I've had the privilege of working with several talented artists over the years, many of who have become good friends, but it was Jose's style that matched best the mood and theme I was going for. I didn't want the characters or settings to be defined so much as "hinted" at. The art needed to inspire its viewers with wonder, mystery and sense of danger. Jose has this uncanny ability of capturing the essence of a scene, while still leaving much to the imagination.
We talked for a couple of days as to who the farmer was, where he came from, what he was after. And after going through several drafts and back and forth on ideas, Jose encapsulated it all wonderfully with the painting below, entitled: "The Burn."
I was impressed that Jose was able to include so many of the ideas behind the book into one image. That's not an easy task. Below is another variant of it entitled: "The Apple." Ultimately, I preferred the first, but this one is worth mentioning because the prominent addition of the dog. Like any good concept artist, Jose embellished upon several ideas I gave him and the dog just kind of showed up - though at the time there was no mention of him in my story. "Farmers always have dogs, don't they?" he said to me.
My grandfather was a farmer, and his place was littered with CATS.
But I thought about it, and was struck with an idea as to what a dog would mean to the farmer and how it could play out in a scene I was writing at the time. I love the result, and when you read the book, you'll know EXACTLY which scene I'm hinting at.