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The Treasure Trove... Artist Sarah Obtinalla

Posted: December 8, 2023

This is the fourth and last entry in a series of special posts related to my new book: The Stranger of Ul Darak.

Please meet artist Sarah Obtinalla, also known as Greydiance, who created the amazing maps and illustrations for The Stranger of Ul Darak. She shares with us her reasons for working on The Stranger of Ul Darak and details about her process.

Sarah Obtinalla Why did you accept to work on The Stranger of Ul Darak?

Sarah: When Steve first approached me for this project, I was instantly intrigued by the richness of the world he was creating. His enthusiasm and passion for this project was infectious in our initial meetings. The scope was to draw a handful of chapter images, a seals diagram, a few partial maps and (the show-stopper) a Main World map - it was the perfect challenge I was seeking at the time. The various realms were mysterious, the storyline was thought-provoking and the trust he had for my artistic style were some of the main reasons I chose to dive deep.

3d rendition of the Tar'Halia Courtyard What process did you follow to create the illustrations for the book?

Sarah: The number of drawings to execute for this publication ranged in size, detail and subject matter - all of which really tested my hand’s flexibility and technique. The drawings were digitally crafted using the Procreate app for iPad, but the strokes were deliberately made to mimic that of a freehand pencil drawing in real life. The virtual paper space allowed me to make quick edits upon request by the author. As well, I was able to scale certain parts larger or smaller without needing to redraw it and the medium gave me the luxury of zooming into tiny details when needed. The most challenging process I can share here was for the “courtyard” partial map: I first created a digital 3D mock-up based on Steve's idea sketch. Then after positioning the view correctly, I was able to capture a bird’s eye (top-down) perspective of the courtyard as the underlay for the final drawing. It was a tricky map to accomplish and these various tools helped my creative process immensely.

Question from a Red Dragon Insider Reader:
What do you enjoy the most about creating art?

Sarah: For me, drawing fantasy illustrations have always helped me stretch my imagination and let me break loose of “real-world” thinking from my day-to-day job working in the field of Architecture. The aspect that I like the most is the collaborative opportunities this hobby-turned-skill has given me. I thoroughly enjoy being the instrument that helps others, like Steve, to visualize and manifest an idea into an illustrative language for an audience. I find that adding illustrations to any book enhances and compliments the written word, and I love being a part of that creation process.

Which illustration was your favourite?

Sarah: I have 2 favourites, and the first one is no surprise! The Main Map has been a labour of love and the one I have spent the most hours detailing every corner. I hope each and every reader can be transported into the Realm of Tyronia and fill in the narrative gaps with their own curiosities. Maps have always been my favourite accessory when reading a fantasy novel, and I hope this one speaks to you too! My second favourite illustration is the chapter image of The Eternal. Mountains are satisfying to draw, and the other-wordly spires hint at something mysterious, which pulls me to discover more about them in the story.

About Sarah Obtinalla

Sarah Obtinalla I am an architectural artist and illustrator specializing in black & white drawings of fantasy worlds, magical landscapes, and imaginary visuals. I hold a Master’s Degree in Architecture, which heavily influences my foundation for art exploration and my skilled approach to illustrating. Sketching fantasy was a life-long hobby that turned into my current passion project on instagram (@greydiance). I help authors and fantasy enthusiasts bring their vision to life on paper.

Connect with Sarah Obtinalla

The Stranger of Ul Darak by S.C. EstonAbout The Stranger of Ul Darak

Sometimes saving a world means rebelling against it.

In an age long forgotten, nineteen hundred and eighty-three Seals were forged—magical disks placed around the world to repel the cosmic chaos beyond.

In the centuries that followed, the Sentinels were tasked with protecting those Seals. For countless generations, they succeeded.

Until now.

At six years old, Shéana is recruited to the order of the Sentinels. A decade later, she displays powers unlike anything any Sentinel has shown before. When she feels the world stirring in pain, she knows the shield surrounding Tyronia has been breached. The great chain is broken. And the order of the Sentinels lies in discord.

In the isolated village of Valdur, young Arth struggles to belong. Spurned by the other children, he ventures south to the endless mountains, and the strange barrier marking the edge of existence. The Final Horizon. Here he witnesses the impossible: a man emerging from beyond the veil—where nothing can possibly exist. A man Arth knows he must protect.

Now the fate of two worlds rests on a knife’s edge. Only the courage of a village boy and the power of a fledgling Sentinel can save them.

But to save their worlds, they must reject all they’ve been taught, leaving behind everyone and everything they’ve ever known.

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Keywords:  Artists , The Treasure Trove , Tyronia , Writing


Also in the Series: The Treasure Trove

  1. The Treasure Trove... Author A. W. Davidson (August 9, 2022)
  2. The Treasure Trove... Author Casie Aufenthie (October 17, 2022)
  3. The Treasure Trove... Author Frasier Armitage (January 10, 2023)
  4. The Treasure Trove... Author S. Z. Attwell (June 18, 2023)
  5. The Treasure Trove... Author Paul Jameson (October 22, 2023)
  6. The Treasure Trove... Editor Kira Rubenthaler (November 16, 2023)
  7. The Treasure Trove... Artist Tom Edwards (November 18, 2023)
  8. The Treasure Trove... Alpha Reader Gaetan Clement (November 29, 2023)
  9. The Treasure Trove... Artist Sarah Obtinalla (December 8, 2023)
  10. The Treasure Trove... Author Hannah D. State (February 23, 2024)

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