We are thrilled to offer the first installment of “Christopher’s Art Desk”, a regular series on Paolini.net, offering readers a glimpse into Christopher’s illustration process, from early references and concept sketches to the final pieces. Many of these have never been shown before. We’ll be adding new selections based on the Inheritance Cycle and other original works in coming weeks and months.
Our first Art Desk entry explores the process behind Christopher’s illustration of Aren, Brom’s elven ring, originally created for the Deluxe Edition of Eldest.
Aren was first gifted to Brom by Queen Islanzadí, marking him as a friend to the elves. Set within the ring was a large sapphire with the elven yawë etched upon its surface. This gemstone allowed for storing massive amounts of energy to be used to empower spells in a time of need. In the years leading up to his untimely death, Brom stored substantial amounts of spare energy within the ring which Eragon later used to aid the Varden in the siege of Dras-Leona.
Christopher’s vision for the illustration was originally inspired by a family ring featuring the Paolini family crest. He first took a photo of the ring in the position he intended to capture Aren in – resting on the edge of a table, the ring’s face toward the camera.
With a reference photo to work from, Christopher began the illustration process by sketching a rough concept outlining the pose and overall lighting of Brom’s ring.
Having finalized the ring’s positioning and overall lighting, Christopher sought the proper shape, size, and placement for the ring’s most important feature: the yawë etched upon the face of the gemstone.
Christopher’s third and final sketch melded his previous sketches and reference photo into a piece capturing the shape, placement, lighting, and shadows intended for the final piece. This concept sketch is what Christopher worked off of to create the final illustration.
Christopher’s completed illustration of Aren was released in the Deluxe Edition of Eldest in 2006. The illustration was later re-released in 2012 in the Deluxe Edition of Inheritance.
Below is a gallery offering full previews of the reference photo, concept sketches, and final illustration:
Christopher’s Art Desk is an ongoing series on Paolini.net. Look for more installations featuring various pieces of Christopher’s art in the future.