Sunday, December 8, 2013

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!

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