Every time readers pick up a novel the first thing they see is said novel’s cover. In the galaxy far, far, away, readers are always lucky to have wonderful covers gracing their favorite novels. Now we talk to one of those people who makes that happen, Dave Seeley. David is an artist for publishing as well as other sources and was nice enough to sit down with Andrew and discuss his work on the recent Shadows of Mindor, as well as the upcoming Blood Oath.
EU Cantina (EUC): Greetings, Mr. Seeley, and welcome to EUC! We’re very happy to have you here
David Seeley (DS): Glad to virtually be here! Thanks….
EUC: Not a problem, thank you! So, how are you are? You must be excited, with the recent release of Mindor and the upcoming release of Blood Oath.
DS: I can’t complain, given the economic hammering of the publishing industry. I’m still busy, and holding my breath! I’m happy to have Blood Oath coming out, and Mindor on the stands…. But the excitement is long over. Understand that there is often a long lag between finishing an image, and having it “revealed.”
I completed the image for Blood Oath on October 27th of last year. After that, there was still a bunch of back and forth over the book between Lucasfilm and Del Rey… and finally the announcement. Typically at that point, I have completed several more images, and have my head down on some other job, so when it hits the airwaves, it takes me by surprise.
That’s not at all uncommon in publishing, where I finish images and often wait 9 months to a year before they are on the stands.
EUC: Very interesting to know. Now, Blood Oath, was recently pushed back. Was that a little disappointing to you?
DS: Not at all…. I’m OK with the wait… you get used to it. I was truly disappointed when they cancelled “Escape from Dagu”, because it was the public death of my image, along with the story.
EUC: I’m sorry to hear that, but you always have Star Wars. For the Blood Oath cover, what were you given to work off of, if anything?
DS: I was told that it needed to feature Zekk as the main character… and in his early thirties. The web is the best way to research all that is SWs, and I launched in to collecting all of Zekk’s prior depictions in order to give me a sense of what he might look like.
It’s fun to do characters at a different age. I got to do that with Thrawn for Outbound Flight, where Lucasfilm was very happy with my YOUNGER version. On Blood Oath, I was also told that the Zel twins could appear, and they had been established to have a strong resemblance to Tenel Ka, so I collected all of her likenesses as well.
EUC: Now that’s cool. Were your surprised that the art you did for C IV made it into an actual cover?
DS: Not surprised, but I was pleased when I sent the image to my art director at Del Rey (who hadn’t been involved in the C IV art vetting process) and he told me that he might have the perfect project for it. I knew there was a decent chance at that point, but didn’t know the title. I thought that the image was strong enough to make its way to print, so I was not so surprised, but quite pleased to see it used.
I love that it made it’s way to the eyes of so many more fans, and it has also helped friends at www.heroicfineart.com sell the remaining C IV Luke prints, so that’s nice. Also, it was then great to be able to wrangle the back jacket image with Shadowspawn!
EUC: Heck yes! I’m a huge Skywalker fan myself, so seeing both rocked. Had you had any Expanded Universe knowledge before doing the covers of these novels?
DS: I was introduced to the EU with Rebel Dream and Rebel Stand…. I had no idea that there even WAS an expanded universe when I was assigned those novels, so that was my initiation. I’d lost touch with Star Wars at that point in my life.
It’s been fun to to get to know the universe again with my son, now 13, who has grown up during my professional association with Lucasfilm, and now is my go-to man for detail questions.
EUC: Now THAT is awesome. How did you get into doing book covers and where can we find others you have done?
DS: I was an architect (and fan boy) from 1984 to about 1995, when I began a switch to a career in illustration. I began by doing CCG (Collectible Card Game) art, but quickly discovered that I enjoyed far more complex (busy) pictures than would work on 2″ tall cards…. so I began to hunt down book cover work.
After a few years, and making many “samples.”, I had some success and began to make book cover images. The best place to see my work, is my site www.daveseeley.com. There are also some Star Wars originals in the
shop, with large details.
EUC: What a story! What is your favorite piece of your own art collection?
DS: Of the pieces I have made? (I’m also a minor league collector…though it would be very hard to pic a fave.) Of my own stuff, it’s very hard to tell until time has passed, because there is always a “honeymoon blush” on recent pieces. The cover image for the Healer image is still a favorite for sure.
The Marque and Reprisal image for the Elizabeth Moon Vatta Wars series is also still quite a favorite. I’m pretty happy with an image for Solaris Books called
The image I finished recently for Karl Shroeder’s Virga series books is up there, but still heavy on the honeymoon thing. If you visit my site, I tend to push pieces I like best toward the top of the thumbnail grids on the right.
EUC: Ah, so that’s your trade secret. Are you working on any other Star Wars art that you are able to share about to us?
DS: Not at the moment….. (If I was, I couldn’t say so). I’m hoping that the positive fan response to Mindor and Blood Oath will keep me in the good graces of Del Rey / Lucasfilm, so I’ll keep my virtual fingers crossed. Thanks helping that along!
EUC: No, thank you for joining us and much luck to you and we hope to see more SW novels with your covers in the future.
DS: Thanks! Me too!