Last month we announced the first Katverse art contest (Details here). The theme of this contest was to draw, illustrate paint or design a sword or blade that Kat uses in the books. We got a bunch of great submissions, which we will be exploring in this article. As I know quite a few of the fans who submitted, I decided to allow fans of the Kat Drummond Series to vote for their favourite. But I will be reviewing each of the swords here from my perspective as the author. You can skip to the bottom of the article to find out who won!
Submission 1: Glowing Ithalen
Readers of the Kat Drummond Series who have made it past book 7 will recognise Ithalen, probably Kat’s most iconic sword. This submission accurately portrays Ithalen’s katana style grip, as well as representing its magical origins through runes and a mystical glow. The curve of the sword and its spikes near the hilt also lend a unique flavour to its shape. The cross-guard is a bit too wide for the proportions but I liked this piece overall. I could see it being held by Kat.
Submission 2: Ithalen Sketch
I’m a huge fan of this design on a theoretical level. Kat’s work is brutal and requires a strong blade. Less a rapier, she needs a machete, and this design manages to maintain some sense of alien elegance with a brutal blade and strong spine, topped off with an inspired serrated edge. I loved this design, but I think its lack of colour or refinement made it suffer at the polls. I’d love to see a cleaned up final version.
Submission 3: Zombie Heads and Ithalen
Another Ithalen submission, with a disembodied zombie head as a fun addition. This design suggests another elegant form for Ithalen. Ithalen is a fast blade and this more cutlass-like version looks deadly sharp, with enough alien elegance to suggest its magical origin. I like this one a lot! But as the artist has lamented post-submission, zombie blood is actually black.
Submission 4: A Wavy Ithalen
This sword is reminiscent of a scimitar, with a wide point to deliver crushing blows. I am a bit worried about the cross guard, however, as it seems like it may put the sword off balance. The hilt is also not the katana-style grip that is described in the books. The runes are a nice touch, something many of the artists added to suggest Ithalen’s magical origins.
Submission 5: Golden Ithalen
A fun, colourful design which definitely looks Elvish to some extent. Personally, I’d cut out the wings on the cross guard, turning this into something more akin to a practical gladius. The hilt looks fun, with some nice vine-work, but isn’t a katana-style grip.
Submission 6: The line-sketch Ithalen
Admittedly, this is a submission I put into the ring. It was a quick doodle, and I am unhappy with most of it. The fuller should be longer, the curve should be less pronounced, and I am not too happy with the cross-crosses on the blade. Good thing I was going to refuse to put myself in the running if voters went insane and voted for mine! Fortunately, it seems no one did. Which kinda makes me sad.
Submission 7: The Quicksilver Ithalen
Illustrations weren’t the only medium allowed for the contest. Contestants could have hypothetically even forged a real sword as their submission. This contestant utilised the magic of photoshop to combine elements from other swords, creating a fine blade reminiscent of if a katana had a child with a falcata. The sword is brutally practical, with enough alien elements to keep it special.
Submission 8: The True Dusacks
Kat spent 6 books with at least one or two of her dusacks, the first professional swords she ever owned. It is only right that at least one submission depicts them. And wow, this is an amazing piece! The artist has opted for a thicker, more machete like blade, great for lopping off undead heads. And has even remembered to place the Purejoy Quality Assurance seal. The different colours are also a nice touch. I can see Kat using these swords now in her hunts and as the author I’d say that these designs are now canon.
The winner was chosen by Kat Drummond Series fans, with the poll advertised through the Kat’s Crusaders FB group and mailing list. The poll was password protected with the answer to the question: “What is the name of the ghost in Kat’s head?”
An easy question to answer for any Kat reader. The poll ran for a week. The prize for first place is a print-edition of any paperback in the Katverse. Now, the winners!
First Place and the Winner
Congratulations to the winner! You will be contacted shortly to organise your prize. And congratulations to 2nd and 3rd place too! Thank you to all contestants! I hope to see you all return for future art contests.
Until next time, keep holding the line!