Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thran Guardsmen Designs

For some reason the red guardsmen of Thran from The Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath always stuck  in my mind, so I decided to work on an illustration of one of them. 

Lovecraftian album art process.

I was commissioned by metal guitarist, enthusiast and all around classy guy Josh Mortenson to paint a Lovecraftian piece for the cd booklet for his upcoming album. He gave me the choice of painting several different pieces about the stories of Lovecraft, which specific songs in the album are based on. I chose The White Ship, mainly because hadn't touched upon that before in illustrating of Lovecraft's world. 

His requirements for the illustration were that the center of the image would be largely clear of details, as that would be where the lyrics for the specific song about The White Ship would go. This injected a fun design challenge to somehow make the illustration exciting while still keeping the details on the margins of the painting. 

Here are initial thumbnails and designs: 
I crafted the ship as being similar to a bird as in the story it is implied that the bird and the ship, as well as it's navigator/captain, are one and the same. 

He eventually chose the top right one, mainly because it felt reminiscent of the cataract the ship eventual falls into, so I cleaned it up a bit and added the white bird (which I had forgotten) and this is what I had:

Behind the wave I originally had massive and mysterious structures (similar to what I had in the bottom left thumbnail in the thumbnail iterations above) but eventually dropped it as you really couldn't get a good idea of what it was and so would likely tangentially draw the viewer's eye away from the actual main story of the ship. I later replaced the structures with lightning to accentuate the chaos of the image. 

I also dropped the sea-monster because it felt out of place in the composition of the image and, again, would take too much from the ship. 

Here is what I eventually came up with:

It was a fun painting and I'm glad the client was happy the end result. And I hope to return to the land of The White Ship in the near future. 

At the Mountains of Madness and Thomas Malone sketches

The four thumbnails above are for a painting of the protagonist of The Horror at Redhook, Thomas Malone, which I am currently finishing up. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Keziah Mason and Polynesian Dagonites

For those few souls who are kind enough to follow this blog, I apologize for having not posted anything here for two weeks (it's felt like months), as I've been tied up with commission work, as well as things outside of art and Lovecraft. I'll try to make a schedule of posting at least sketches every couple of days. 

Of all of Lovecraft's stories only Dreams in the Witch House (and possibly The Thing on the Doorstep, though in a quite different way...) genuinely disturbs me. It's a shame it as a story is almost entirely overlooked by Lovecraftian scholars. 

This is a painting that I've been working on off and on for the past two weeks, but which I've thought about rendering for a long while. Not something for the artbook, but (to me) an interesting concept all the same. Painted and edited entirely on the iPad 3 on Procreate and PicEditor, using the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Arthur Jermyn

Not one of Lovecraft's best known stories, and certainly not one of his best in any context, it still has a smidgen of mysterious charm, particularly as it's one of the early stories that explores so many of his thematic archetypes, such as tainted ancestry, destructive knowledge, unnatural mingling of species, and biological degeneration. 

All the same, it heavily shows both Lovecraft's racism, as well as, and probably more importantly, his social snobbery, which combined together make it one of his less pleasant stories to read; in this story in particular his heavy inclination toward deriding the lesser social classes (classes that ironically he would reside in for the vast majority of his life) is quite intolerable and annoying to me personally. 

Still, I thought it was a fun challenge to try and successfully mix the physiology of man and gorilla, though I think I went more toward the latter in this version....