Monday, March 23, 2020

Guest Post: Books Come Alive with Art! by Tara Tyler

Author Tara Tyler is taking over my blog today. Enjoy!


Taking Back Beast World, Phase 2. Disney/Pixar's Onward came out Mar 6 with a setting strangely close to BEAST WORLD. It's time to speak out again--in a positive way!

Heather is a true artist. She has a unique style and brings characters to life with her art -- she's amazing! So glad to be here today!


Gabe has come a long way...

I'm no artist, but I like to play with shapes and create images of my characters - especially from Beast World. I needed a Gabe, and this guy came to mind (similar to my big-headed caricatures of myself) Confident, smart, a little snarky, and ready to make some changes.

But I wanted some professional illustrations. Back then, I had a tremendously talented teenager living nearby (she went on to graduate from the U of Cincy with a prestigious art degree!) Laura Kramer gave me a ton of sketches and illustrations to use in my books and promotions. Here are some of her "Gabes"

First renditions of Gabe for BBF
Gabe & Ona from Cradle Rock

As you can see, he went from starry-eyed and self-conscious to more self-assured and hopeful with Ona. But their relationship has plenty of ups and downs, as most do!

Soon, Laura graduated and got a new job and started "adulting" so she didn't have much time to work for me anymore. I sure appreciate all the drawings she provided. Art really helps people see the characters, like a preview of the story... To complete the set, I've asked her to try fitting in some Windy Hollow illustrations... Since it's my book, I can add them whenever she gets to them!

Then all of a sudden, that movie (Onward) came out. And their main character mimmicks Gabe to a T - except for the coloring. What do you think?

Every time one of my readers sees the trailer, they contact me about it. My niece went nuts over it (and she's 30!) It feels good knowing I'm not the only one who felt robbed.

So I wanted to give Gabe an update. He deserves a new look. I tried a couple things myself...

This Gabe didn't feel right (I don't have to remind you I'm no artist!) It didn't capture his personality. Too generic!

Then I made these works in progress because I wanted dolls... Harder than I thought!

Finally, I found a way to display the true Gabe of today, with talent sitting right under my nose! Heather!

Here's Heather's awesome version of Gabe the goblin.

Couldn't be happier with the end product. I'm hoping I can commission more characters. She captured him perfectly, his teenage playfulness, confident and hopeful, smart, and ready to go take on anything!

Do you art? Ever sketch or pick images for your characters?
How do you visualize your books?

Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her husband and one boy left in the nest. She has two novel series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit in all these projects, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might write a book on that... Make every day an adventure!

How to find:
twitter: @taratylertalks
Instagram: taratylertalks
newsletter: tara tyler news


  1. I think Heather did a great job on Gabe. Her style melded well with the character.

  2. Nice job with Gabe, Heather! Woohoo!

  3. Hi, Heather! And Tara. I am about to watch Onward actually so, this is pretty cool to see, the drawing of Gabe. Well. hope to see you around! :)

  4. I love Heather's version of Gabe. You're right- she did a great job!

  5. Heather is amazing! Unmistakable talent!
    Thanks you guys for stopping by and supporting Beast World!

    and Heather, i’m glad we are friends! more commissions on the way!