All sketches © 2017 Sean Andrew Murray

Learn how Sean Andrew Murray’s sketchbook became an invaluable tool in creating his fantasy world The Great City of Gateway  in this sneak peek from issue 134

My father tells me that my very first drawing was on the underside of our living room table, which I had crawled under with some crayons at the age of two. Since then, I have always had paper and pencils with me wherever I go. When I was young, you could usually find me in my room drawing my own comic strip characters or my own version of Transformers. I fell in love with fantasy after reading a copy of Lord of the Rings that my stepmother let me borrow. This inevitably led me to playing Dungeons & Dragons with a small group of close friends, all of whom loved to draw as well. We would create elaborate campaigns complete with our own hand-drawn maps and monster manuals.


‘Harbortown’, another important district of ‘The Great City of Gateway’

In high school in the early 90s I started experimenting with digital art and keeping a sketchbook –something I credit my high school art teacher, Mrs. Hammonds, with encouraging us to do. This is a habit that has stuck with me ever since. In college I studied illustration, but it was also when I began to find my own unique voice in my sketchbooks. They were a place where I could experiment free from judgment or scrutiny. To this day I always keep a sketchbook with me wherever I go and it has become an invaluable tool for the development of my own personal IP: The Great City of Gateway.


Victorian-style vehicles, powered by magic. Lately there have been a lot more vehicles and modes of transportation in Sean’s sketchbook

My sketches have also helped me throughout my career. Most recently, at San Diego Comic-Con in 2014, film director and producer Guillermo del Toro bought the printed version of my sketchbook at my booth and soon afterwards hired me to work on a TV show he was producing and also to illustrate his Young Adult novel Trollhunters.


‘Prison City’ is a small, island-based district of ‘The Great City of Gateway’. It is home to the Known World’s largest felonious wizard population

Lately, I have been working to build and expand my personal IP, Gateway, which is a fantasy world based around a huge city bustling with wizards, magic and intrigue. To this end, I recently launched a Patreon campaign to give my fans and followers an opportunity to follow along as I develop Gateway and even have a chance to help me decide which corner of Gateway to explore in drawings and paintings next!


Discover more about Sean’s sketchbook work in the full article in issue 134!