Sunday, December 29, 2013

Martense family member from Lovecraft's The Lurking Fear

I love Lovecraft's The Lurking Fear, particularly as it is in many ways a precedent for later, greater stories like The Dunwich Horror.

I tried to mix human and baboon features, of which the latter I'd recently done some studies of.

I would've done more, like painting the Martense family mans, but I really didn't have the time--I actually didn't have time to paint this, even though it only took about two hours--so I'll have to do more later.

UPDATE: Made it more gorey.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Obed Marsh from Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Obed Marsh from The Shadow Over Innsmouth. 

As I was finishing this I decided to google Obed Marsh and found the majority of them unintentionally comical, most notably because the vast majority of the renderings of him are as a fishy or tentacled mariner--this even though in the story he is entirely human, and in fact was reluctant to interbreed with the creatures (the only way descendant humans in the story can actually get the "innsmouth look") from the nether regions. 

I genuinely wonder if people actually read Lovecraft's work or they just Sparknotes them instead. I am tempted to comment to these artists about this, but they'd just as likely use the defense mechanism that, "this is just my interpretation," or some such nonsense... 

I based the houses on those of historic Newburyport, MA, which was Lovecraft's primary inspiration for Innsmouth.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Shantak-bird from HP Lovecraft's The Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath

The ill-rumored Shantak-bird of Leng.

I've seen various artists, when rendering this beasty, perhaps take Lovecraft too literally when he says "horse-headed"; meaning they literally either render a horse-head or horse-skull, when Lovecraft uses the term in the same sentence where he compares its size to that of elephants:

"for they were larger than elephants and had heads like a horse's."

Perhaps it's something that's arguable, but I can't really see Lovecraft making it a bird and giving a bloody horse's head. With this in mind I've made the body roughly the size of an elephant's and made the skull proper (the lower jaw is not considered a part of the skull) about the size of a horse's--though this skull-to-jaw ratio is just something that I've been playing with and may change in the future if I come back to update it...

I finished this too fast so I could post it in time for reddit's /r/lovecraft forum, so I'll probably go back and spruce it up later.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

HP Lovecraft's Dagon and Faux-Amazing Stories Cover

 I consider Dagon one of Lovecraft's best early works, particularly as it presages many of the concepts seen in later works like The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow Over Innsmouth; to the point that some scholars consider the former simply an extensive rewriting of Dagon. 

Because of its very short length and the fact it covers so many of Lovecraft's major themes I consider this one of the best stories to use as an introduction to his canon. 

This is part two in a diptych of the story Dagon, the other half to be viewed here

...And the faux-Amazing Stories cover version of it. Along with the wear I also warped the image a bit, as if they poorly copied it for the cover. It's actually erroneous as Dagon as a story was never published in AS, but in the fanzine, The Vagrant. Unfortunately I couldn't find an image of The Vagrant online, so I had to make do...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dagon part 1

The first of two images based on the story Dagon, by HP Lovecraft. This is something of what I ended up with when imagining the beginning of the story when the character wakes to see this bizarre landscape stretching out before him; hopefully it gives a feeling of peril along with one of mystery.

I didn't add the various dead sea creatures to this image that were in the start of the actual story, partly because I felt it would clutter the effect and mood of the image, and partly because it would seem a little more surrealistic than I'd probably want from it. Then again this particular image from the story is so evocative that in fact it's only a work in progress, so I may go back and add the beaches fishies when I come back around to it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

HP Lovecraft's Leng

Leng, to me, in some ways represents Lovecraft's version of the Land of Shadow of Tolkien's Middle Earth; a much feared and mysterious realm of complete desolation. 

This is basically a scene from The Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath, as Randolph Carter is spirited to see the dreaded, "high-priest not to be described." 

The creatures dancing around fires are the almost-human beings of Leng, that worship the amorphous Moon-Beasts as gods and battle the bloated purple spiders of the neighboring vales.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Innsmouth Citizen

A rather troubled-looking Innsmouth citizen.

Done entirely in photoshop.

Painting Inspired by HP Lovecraft's The Horror at Red Hook

This is supposed to be the phosphorescent Lilith and her minions finding a new victim.

Though probably Lovecraft's most directly racist and xenophobic of works, The Horror at Red Hook has nonetheless grown on me over time. It's prejudice is justly ludicrous but I enjoy the atmosphere of the story, the antagonism between Suydam and Malone, and the cabal of monsters it half describes.

UPDATE: I'd like to start showing my process for completing my paintings so here's a brief walkthrough of how I painted this scene.
This is how I generally start every painting, with small "thumbnails" the size of a business card or smaller. Some very talented people can just start painting on a digital canvas at full size in photoshop or painter or whathaveyou, but I always feel most in control when I breakdown the image to it's smallest size so I can just see the shapes involved. 

Keep in mind, though absolutely all of my thumbnails are done on tone paper (so if I want to see what the light will be like in the thumbnail stage I can draw over it using white gel inks), no part of the painting is traditionally based--it's all digital, as I draw up the thumbnail, then I go into photoshop and just redraw it at a larger scale from eye. I do this instead of scanning it partly because I can take advantage of any happy-accidents while redrawing that I might like...and also partly because I'm very lazy and don't like having to scan things. 

This is the basic image I drew up on the photoshop. This was not necessarily what I thought the finished pose or expression of the hapless victim would be, but just a general pose to lay out so I knew where I was going. 

NOTE: For a long while, I've ONLY used one brush in photoshop for painting practically everything I need to paint. This may seem crazy (it probably is!) considering the plethora of generic brushes that comes with photoshop and all those on the interwebs, but I feel it gives all my work a particular visual look--also this particular brush feels the most like painting of any brush I've found in my experience of using photoshop so I plan to keep it. 

This is basically what I call the boring stage; just me laying down the background as solid shapes and ensuring that everything's generally put in correct perspective and looks ok. After that was over with I started painting over everything in overlay layers to lay down the color of everything and then I painted over the overlay layers (the actual fun part!) to give things a lived-in/grimy look. 

After that I started on the character and creatures, doing the character first so I can get the hardest stuff out of the way first before getting to do the REAL fun stuff; the icky icky monsters!! I unfortunately don't have more process work of how I created the creatures or the victim because I have the thoughtfulness of an amoeba, but I'll be sure to be more mindful in future paintings to insure I can show how I create everything.   

Though I'd assume some iteration of this process will always be in my way of painting, I'm sure I'll adapt and change things as time goes by and better processes come to mind, so this shouldn't be looked at as an absolute way to render anything by anyone. 

I hope for those who actually read this it can give some light into my madcap process! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HP Lovecraft's Randolph Carter character concepts

Prerequisite character concepts to work out what I wanted Randolph Carter to look like for an upcoming faux-cover for Lovecraft's short-novel The Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath, which Carter will appear on and appears in. 
As Dream-quest was inspired by The Arabian Nights and various 18th and 19th century oriental novels, I studied mostly the clothing, arms and armor of 7th to 10th century Islamic Umayyid and Abbasid civilizations, which I had an abundance of reference for. The one on the left is the one I finally came to use. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Faux Amazing Stories Cover

Forgot to do this, though the idea actually dictated the way I did the original painting here. The Dream-Quest  of Unknown Kadath, which the cover is based on, actually didn't get published until long after Lovecraft's death and -not- in Amazing Stories, so I thought I'd try to do it some justice. I hope to do more of these in the future...

Moonbeasts from HP Lovecraft's The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zoog from HP Lovecraft's The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath

Lovecraft never described what these little creatures looked like, only their characteristics, so it was fun to thing of what these creatures might look like. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Woman with Headdress from The Cats of Ulthar

An off-hand character from The Cats of Ulthar that I thought would be fun to illustrate. 

"And the leader of the caravan wore a headdress with two horns and a
curious disk betwixt the horns."

There are so many interesting moments and creatures and characters from the worlds of Lovecraft, especially his Dunsany-Inspired "Dreamland" cycle and if only I had the time to illustrate them all...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lovecraft characters

Some semi-random HP Lovecraft characters; from top: Randolph Carter; Nyarlethotep; Ammi Pierce.

Randolph Carter, along with Kuranes (who I'll be illustrating soon) is the only reoccurring protagonist, namely because most of his good guys either go crazy or die horrible deaths. Carter is most notably the lead character in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath.

Nyarlethotep is another reoccurring character of Lovecraft's universe, though of the antagonist type, being that he is both a powerful wizard and dark servant of the other gods, and who also has a small role in The Dream Quest.

Ammi Pierce is one of the primary characters in The Colour out of Space.

Venusian wildlife

Creatures from HP Lovecraft's scifi short story, In the Walls of Eryx.

The farnoth fly and ugrat were actually named by Lovecraft after personal adversaries of his.

This is part of a series of illustrations and concept work I plan to pursue about the short story, which has interesting similarities to Cameron's Avatar; namely that of mining groups going to a tropical alien planet (in this case Venus) where you'll die after breathing the air for a few minutes and the mining group's trying to mine for stones that power earth cities but are continually thwarted by pesky tribal natives. The main difference is these natives aren't sexy nine-foot tall humanoids but giant, tentacular lizard-like things.

Here's an earlier study of the lizardmen, with a slightly deviated skull morphology:

The Forests of Venus

This is the first painting in the first blog posting for an ongoing project to illustrate people, places and things from the universes of HP Lovecraft for a free art-ebook. Along with showing completed illustrations for the ebook, I hope to render at least one portrait of his characters weekly along with showing process-work of how I both conceptualize the creatures, objects, scenery, ect. and how I actually render every painting.

Most people think of Lovecraft as writing exclusively in the unique genre of tentacular horror, but also wrote pretty straightforward fantasy and scifi, such as In the Walls of Eryx, which this painting is directly inspired by. Eryx isn't his best story, but I think it has fascinating concepts (leather spacesuits has a uniquely retro quality) as well as unique and far-sighted aspects that belie many of Lovecraft's own archaic prejudices.

I plan on doing an about-face and painting the front of the mining explorer as he traverses deep into a forest, being less about the environment and more about the character.