The character of Saphira began, as so many things do, as a daydream. A daydream of a dragon who could fly and fight and breathe fire. And most importantly, who might be your best friend (assuming she liked you), no matter what. It was an enormously appealing thought.
So, I started to plot and write what would become ERAGON. A few drafts later, it was time to make a cover for the self-published edition. The challenge was to devise an image striking and beautiful enough to interest a prospective reader. I sketched out a few ideas: some were of Eragon and Zar’roc, others of Eragon and Saphira, and still others of Saphira and Zar’roc. None of them felt quite right, until . . . I thought of Saphira’s eye.
Then it became obvious.
As a proof of concept, I did a sketch of crocodile’s eye based off a picture in National Geographic. It turned out better than I expected, so I moved forward with plans for Saphira’s eye. Funnily enough, my main memory of drawing that sketch is of lying on the floor and listening to the results of the 2001 U.S. presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Strange days indeed.
The hardest part of drawing Saphira’s eye was trying to capture some sense of her personality. Mainly, I wanted the image to feel fierce and focused, much like Saphira herself (even if I wasn’t up to the task of rendering her gem-like scales at the time). To quote from the books:
"She was like a hawk or falcon with her hard, sparkling eyes under their bony ridges, the fierce arch of her neck, and the lean strength etched into every line of her body. She was a huntress, and endowed with all the savage beauty that the term implied."
"Nasuada swallowed as Saphira’s consciousness brushed against her own. Saphira felt unlike any other being Nasuada had encountered: ancient, alien, and both ferocious and gentle."
Saphira’s eye was an enormously satisfying project, although I hope to never draw something with so many scales again. The piece, along with Thorn’s eye and Glaedr’s eye, just about drove me bonkers.
The eye was used as the original cover art for ERAGON, and it was with that cover I sold the book and series to the Alfred A. Knopf imprint at Random House. And of course, later on, it was printed inside every regular Knopf edition of ERAGON, ELDEST, BRISINGR, and INHERITANCE (as well as numerous special editions). In many ways, the eye has become as much a symbol of the series as John Jude Palencar’s famous cover art.
Some relevant stats about the giclées:
Paper: Baryta, semi-glossy, archival
Size: 10.75” x 11.25” (including white border)
Signed: Yes, I sign each one individually with a silver pen
In any case, I hope you enjoy this fine-art reproduction!
May the stars watch over you,
p.s. If you would like to see more reproductions of my art from the Inheritance Cycle, just let me know on Twitter and Facebook.
p.p.s Due to schedule constraints, I'm unable to personalize prints at this time.
p.p.p.s. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to ship our items outside of the US or Canada. Our deepest apologies to fans everywhere—you matter and this decision was not made lightly. Due to a combination of Covid-related supply shortages as well as mail carrier delays and mistakes, we’ve been experiencing an unprecedented number of issues and losses when shipping overseas. This is in addition to new trade regulations further complicating matters. For example, as of December 2022, the European Union requires small business owners to accept returns and pay for return shipping without reason. This is in addition to the EU VAT tax laws that were enacted in July 2021, which have also created expense and difficulty. Additionally, Germany is also requiring small business owners to register and pay for packaging recycling. To make our products affordable for fans, we operate on a tight margin of profit and simply cannot absorb the costs associated with these new regulations and general complications. We thank you in advance for your understanding.