Trudi Canavan

bestselling author of The Black Magician Trilogy

Cover Illustrations, Maps & Sketches

Cover Illustrations

This painting actually took a year to complete!

Remind me never to tackle roof tiles and brickwork again, at least not in so much detail.

The cloak is one I made many years ago, when I found that ordinary coats are too restrictive when trying to cart tool boxes of paints and large folios around the windy streets of Melbourne. My friends thought I was completely loopy walking around in medieval attire, but that’s nothing new…

This one only took two weeks, but it is a much simpler composition. Sonea is wearing the novices’ uniform. Having attended one of those ten week pattern making courses at the local TAFE, I decided to have a go at making robes. They’re a cross between a pattern I found for a ‘Transylvanian peasant shirt’ and a martial arts uniform. I only managed to finish the top half, but it proved useful when taking reference photos for this painting.

Many thanks to Donna Johansen who posed as Sonea for the reference photos.


When creating the maps for the book, I decided to draw them in a style that would have been used at the time of their creation, rather than produce modern, technically accurate maps. So I imagined that the map of Kyralia was from an earlier time, so it had a medieval feel with it’s hand drawn mountains. The map of Imardin was younger…

… wheras the map of the Guild Grounds was more like one drawn by an architect, with topographic lines. It would be a valuable map, and so the instructions were added to the top left corner later.


Some rough, cartoony sketches of a few characters. I put these together for the cover illustrator, Les Petersen, to give him some idea of the clothing and physical appearance of these characters. The first sketch is of Cery, looking boyish and scruffy. The second is Sonea in typical ‘commoner’ clothing. The third is Regin, a novice who appears in the second book and who is wearing novices’ robes. The fourth is Lord Rothen, in full magicians’ robes.

A rough plan of the Guildhall, and a sketch of the seating arrangement for the Higher Magicians. These sorts of sketches helped me orientate characters clearly within a building or room.

A sketch of Rothen’s rooms.

A sketch and plan of the High Lord’s Residence.

This is a sketch I made early on in the writing of the trilogy. The general lay out of the buildings has remained the same, but the scale of this is all wrong and the University looks like something out of a fairlytale.

Another early sketch, which helped me work out where the main features of the city were.