It was not that he was face down, caked in an awful sludge at the bottom of an abandoned well that was particularly surprising. Nor was it the loneliness he dreaded as high above him, his twin brothers Leif and Rulf, the half-wit, left him there alone – because he had instigated the whole thing. It was rather the violent prophecies unceremoniously thrust upon him that day. His life would never be the same as his past and destiny were soon to be revealed.

Arthur Smythe had been a carefree boy and was not at all whom he believed himself to be. Born the son of a King to a father he never knew and burdened by a legacy he had unwittingly been prepared for, he struggles with the idea that England’s salvation lies in his young hands.

Following a dozen years of unrest and famine, the throne was not something that would be handed down this time. At least not as the imperious Lord Rivas would have it after stripping the local lands of everything – including hope. Obsessed with the belief that creating a mystical sword would guarantee him the throne, he was determined to let nothing stand in his way – even if it meant killing the blacksmith he demanded forge it for him. The same blacksmith who raised Arthur quietly to hide his identity, because he was intimately aware his adopted son’s life would never be ordinary.

Navigating through a world with dragons and tribes of dog heads, Arthur is forced to come to terms with who he really is as he races to rescue his brothers and avenge his father. The problem is, he needs to rely on the one person who he has been told all his life he cannot trust – the wizard Merlin.

Into the Knight – Illustrating Arthur

Originally, the tale of Arthur was going to be a three-part children’s book. Both of my sons’ deep interest in Harry Potter changed all of that. The images below show the process of bringing Arthur to life before and during the early part of the novel.

Sketches were drawn by hand, then scanned and digitally created into blue lines (that helps visually to reference where the illustrated strokes were), followed by coloring and texture. For the final images, I removed the lines in the background to allow more emphasis on the character.


A Novel By
Ken Drab

INTO THE KNIGHT (115,000 words) is part one of a medieval-based YA fantasy fiction series that will appeal to Harry Potter fans.

This novel started out as another children’s book, but my kids’ fascination with Harry Potter inspired me to dive deeper into the story and try and bring the characters to life without images.

Well, at first I tried. I had the images in my head it helped to get some of them out onto paper. The images on this page are from the very beginning of the process.

That process was slow and hard. I was a single dad at the time and I had to find the time to write when I could and it turned out I could get much further along without drawing everything. It was a challenge I tackled head-on, and it was very rewarding because I love the story and the characters. After three rounds of rewrites, it was finished – except, it’s not done. Without an editor, I keep finding things I might say differently – or simply basic typos. I realized that by the end of the book, my style had grown and I felt like I had a better idea of how to say or frame things.

I began writing it for my kids, but I ended up writing it for me. I guess I’ll let my kids read it…maybe.