approved, so even the decisions I make on the fly are subject to change.

    There's a series of character illustrations that were done early on, for the initial book pitch before the first novel was fully written. When Brandon eventually wrote descriptions for those characters in the text, the illustrations I'd provided played a part in what he wrote, which was wildly gratifying.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7567 Copy

    legobmw99

    Do you have any other Cosmere related art you are allowed to share? Sketches, drafts, or stuff you did for fun? I love your art style

    Ben McSweeney

    Thank you! :)

    There's a lot of development and draft material that goes into the production, but it's all archived... we're only getting started on the third book, so we'll want to collect a lot more before we try doing anything with it.

    There's a few things I've done that weren't directly commissioned, which is basically the core of fan-art (un-commissioned illustration), but I've kept it in the same archives... I should maybe see if I can't dig up something to share.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7568 Copy

    jessybaby82

    I would like to know what makes Brandon's books so well-suited to visual adaptation.

    Thanks!

    Ben McSweeney

    He describes dramatic events and characters with clarity while including creative action, which makes it easy to visualize but also stimulating to imagine. He's also gotten quite good at giving you enough information to draw conclusions, without giving you so much that you don't need to bother drawing anything... that took some time, his early books are a lot less descriptive, but even with the first Mistborn novel he had some very strong visual concepts.

    In addition, he's often combining something familiar with something fantastic (literally). The familiar elements give an artist a basis upon which to map the fantastic. So we have something like Shardplate, which is plate armor (familiar) but it's made *only * of plates, no cloth or chain (fantastic), and that's where it gets interesting to design. Or we have the Chasmfiends, which were described by Brandon to me as "crayfish-dragons" (familiar/fantastic). Or we have the Inquisitors, tall scary men (familiar) with shiny steel spikes through their eyes that emerge from their skulls like horns (WTF).

    Thanks to his descriptive clarity and the familiar/fantastic mix, a properly-trained illustrator has the right elements to produce content with enough basis to set a firm foundation, but enough freedom to add their own creativity to the mix.

    Plus, his stuff is just fun. Fun goes a long way. :)

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7569 Copy

    Phantine

    I have to say, I really like seeing art done in a variety of in-universe styles. Particularly the old-time newspaper comics - I get a bit of an Out Our Way feel from those.

    Is there some character or art style that's particularly fun to imitate?

    Ben McSweeney

    I grew up (luckily) with access to some great classic newspaper artists like Winsor McKay and George Herriman and R.F. Outcault, and that's been invaluable when it comes to the broadsheets. I don't think I'm hitting anywhere near their marks, but I try to let that background influence the output.

    Thank you for the link, I'll have a lot of fun looking through those!

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7570 Copy

    LoneRavers

    Ever drawn a Thunderclast ? ;)

    Ben McSweeney

    I have not! Now that the Chasmfiend is settled, Thunderclasts are high on my list. I have some ideas, but Brandon and I have yet to jam on the subject and we probably won't until they make an appearance in the novels. We'll get there though, never fear... it's a Chekov thing, you don't throw a name like "Thunderclast" out there and never come back to it. :)

    fastlindyrick

    Didn't a Thunderclast appear during one of Dalinar's flashbacks early in Words of Radiance? (The one in the Purelake.) There was a little bit of physical description of the beastie too... something like a giant stone skeleton with glowing red eyes.

    Ben McSweeney

    You're right! I just went and checked the WoR text, there is a brief description of a fight between full Knights Radiant and a thunderclast, early in the book, and with enough descriptors to start with. It's been so long since I read it, and it's not a Shallan scene so I couldn't work a page out of it, that I must have forgotten.

    Well, now I have to do something sometime, don't I? :)

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #7571 Copy

    Kurkistan

    What would happen if you shot a thug with an aluminum bullet or stabbed him with an aluminum knife?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, that's a good question. The wound would not be able to heal around the aluminum, but once the aluminum came out and was gone from the system, they would be okay.

    Kurkistan

    Wait, is that a Bloodmaker, not a Thug?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, you're talking about Thugs?

    It would work similarly, but it really wouldn't have a huge effect on them.

    Kurkistan

    Alright, because Peter was implying that there was some weird aluminum interaction with Thugs.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What was he thinking of...?

    There is some weird interaction but...

    Kurkistan

    In the wedding scene, Wax thinks they would have aluminum bullets to deal with Thugs, and I was like, "Oh, that's a typo." And Peter was like, "Oh no it's not..."

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, no. That would just be-- it's like I said: healing it until the bullet is gone, it's just the same as Bloodmakers.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7572 Copy

    Argent

    On Nalthis, can aluminum prevent somebody from Returning? So if you kill somebody with aluminum and leave the weapon in them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think that's going to be enough. I think that…

    Argent

    Different way then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah there are totally ways. I don’t think that that’s going to be enough. There's a difference between being inert and blocking Investiture, and actually sucking out Investiture. If you stuck Nightblood inside of a corpse; there are certain things… if you had a larkin or whatever sitting there that ingests the Investiture as it was coming in, that would prevent [Returning]. I think with aluminum you would just have somebody that comes alive with a wound, so maybe... But I think it would just heal around [the aluminum] and you'd just have a spike in you, kind of like Hemalurgy—but not like Hemalurgy. It's inert, but you know what I mean.

    Argent

    Which suggests you can't actually Awaken aluminum.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. It's not going to hold a charge.

    Kurkistan

    I assume you can't Forge it, either.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. In fact the unForgable metal-

    Argent

    Ralkalest?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's an unForgeable metal mentioned.

    Kurkistan

    Could we call it aluminum if we wanted to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say that aluminum through most cultures was considered a mythological metal, and when people could actually find some, they considered it more valuable than gold, in our culture. So just sayin'...

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7573 Copy

    Zuesz

    How many folders/piles of fan art do you have that have never been seen?

    Ben McSweeney

    There's not so much fan-art buried in the stack, because I usually publish it online as soon as it's done (if you can't share fan-art, what's the point?), unless I judge it to be awful in which case I bury it with the bodies and nobody will ever know.

    But there's a lot of jobs that generate ancillary material which is never seen by the public. When it's client work, it's not mine to freely share. With Stormlight in particular, we'll hopefully be able to collect it all into a book at some point, so there's value in keeping it archived.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7574 Copy

    manamachine

    How much time do you spend from concept to the final design? And do you do many side projects or commission work?

    Ben McSweeney

    It varies a lot depending on the design... we have a reasonably long development period for Stormlight, 3-6 months, but we also do a lot of communication via email and that's slow.

    I always have a couple side projects, things I'd like to develop if I can ever assemble a conjumbleration of loose parts into a single machine.

    As a freelancer (part-time now, as I have a studio job during the day) I'm always looking for new opportunities, but for the last couple years I've been keeping a pretty full dance card. It's hard to catch me when I'm not already booked, and I don't usually schedule commitments too far in advance.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7575 Copy

    hakumiogin

    How did you first make it in the illustration industry? What steps would you recommend to artists looking to start working professionally?

    Ben McSweeney

    Short version:

    I started drawing cheap quarter-pages and character vignettes for RPG companies at bargain-basement prices, and I slowly networked that into better and better jobs through a general policy of "be nice, don't drop the ball". It took a loooong time and a lot of low-rent work.

    I hooked up with Brandon in 2008, when I read Mistborn and drew up some fan-art, posted that to his forums at what turned out to be the perfect time (which I had no way of knowing, so that's my lottery ticket story :)

    Longer Version for Aspiring Artists who want to hear some Real TalkTM :

    I've been "working professionally" (getting paid to draw) a lot longer than I've been "making it" (getting paid enough to live on just by drawing)... and I've done most of it without mentoring, so my traditional learning process has been something along the lines of "get it horribly wrong, and then fix it, rinse-repeat".

    All this is to say I may not be a good role model. But I started out pretty low and I'm doing all right today, so maybe I can contribute something useful.

    More than anything, I think it's more important to love doing it than to love being it... If I never make it in The Big Time, I still do it. It's the activity itself you're enjoying, not the status or the rewards. When I do succeed, I often find those rewards and the status are nice, but they're fleeting and the only thing that keeps 'em coming is more work.

    You do good work, you get more work. It's an never-ending cycle, but that's a fine thing so long as you love working.

    I recommend learning the fundamental basics put forth by classical illustrators like Andrew Loomis. Sometimes all that formal stuff feels boring and static and it's hard to relate it to what you really want to do, like you're being stuffed into a conformity box. But believe me, if you can master that stuff and learn to use it, you can do anything in any style you like and it will always look solid. Look around at the best of the best, see the fundamentals in play in their work, recognize that you can take that stodgy mathy rules-laden stuff and make anything with it.

    Persevere. I started getting paid to draw when I was 18. I stopped working at "real jobs" when I was 28. I started getting the work I'm most proud of today when I was 32.

    That's a long time, I pretty much went through my entire youth without ever knowing if I'd succeed. But I've been drawing all my life, and I really don't know what else I would do. So even if it meant that I worked a 32 week shift at Sunglass Hut while I drew shitty T-shirt designs for anyone who'd pay me $50, I never stopped working or saw myself as anything other than a craftsman.

    Lots of people make it happen faster. Even more people never make it happen at all. But you can't lose the game if you keep on playing.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7577 Copy

    SmilesUndSunshine

    Have you ever drawn a illustration of a character that is raising his/her eyebrow?

    Ben McSweeney

    You better believe it. I've caught myself drawing Dreamworks Face on a number of occasions. It's a very versatile expression that exaggerates easily, but I'll admit it's pretty beat to death.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7578 Copy

    Argent

    Is the mist spirit in Alendi's logbook the same spirit Vin sees?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Kurkistan

    Is it the same one Elend sees?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When? No. It is not the same one that Elend sees. There is a different mist spirit back then. Elend sees the same one Vin sees.

    Kurkistan

    And Alendi saw a different one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. And originally my rules for what made a mist spirit were a little more lax than I eventually decided them to being.

    Argent

    But it still works…?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What is in the books, it still works and is canonized, and those are two different mist spirits. But if you find the deleted scenes—if you look at them—there are- I am exploring more with mist spirits and you’ll find out what that would have been.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7579 Copy

    SonOfOnett

    Do you think illustrations in books are going to become more common in the future? Sanderson seems to be enjoying exploring the idea of using them as part of his writing process and as another way for the reader to interact with the work (particularly with Elantris and Rithmatist).

    Ben McSweeney

    Gosh, I sure hope so. I'm a huge fan of illustration, and I think when it's done well that it really adds value.

    I just picked up the George Martin collection of his Hedge Knight shorts, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, which has 160 beautiful pen illustrations by Gary Gianni. And I love the huge, hardbound Kaluta-illustrated of A Princess of Mars that came out last year.

    Beyond that, I'm a huge fan of what Brandon's been doing with specifically illustrating in-world documents. We don't really do "scene illustrations" in Stormlight, and we only do spot illustrations in terms of the chapter icons. Some of those are more contextually descriptive, like Lift's pile of food (which is doing double-duty by being both thematic of her power and hinting a little at Rosharan food typs. Lots of gourds, shelled meats, berries and seed-breads) or the straightforward picture of Adolin's Plate, but for the most part we're pretty careful about making every illustration also serve as an artifact.

    A page of Shallan's represents a page in her collection. A map of a location is a map on someone's table. An image of Alethi fashions is part of a regular delivery of correspondence that Adolin recieves because that's how damn rich he is.

    Not every book would benefit from that sort of supporting content, but some might. I'm reading Jim Butcher's magical airship adventure The Aeronaut's Windlass and enjoying it, but I could really go for a series of illustrations on just how these ships are meant to look. He gives a pretty good description of one of the main vessels... 190-some pages into the novel, after a couple action scenes involving that ship, and I'm still kinda unsure of what the other ships look like.

    Lastly, given that there's plenty of precedent for books that are well-suited to be adapted for other media, it's not a bad idea to establish aspects of the property as the author intends while he's still got some input. Once it gets licensed, that opportunity is often reduced or lost.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7581 Copy

    vineyarddawg

    Do you have a shardpen, or what? Does it change to a shardbrush or a shardpencil when you have to use those tools? And can a spren change into a shardPhotoShop, or what?

    Ben McSweeney

    Funny thing is, working digitally is kinda magical. I mean, you can turn back time. You can stack a hundred invisible sheets of paper and draw on each one separately, with the result being no thicker than a single page. You can cut and paste and warp and blur and save a perfect copy trapped in time just in case your next experiment goes horribly awry.

    And if you do it right and well, nobody will never know the difference.

    It ain't a shard, exactly, but it'll do. :)

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7583 Copy

    Argent

    Since both the mists and Stormlight are very similar in many ways, are there gaseous, liquid, and solid states of Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, but you know that there is a gas and a liquid.

    Argent

    The gas is just the stuff in the storms, right?

    Questioner

    Isn’t there the lake?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The lake is liquid. So you know there’s two of the three already. So just sayin'...

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7584 Copy

    Oudeis16

    I'm going to be cheeky and ask another question.

    Is there a defense you think you'd favor as a Rithmatist? Either in a duel, the Melee, or at Nebrask? Do you think you'd be more offensive, or defensive? Would you favor chalklings or Lines of Vigor for attacks?

    What style chalklings do you think you'd have? Melody made fantasy creatures, Fitch tended towards people, Nalizar made monsters. Do you think you'd tend towards a type?

    Ben McSweeney

    OOooo, nobody ever asks me Rithmatist questions.

    I think I'm reasonably good at eyeballing dimensions, but I got a bend towards symmetry, so I'd probably not be fast with a 9-point. The Eskridge and Matson defenses are 8-pointers though, with the Eskridge being more suited to a melee and the Matson for a duel. I'd probably favor the Matson in a pinch 'cause it's fast to draw.

    I think I'd create a lot of fat octopus chalklings for defense, 'cause there's a strategic mobility advantage in those long tentacles, even if the body is anchored to a point. Not sure what I'd use for attack... probably something I can draw a lot of, very quickly, so I can try to Zerg Rush my opponent while using my octochalklings and Vigor lines to hold back their attacks. Millipedes, maybe, with lots of fast legs and pincers.

    I've just realized my side of the field is all bugs and tentacles. I think I might be a thematic bad guy. Or worse, the bad guy's henchman.

    Oudeis16

    Now I wanna see you and Isaac Stewart in a Rithmatic duel... or maybe fighting with Aons.

    Really? No one asks you Rithmatist questions? I just finished a re-read. I love that book. Did you have to learn a lot of math to draw it all? Or did you know the math already? Or did you just draw it with the explanation and forget all the math?

    I'm pretty sure I've deduced that the Line of Silencing is based on the involute of a circle, the way a Line of Warding is based on a circle marked by the significant points of a triangle...

    Ben McSweeney

    I think the Rithmatist will be a lot more popular when we've got another book in the basket. Brandon has a very good idea for the second novel, but it involves getting into imaginary revisions of actual history and cultures with living descendants, and he's looking to be careful as he does that.

    I'm actually not responsible for any of the mathy bits of the novel, Brandon designed every defense and wrote all the rules and descriptions himself. My job was to take his diagrams and drawings from MS Paint to finished renders.

    Because I rendered the illustrations in Photoshop, it helped to ensure that the geometry was perfect. Flawless circles, razor-straight lines, symmetry and point-placement clocked and locked. I could have done the same thing with compass and ruler, but it was significantly easier to build geometric shapes in-system and then texture and revise.

    I got to be nice and creative with chalklings, but that's my place on the team. When it comes to the rules and the math, that's 100% Brandon.

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    Argent

    Lerasium grants all Allomantic powers when burned. Atium, when used as a spike, can steal any power. Is there a way to create a metalmind that can store anything?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a way to create a metalmind that can store anything.

    Argent

    Harmonium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not saying; I gave you an answer…

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    Questioner

    Could you Forge an entire human? What if a kandra eats that human?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you could Forge an entire human, and the kandra can eat that human as long as the Forgery takes. The problem is, once you break the seal, they're going to change back. So that kandra would have to find a way to eat that person without breaking the Forgery. In that case it would just remain.

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    Rhandric

    How many worldhoppers have we seen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I haven't kept track, you've seen quite a few. There's one from Mistborn, did you catch him? I don't think people have really picked out the Terriswoman yet, who makes her way into them, but they're mostly not supposed to be noticeable yet, until you get to know them as characters and you look back and be like "oh that was that person."

    Rhandric

    Is it the Terriswoman I think it is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know which Terriswoman you think it is.

    Rhandric

    Tindwyl?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

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    Questioner

    If an Allomancer ate a Forged metal, what happens?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If an Allomancer eats a Forged metal, there is going to be some Investiture in that Forged metal, but it's not going to be keyed the right way, so it'd be like eating a metalmind... If you're asking if the metal was Forged into a different type of metal, the Forgery will take and it will believe and... that's going to get really weird. I have not considered that. That's a "let me think about it." My instincts say that it's going to work like the metal it's become long enough to burn for a few minutes, and then that's going to break the Forgery, and it's going to snap out of it and become the other [original] metal. That’s my instinct, but I’ll have to think about it further. [...] It's going to be really hard to burn a metal that's Invested like that. The magics don't mix real well.

    Kurkistan

    Eh, you can burn metalminds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you can, but it’s from the same "magic set", right? So...

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    EHyde

    I was also wondering, with the Steel Alphabet in the Mistborn books, each of the letters aesthetically looks like it's built from a cuff, a spike, and a bead, and was that intentional to reflect the magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Do remember that that writing system was developed by the Final Empire. They actually took the ancient Terris symbols and they made them more to their own aesthetic over time.

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    EHyde

    I was wondering, on Roshar, what sort of plants and animals do they use for fabrics, because they don't have a lot of woolly animals and the plants are different?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of them are plant-based. I think I've mentioned one of the plants. Theirs are plant-based.

    EHyde

    They have silk though, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It is seasilk, you actually grow it in the water. It's pretty awesome. It comes from the coasts.

    EHyde

    So they don't have anything like our silk, then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you looked at it, you would call that silk, but it is being produced in a very different way.

    EHyde

    But our silk comes from insect cocoons, and they have a lot of that sort of thing, but they don't use it for fiber at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Insect cocoons on Roshar are either, they melt in water and are tied to the highstorm cycle, or they have stone in them. So they don't work really well for textiles. There are certain rockbuds you can shred the inside of the shell and get a textile from them, there's seasilk which you grow out in the ocean, and there are other plants of a similar nature.

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    Questioner

    What planet is Vasher from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He did originate on Nalthis, which is the Warbreaker world, but he worldhopped very early in his life.

    Questioner

    And what planet did he get the ability to change his shape, or is that because he's a Returned?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's because he's a Returned, yes.

    Questioner

    So it's not because he's a Lightweaver?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope. That is a great question, though. He is mostly what he appears to be, with some hidden parts of his past.

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    Questioner

    If the spren that bond people scream when they touch a Shardblade, but then at the end of Words of Radiance Kaladin holds Szeth's honorblade and they do not have a problem with that, why does the Stormfather force Dalinar to get rid of his Honorblade at the end Words of Radiance?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... He does not have an Honorblade at the end of Words of Radiance.

    Questioner

    He does not. Oh, I thought he got it from... [Taln]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's what the assumption is. If you look very closely, the blade that you think he ends up with is described differently from the one that he actually does.

    Footnote: We now know that Taln's Honorblade was swapped for a regular Shardblade somewhere between Kholinar and the Shattered Plains.
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    Kurkistan

    How long does it take a newly-made chair to start thinking of itself as a chair?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on how- is the perception of the people who are using it.

    Kurkistan

    So if it just drifted together in space magically into a chair...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It would not actually start thinking of itself as a chair.

    Argent

    So it's a bit like if a tree falls in a forest, and there's nobody there to hear it...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.