One of the best parts of being a fantasy writer is developing new magic systems. My new book, Curse Painter, has magic based around different types of art. The practitioners, known as art mages, can be curse painters, voice mages, fortune scribes, or (rarely) stone charmers. The main character, Briar, creates deadly curses with the flick of a paintbrush–and gets in trouble when she decides she doesn’t want to hurt people anymore.
As I worked on Briar’s scenes, I chose three laws to govern curse painting. Though these rules limit the magic, they also create openings for more interesting action sequences. Briar has to find her way around the magic’s limitations and make the most of its advantages in order to accomplish her goals.
In addition to developing these laws, I spent time figuring out which oil-paint colors corresponded with different magical effects. I chose my palette based on paints used during the Renaissance and modified it according to the needs of the story. I also adjusted the names so they didn’t include references to real-world people or places (such as Tyrian purple or Van Dyke brown).
Here’s a guide to my magic paint colors and what they can do:
You’ll notice that most of those effects are negative, which is why Briar has such trouble when she decides she wants to do good.
These graphics are included in both the ebook and paperback editions of Curse Painter. You can find the book here!