Book illustration by Book Illustrator Duncan Long - Swordsmith Alejandro Delgado

It’s funny how sometimes a picture can spring into an artist’s mind fully finished (for all practical purposes); no question about the layout, how the character will hold his arms, what colors to use. The vision appears full grown, like armored Athena springing from the head of Zeus.

Sometimes such illustrations are triggered by a dream, more by often a story. In the case of the illustration (above) that I created today, the picture was triggered by John Chadwell’s novel Werewolves of New Idria.

In his story, Chadwell mentions (briefly) that the magic sword (christened “Tizona”) was created by master bladesmith Alejandro Delgado. The blade is based on an actual historical weapon which eventually was carried into battle by El Cid when he defended Spain from Moorish invaders.

Now the character is minor; the story didn’t really need an illustration of the swordsmith making the blade. Chadwell hadn’t asked me to create it. But the moment I read about Delgado, the illustration was there in mind and I felt compelled to create it, using the pose and colors that had been there in my mind, waiting to be painted.

When I was finished, I sent a copy to Chadwell who kindly added it to the gallery at his site (and I’m adding a slightly larger version to my online galleries as well in the Werewolves of New Idria gallery).

While I’m on the subject, I should note that you can read Chadwell’s novel of werewolves, magic, and mayhem online (as well as see some artwork to go with the story) at:

Duncan Long is a freelance magazine and book cover illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, American Media, Fort Ross, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and many other publishers. See more of Duncan’s book cover illustrations — including a few with werewolves — at: