The Creation of Saphira’s Eye

Our latest installment in the Art Desk series offers readers a look at the creative process behind one of the Inheritance Cycle’s most iconic illustrations: Saphira’s Eye. Christopher brought the piece to life in 2001 while his family prepared Eragon for publication. Once he finished the drawing, Angela used Photoshop to color the iris sapphire blue. Saphira’s Eye was featured on the cover of the self-published edition of Eragon, first released by the family’s small business in 2002.

Christopher initially found inspiration in a photo of an alligator or crocodile eye he had seen. Using the reptilian image as a base, he began drawing his concept sketches:

Each successive effort brought him closer to his final design and the cover:

Saphira’s Eye posed a unique challenge for Christopher. After many hours dedicated to drawing each scale and its neighbors, he swore that he would never again tackle a project that required so much fine detail. Of course, we all know that he didn’t keep that promise! A glutton for punishment, he eventually went on to draw Thorn, Glaedr, and Shruikan’s eyes.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our Etsy store for prints of Saphira’s Eye!

Immanuela Meijer and Mike Macauley

Mike and Immanuela

Mike Macauley runs, and Immanuela is the Paolinis' assistant.