Born in 1983 in Kalgup, Western Australia, Aaron began his 3D career at age 12 with a gift of 3D Max tutorials. It was a hobby until he turned 18 and attended KVB Institute of Technology in Sydney and became a Maya artist.
He's worked at Cutting Edge in Brisbane and Post Modern in Sydney on film and TV including Daybreakers and Australia. He's also done many free-lance projects varying from Sea Monsters to the writing, directing, filming and animating Sleep Walker.
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This was my first go at a cover illustration. (you can follow the process in the time laps video) I used a combination of hand painting, photo manipulation and 3D modelling to rough out the general composition. Once HarperCollins Aus was happy with that, the real painting started to take shape by painting over the top of the rough to get a unified look. There were some last minute changes including additional Australian flora. At one point I flipped the image to check the balance and realised the eye followed the path better that way so it stuck.
I’m please with the results and surprised how much I’ve enjoyed doing book covers. It was my first venture into 2D. The scene itself was and intense one (I've read all the books). This shows Daos in wolf form confronting Tryn and her Were-fey Quill. Bree, true to her character, is running! The Were-fay was particularly fun to do as it's the first one ever drawn, being a creature of Gaela with no 'real' reference.
As an alpha reader for Kim's books, I was asked to suggest a scene that would capture the epic scale of the story as well as touch on a significant moment. There were a few discussed but we all came to agree on this one. I'm glad we did. It offered a chance to show Timbali Temple, a pivotal part of the landscape and fun to bring to life. I wanted to capture the serenity and power of the place, and also the stormy times it was going through.
The loan figure is Cortesa Lemur, a strong and somewhat dark protagonist in one of the main plot lines. She's at a point in the story where she has to make a terrible choice. I wanted to show how alone she was in it, and also her resolve as her raven launches to deliver the message. There's no going back.
We know Tryn is nearby because we see her Were-fey, Quillian, in the sky. Unlike my sunnier depiction of this creature in Path of the Stray, here I had a chance to give him a wilder look and show his incredible agility in flight. It's truly one of my favourite moments in the book!
I'd dog-eared this scene the first time I read the manuscript. It's a particularly hair- raising moment in the story. Nellion Paree, a young priestess from Treeon Temple, is sent to change the course of five rivers. Backed by Rowan An' Lawrence, she is attempting to isolate the enemy threat and turn the tide on the temple wars. Inadvertently she wakes Pasillo, the spell out of time, and so the journey really begins.
It was easy for me to create the feeling of water as a power element, being raised near the ocean and having a strong connection to it as well. The scene is set in the middle of the night though, so colours are muted and the clouds, river and moon all symbolise the emotional pull of the moment. There is a lot at stake. I wanted to show Nellion focused on controlling the magic and her raven familiars, the Three Sisters, reveling in it. I thought it was important to keep Rowan far in the distance as this scene is about Nell and her power, not his. I didn't want him taking over, so I left him busy holding his horse.
It was an interesting contrast to go with such a dark image and work with shadows and highlights while keeping the feel of night. It suites the title and hints at the magic and power Nell has awakened--another favourite scene.