Mike Hamlett and I met online on a comic book artist website about ten years ago. I was searching for an artist who could render some inspirational pieces for me to help me, and I sent him some ideas in an email for Danelos, Aleta, Brandon, and Sarah. As if destined to be, our collaboration bore fruit with the sketches on the Characters page.
He had it dead on.
I knew from that moment that the fate of my novel was in Mike's capable hands. It was from those sketches that I drew more inspiration that I could possibly have had I been inspired by the Muses themselves. He also added another picture to the collection, a color picture, that provided me—for the first time—a clear picture of just who my four characters were, in the "flesh", so to speak. It was almost like bringing offspring into the world, and I, the proud papa.
|Task Force: Gaea, circa 2002|
Flashforward ten years: 2011. I looked up my old friend on deviantart.com, and I found that his art had changed, but I was still as enrapt as I had been a decade earlier on seeing the first pieces. After contacting Mike, he was quite willing to revisit my characters, so I sent him his original four sketches. He informed me that he had indeed changed his style of art. I received sketches of ideas for the cover that looked similar to his original work, and I felt reinvigorated. My artistic muse had indeed sparked my creativity once more.
When I decided to pursue the CreateSpace avenue for independent publishing, knowing I would have a paperback version of my novel, I felt exhilarated at the prospect of holding a tangible copy of Task Force: Gaea in my hand. As I created the cover for the book, I used the new image of the team, the one featured to the left, and my amazement over seeing such living characters made my heart skip a little. Some parents bring forth human children; my 27 year pregnancy was about to bear a different kind of offspring, but one I would be proud of nonetheless.
|Sarah aka Aether and Danelos aka Aegis|
Probably what impresses me the most about his work for my novel is the level of detail he brings to each character's design, whether its Sarah's silver zipper on her jumpsuit or the amulet that Brandon wears—each detail enhances the overall appearance and feel of the characters, giving them a pulse, so to speak.
I cannot thank Mike enough for the magical work he has done, and I plan on asking him to do the art for the sequels as well.
Please check out his deviantart site so you can see the awesome talent of this man who has been more a part of my work than he could know. This graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has certainly earned the admiration of many, since just about everyone who sees the novel has to ask, "Who did the art? It's fantastic."
|Aleta aka Aetos and Brandon aka Zodiak|
Well, the answer is Mike Hamlett.