Over the weekend I was able to watch the evolution of some fan art from illustrator John Martel. John took a crack at Cybill, the monstrosity from my book The Stars Were Right. Since the book has been out a while I think we’re past the moratorium for spoilers but to be on the safe side I hide his illustrations beneath a break.

If you haven’t read the book yet you can nab it for less than $2.99, however if you have continue onward…

I was shocked at the strangeness of it. Undulating like badly set clay, hundreds of globular eyes emerged from the surface at one end and cascaded across the sides like engorged ticks. They grew smaller near the middle and faded before meeting at the opposite end…

—Waldo Bell, The Stars Were Right, Chapter 23

"Cybill" line work by John Martell
“Cybill” line work by John Martell

I was blown away right from the start. There’s something terrifying about the way John rendered the creature. The way the eyes hang to the thick lumps of flesh. I also find it fascinating how each illustrator who has drawn Cybill has their own interpretation for how she looks. (There’s no wrong way.) You can see the others and compare them all over on my Fan Art Pinterest board.

…The lower half was composed of fat, chiseled tentacles and odd, spindly appendages in relief that reminded me of the legs of harvestmen spiders. More tentacles moved up the side, sculpted as if they were tangled and knotted together like stone intestines. On the top of the slab, surrounded by a swarm of eyes, a jagged, parrot-like beak beveled out from the rock, wide open as if Cybill was shouting at the tunnel’s ceiling.

—Waldo Bell, The Stars Were Right, Chapter 23

"Cybill" coloring progress by John Martell
“Cybill” coloring progress by John Martell

The coloring adds a great a bit of depth and makes her seem more alive. I thought he was finished, but nope…

"Cybill" by John Martell
“Cybill” by John Martell

The final coloring is fantastic. The viscous saliva is a nice touch and I really like how one leg is pulling on a fold of skin exposing more eyes. It’s perfect… I mean it’s terrifying, but in that perfect sort of way.

I really enjoyed seeing the process as John posted these on Instagram. Huge thanks to him for not only making this, but posting it, and being willing to let me share it on here. I’m flattered my book provided the inspiration for such a cool piece.

As you can see John is an amazing illustrator. You can view more of his work on his website: johnathanmartel.com. Make sure you check out his tumblr and follow him on Instagram and Twitter as well. John is available for freelance projects and commissions.

So what do you think? How does John’s vision of Cybill match up with your own? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think!


Do you have some fan art you want to share? I’m going to keep highlighting art from Bell Forging Cycle fans and readers and would love to share it with everyone! If you have any fan art submissions please email them to me at: hello@kmalexander.com with the subject line: “Bell Forging Fan Art”. Include any links to a website showing your work so I can share that as well and let me know if people can buy your piece/prints/etc.