Without further ado, I’m happy to share Heritage Lost‘s cover, which features lead character Katya Cassius and the Oneiroi toddler she rescues, Sotiris Sarris. Maria Freed aka MissChibiArtist is the artist behind this beautiful cover. I had the good fortune to meet Maria during last year’s Hall of Heroes Comic Con, which occurs annually in Elkhart, IN.
Since then, we’ve communicated back and forth as I waited to hear back on a couple of my last queries before kicking off the cover design process in July. I loaded her down with reference photos and a general idea of what I was looking for in regards to the concept, including different bits of symbolism that I wanted to appear in the piece.
She really captured the dream-like quality I was looking for. My Oneiroi are loosely inspired by Greek mythology’s like-named deities, who are the children of Nyx and serve as the personifications of dreams. Their species’ abilities are capable of producing a nightmarish effect in a number of non-Oneiroi species, which has made them invaluable to Res Publica de Magistratus–more commonly called the Magistrate.
The entire process was enjoyable, and it was fun to see two of my characters brought to life. Maria truly captured Katya’s determination. When taking up a cause, she will die on that hill. As for Sotiris, you’ll have to read the book to find out what’s up with him.
With this grand reveal, I wanted to share more about the artist behind the cover with a little Q&A, which includes information about how to commission a piece from Maria.
Q&A With The Artist
Q: Tell us a little bit about your art background and your style.
A: I’ve been a lover of art since a very young age, and I could often be found with a coloring book and pencils in hand. Without any formal art training, I spent the following years learning everything I could on my own. In 2018, I made my first big steps into freelance illustration. I now travel a lot during the year to sell my fantasy illustration at comic conventions. My main medium is digital art, and I paint either in Photoshop or Procreate. While I describe my style as semi-realism, there is definitely an influence from my love of Japanese comics growing up.
Q: What type of commissions do you offer?
A: My commission work focuses on character illustration with a tendency toward fantasy and science fiction.
Q: For writers seeking to commission you for a piece, how do they begin the process?
A: The best way to start the commission process is to connect with me through my email firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide a bit of information on what you are looking for, and if I feel I’m a good fit for the project, I’ll send a quote and ask for further details.
Q: What genres are your favorites to work in?
A: My favorite genres include supernatural, action/adventure, fantasy, and science fiction.
Q: What materials should writers have ready to make the process easier?
A: When I begin the commission process, the first thing I ask for is a detailed reference of the character(s) and style. It’s great if the client has gathered lots of reference prior to starting the process. I like to collect a mood-board of images – characters with a similar appearance or style, book covers in the same genre, and any images that carry the desired overall feeling. The more reference material I have, the faster and smoother the process goes for me.
Q: Explain the commission process. What can people expect?
A: Depending on the complexity, the commission process can take anywhere from 2-4 months. I keep in close communication through the whole process and generally send weekly updates with peeks at the progress.
Q: You attend a lot of comic conventions. Which ones do you usually attend? Are there any coming up?
A: Some of my favorite conventions are Indiana Comic Con in Indianapolis, IN, Hall of Heroes Comic Con in Elkhart, IN, and Dokidokon in Kalamazoo, MI.
My next convention will be Grand Rapids Comic Con November 8-10. My convention list changes up a lot every year, so if you want to see where I’ll be next, check the convention list on the info page of my website misschibiartist.com.
Q: Where can people go to check out your artwork online?
A: My portfolio is available on my website misschibiartist.com. I post a lot of progress and new work regularly on my Instagram @misschibiartist as well. To take a look into my painting process, I have timelapse painting videos on my YouTube, YouTube.com/misschibiartist. I also have an online store where I sell prints on Etsy – etsy.com/shop/misschibiartist.