Interview: Todd Lockwood Talks Terry Brooks


brooks-wardsWards of Faerie by Terry Brooks publishes Tuesday, August 21, 2012!

It is a special book. 2012 marks the 35th anniversary of Terry publishing his debut The Sword of Shannara, the foundational book of Del Rey Books. That book had a full-color foldout illustrated by the Hildebrandt Bros. that left an indelible impression on readers who opened up that book for the first time.

And as a fan, I loved that fold-out.

I’m not the only one.

Finally, after all of these years and to celebrate the publication of Wards of Faerie, Del Rey decided to hire artist Todd Lockwood to paint a full-color interior to be placed in the book!

Todd and Terry talked extensively about the scene during its creation. As a result, it is a gorgeous piece, one that reflects the characters and setting of the book.

I decided to interview Todd about it!


Shawn Speakman: WARDS OF FAERIE, Book I in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy, publishes next week on August 21st. You contributed full-color interior artwork for the book. How did that come about?

Todd Lockwood: A good friend of mine, Shawn Speakman, is Terry’s webmaster and continuity editor. We met years ago through Shawn’s business The Signed Page, when he brought some books down to my studio to be signed. He introduced Terry to my work, and Terry was enthusiastic enough to ask if I would be interested in doing this interior painting. The answer, of course, was “of course!”

SS: Talk a bit about the steps you take from being hired to finished art?

TL: The first step is always information gathering: reading manuscripts or excerpts (usually excerpts due to time constraints); asking questions that the text doesn’t answer about the physical appearance, background, and personalities of characters; and collecting visual reference of terrain, costumes, and anything else useful that I don’t already have in my files.

Then I do thumbnails, generally seven or eight, but occasionally as many as twenty. From these I pick the best and tighten them up until I have it whittled down to one to five images that I’m willing to show the art director. There’s a round of back-and-forth over particulars, and then I do a tighter sketch with character’s poses gestured in, freehand, and composition refined to establish major transitions of value, lines of movement, scale, depth, light environment, and so on.

With that approved, I hire models and shoot the photo reference for my characters with the gesture sketches as a guide. The value sketch informs this stage heavily, so it’s important to know what my POV is, so that the camera is at the right height and distance relative to the models, and the lighting agrees with the scene.

Next, I do the final drawing with important details delineated, and submit that for approval.

When the drawing is approved, the painting begins. I will often send progress shots along the way, especially when I render character’s faces, to catch any opinions before the due date. When all is complete, there may be a round or two of minor tweaks, and then the finished file is uploaded.

SS: Wow, that is a helluva process!

TL: It mostly definitely is.

The cover for Unfettered by Todd Lockwood

SS: When THE SWORD OF SHANNARA published in 1977, it too had a full-color insert, one done by the Hildebrandt Bros. What is it like following in the footsteps of the Hildebrandt Bros.? Did they inspire at all for the piece you painted?

TL: I grew up on the Hildebrandt Brothers! Because of them, I always wished I had a twin brother. Seriously. Especially when deadlines were tight…

I could not be more honored. It’s a serious thrill to work on the series they helped to found. That said, I deliberately did not look at any of their previous work on the series. I’m not sure I could express why… intimidation? Concern that it would influence me overly? This time in the world’s timeline is removed from the timeline that they painted, so it should look different, as different as 15th century France was from Gaul before the Romans.

SS: Can people order prints of the WARDS OF FAERIE artwork you did?

TL: They most certainly can. Right HERE!

SS: I love that piece of artwork. Will you be doing artwork for the sequels to WARDS OF FAERIE—BLOODFIRE QUEST and WITCH WRAITH?

TL: Yes! I’ve begun the first stages on Bloodfire Quest already, and I promise you, it is going to rock. Terry suggested a scene which is mind-bending and will be great fun to paint.

SS: What are you working on now? I hear you are writing as well as painting…?

TL: Ha ha! Yes, I have Magic Cards, book covers for Jennifer Roberson and CJ Cherryh to finish, as well as a large private commission for Blizzard, an oil painting 30×40 which will hang in their corporate halls. Then I have signed a contract with DAW Books for a novel, the first in a YA trilogy, that I am dying to get started on. Writing and painting coexist now, and I’m really looking forward to developing my own properties.

The Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks with a full-color interior illustration by Todd Lockwood will publish August 21, 2012!

To see Todd’s work, visit!