Dustless, by Michael Ayres, is an independently published e-book, the first volume of which was published in 2013. An epic novel comprising 27 volumes, Dustless describes a party of sword-wielding warriors making their way across an initially desolate landscape, seeking to reach the centre of a vast, mysterious empire. Unfolding in unprecedented detail, the narrative is immersive, seeing life on the road largely through the eyes of a gifted, perceptive child. Mirroring the protagonists’ journey across difficult terrain is a parallel journey into the dimensionless realm of the mind and the struggle of the various characters to become “Dustless” – a state in which individuals appear to transcend the limitations of conventional reality and, using the power of enhanced imagination, eventually gain the ability to bend the world into new forms.

“A man is a subtle engine, a wonder of nerves and sinew, a thing of shadows and bone, hard, delicate and bound with vision. He is a mix, with heavy stuff rounding with the light. But no one can look closely at the opening of a human eye without realising that here is a focal point of wild beauty, a moment where the universe bends back upon itself and flowers with exhilaration at its own radiant sensitivity…” ~M. Ayres

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Inspired in part by Xavier Zimbardo's Monks of Dust, the imagery for the series features the distant gaze of the story's central character. Texture and light were used to reference the theme of impermanence implied by the title and writing style. The colour schemes for each cover correspond to different time periods in the narrative. Making use of a gradient with a dominant colour and a secondary colour, the secondary colour becomes the primary one in the subsequent volume. The base image was created by layering unique custom brushes in Photoshop.

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