On her blog, Ursula Le Guin has announced that Saga Press will be publishing a collected edition of all her Earthsea tales for the 50th anniversary of A Wizard of Earthsea in 2018. In addition to the already published novels and stories, Ms. Le Guin is adding a retrospective essay and a new story, “The Daughter of Odren”. And the volumes will be illustrated by Charles Vess, who has worked as a fantasy illustrator for books and comics, notably with Neil Gaiman on Sandman, The Books of Magic, and, above all, Stardust.
Ms. Le Guin details some of the collaborative effort involved in getting her mental image of an Earthsea dragon into Mr. Vess’s physical drawings:
A fascinating process, but not an easy process for either of us, I think … Two different, intense temperaments; two independent people with a sense of mastery in their respective crafts; one on the East Coast, one on the West, a continent between them … But the concordances, the understandings, the growing confidence, the trust, are the fuel that keeps the fire burning.
The results below show that the process is (nearly) there:
Title Page for Saga Press The Books of Earthsea. Art by Charles Vess.
Wraparound cover illustration, The Books of Earthsea. Art by Charles Vess.
Frontispiece, Tehanu: “Tenar greets the dragon Kalessin and his burden, Ged, exhausted and drained of any energy or power.” Art by Charles Vess.