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Meet the 5W Team (Part 1)

Jun 05, 2018 by Mark Siegel


Hi everyone! I'd like to introduce my teammates on 5 Worlds in the next few blog posts...

Today, let's start with Xanthe Bouma.

Xanthe joined the 5 Worlds project along with fellow MICA alums Matt Rockefeller and Boya Sun. They had taken classes with the brilliant Sam Bosma and Kali Ciesemier who suggested I get in touch with these wunderkinds... And what a lightning bolt of inspiration it was discovering their work...

At the time, my brother Alexis and I had been working up much of the five-book story arc for the series, and I'd filled a few sketchbooks with preliminary doodles and studies. We shared all we had with Matt, Boya, and Xanthe, who then set out to redesign the characters and places, and create a sampler of comics pages, which got us the contract with Penguin Random House!

Very quickly once we got working together, a team dynamic and a very unique partnership developed between us. All three artists drew entire scenes of the story, but we also discovered each other's particular strengths and talents. Xanthe, for one, brings to bear an extraordinary sensitivity and feeling for the inner life of characters, their expression, their movement—the acting

A lot of visual research went into the SAND DANCING ART, a central element of the 5 Worlds story. Xanthe designed much of that, including key gestures and poses to produce specific results, and variations in Sand Dancing techniques from one world to another...

Later in the process, Xanthe handles the key color, designing palettes for different moods and locations—a huge part of what makes 5 Worlds such a unique reading experience. 

For more about our team process, check out this little video with my commentary from a visit to the San Francisco Public Library, and see the team at work!

And if you haven't already, be sure to order yourself a copy of 5W1: THE SAND WARRIOR, and 5W2: THE COBALT PRINCE, now available everywhere!