Those of you who have followed me for some time may have noticed a shocking transformation in Aura on the cover of A Path of Stones. She isn’t wearing her usual red bikini, gloves, and boots.
That garb is Aura’s enchantress outfit. She won’t wear it until the third book. She wears a brown dress in A Path of Stones and The Fires of Tallen Hall. I wanted the covers of those two books to reflect the character inside. Yet, she isn’t wearing a brown dress. Why? Necessity!
If you’ve ever worked with 3D art, you know what I’m going to say about dresses and dramatic poses. Anything in 3D is a wire mesh. Getting a dress to fit an action pose is like bending chicken wire. It ain’t happening. So, if I won’t put Aura in her enchantress outfit, and I can’t use a dress, that left only a blouse and pants.
This outfit conforms to whatever pose I choose. Nice. I added the cloak to give her more of the appearance of a wizardess.
Is it permissible to dress a character in something other than what he or she wears in the book? Yes. I’ll name two examples. The first is Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. On every cover, Harry Dresden wears a hat. He never does in the story. That is an inside joke between Butcher and his artist. The second is Frank Frazetta. He usually painted Conan the Barbarian in a loincloth, and otherwise naked. Yet, in half the stories, Conan wears armor or clothes like everyone else. If Frazetta can get away with it, so can I.
This outfit also reflects something Aura will wear in upcoming books. Not everyone views an enchantress with respect. It’s that seductive reputation. So, when Aura travels, she will dress as a middling merchant until she learns the lay of the land.