Though I’ve not read S.G. Rogers’s The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn, I’ll admit that I like Joe’s illustration of protagonist Ilene McMillan far better than the actual cover art. The hyper-photogenic model with the pink goat doesn’t sell me the book, to be honest. Instead I feel it overemphasizes the “Young Adult” status of the story. While I don’t object to YA books and feel there are many excellent authors in the field—S.G. Rogers likely among them—it’s an area that gets often criticized for it’s overuse of tropes and clichés; having a cliché cover strikes me as a rather poor marketing tactic.
(Plus, the pink goat is just really, really creepy.)
No, indeed, I feel Joe’s version of temp wizard Ilene evokes a far more interesting heroine than does the doll-faced model in the cover art. Our flaxy-haired spell-caster looks well-traveled and worldly, rather than sultry and somewhat bored. I like that Ilene’s hair and outfit are slightly windblown and her face dirty, like she’s in from the road after days of wandering from town to town trying to find work. Too, in no way did Joe idealize her features: her face is plain—slightly mannish, even—and her figure is healthy, but not unrealistically athletic or super-model skinny. An effective and compelling characterization, and Joe captures it smartly in his illustration.
The road is long, but Ilene is smart enough to layer up when traveling. Though kind of a homely outfit, it’s durable and practical, unlike some of the delicate-looking outfits that some of the more flamboyant spell-casters seem to prefer. Her dusty-pink mantle protects her shoulders and can likely be pulled over her head to protect from the sun and rain while on the road. Ilene’s long dress and over-tunic are the same dusty-pink, offering full-length cover from the wind and weather. Though perhaps a bit long for a forest trek, and thus prone to snagging on brush and brambles, it should still be perfectly effective for the open road. Beneath the tunic, our heroine wears a long, grey shirt to protect her arms from the weather, but loose enough for intricate spell-casting gestures.
Ilene’s worn leather satchel is her only accessory, but a very useful one. Even assuming it’s not enchanted somehow (I haven’t read the story, so I’ve no idea if that’s a possibility), it should still be sufficient for carrying our heroine’s travel supplies. Travel rations, canteens, spare cash, spell components, assorted potions, a change of underwear, magic items, reading material, any number of essential road supplies might be tucked away inside that satchel. Plus, satchels are awesome. I’ll fight any man who suggests otherwise.
Thanks again to Joe for letting me borrow his wizard. Feel free to check out his online galleries as well. Take care and thanks for reading, folks!