Like any creator, I always feel as though I am my hardest critic. When I look back on my art, I think that I could have done better because my skills developed in that time. Though I often am frustrated by this, I have come to learn that I am going to continue to grow in my crafts, not to expect myself to be perfect, but always strive to do the best that I can in everything I do. I realize how important growth is, and I will be learning a lot throughout my journey.
The map found in the Rise of the Griffins was not planned until my publishers brought up the idea. I was so focused on getting the book published after so many rejections that I did not even think about the possibility of featuring any of my artwork in the book. I was so excited that they wanted to use my artwork for the cover and map, and I had tons of sketches ready.
Throwing rice on paper and tracing the outline was not yet a viral fantasy map-creating hack at that point in time, so I had done my map the old-fashioned way. Sketches are fine and dandy, but there was still so much that I needed to learn about map-making before feeling confident enough to have my map published. After a ton of research and practice on how to draw map features like mountains, structures, etc., I still found my overall design lacking.
There are so many different styles in map making, and I just didn't know what style perfectly fit the Hale series. All I knew was that I wanted something unique, with a beautiful rounded frame indicating the world, guarded by two griffins and the moons they are blessed with during the Welcoming Moon ceremony.
After a ton of color redesign and trial and error, I finally came up with the map we see in Book 1, The Rise of the Griffins.
I was so proud of it. It felt whimsical, it fit the story perfectly in my eyes, and it depicted all the places we see in the book. For those that have read Book 1, know that you have not yet experienced the many lands on the map like the Banshee Forest, Emsequet, the Gorges of Navmala, not the Isles of Nepenth.
Had the first draft of The Prophet's Journal not been complete upon the publication of my first book, I would not have known what lands lived between The Griffin Clan and the Kingdom of Bimmorus.
At the time, I felt that this map was perfect for the first two books in the series until I got the itch to change it.
Many people might not spot the differences between the two maps, and that is okay with me as I was the only person I wanted to appease. I perfected the line art, cleaned up anything inconsistent, added dimension with tons of shading, and made many elements more detailed until I expelled a sigh of satisfaction.
A creator's itch can be suppressed only so long before they must scratch it... like chickenpox!
The whimsical aspect is toned down. This is a more serious and mature version of the previous map to fit the themes found in this book. A cute and small addition I made is the inclusion of Palla's Bungalow and The Dark Shaman's home on the outskirts of the Arketcha tribe.
While I am so happy with the way it turned out, I do not expect to stick with this map forever as Hale's world will continue to grow, and we will discover many new places along the way—like in the third book, which is at this point in time, half complete.
Im so excited my readers finally get to see the new and dangerous lands not discussed in the first book. And with these lands, you will experience tons of unique fantasy creatures as well!
For those who are interested in making maps of your own, check out my post: How to Map Out Your Fantasy World. No, there is no rice involved. All you will need is a lot of love and the readiness to unlock your creativity.
To any creators who relate to this, remember growth is a strength. Be proud of what you have accomplished and all you have learned. Most importantly, if you have the itch, scratch it with no regrets!
And without further adieu, some zoom art!
Hale: The Prophet's Journal will make its official release in November 2023.
For anyone who would like to read this book earlier than the release date, with no cost to you, all you have to do is leave your review for The Rise of the Griffins on Goodreads or Amazon, send us a snapshot to email@example.com, or DM me through Instagram (@jknobleauthor).
Signed copies are ready for distribution for any qualified members of the JK Noble Friends and Family group. If you are not yet part of this group but want to be, you are welcome to join. Simply message me through email or Instagram.
The proceeds of this book will be donated to the Encourage Literacy Foundation which provides books to children across the globe.
A big thank you to all my supporters and fans. You are truly appreciated.