Q: What have you been drawing lately?
A: Just some guy with a soul patch being killed by a woman and her magical snake. The woman has magical powers, by the way.
If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen the above — a small section of a larger page I am currently working on for my “The Yellow Sign” comic. Please excuse the quality – it’s a screen capture of a picture from my phone (the original is being drawn right now). It’s a bit of a departure of what I have done before so I am sure there will be frustrations and challenges. I inked part of page 1 but think I should hold off until I get more of the rest of the layout in a more finished state.
I started by reading the original Robert W. Chambers story several times and then I created a written outline. There was a lot I had to (reluctantly) cut from the original story… going from text based fiction to comic book is a bit like going from a book to a movie… the medium changes the story. The original was written in 1895 and what was considered modern behavior and values at that time served as one of the themes in the story. I didn’t want to do a comic set in the late 19th century — I felt the modern viewer would see the story as having a sense of nostalgia that Chambers would not have intended, so I am setting my interpretation in a non-specific “modern” era that might be today, might be 20-30 years ago.
At this point, I have roughed out the pages to (hopefully) get the rhythm of the story and where events occur paced in a way that feels right. This consists of drawing really rough versions of how I imagine I will lay out the pages in a digital program (I plan to do the final art with pen and ink). So at present the pages look like this:
My next step is to go through and revise/refine the layout, eventually working my way (in 2 or 3 passes) to the point where I can start to do final inks. This is a much more deliberate method than I usually employ… I’m trying to learn from past projects (both successes and failures) and applying lessons learned.
Hopefully, with the many projects I currently have in the works, this will all end in a finished comic before Gencon 2019 in August.
This one is done for now.
Another recent thing. Wizard man has a Captain Crunch hat. The big black space at the top isn’t a statement… it is reserved for type.
Above, a work in progress sketch from my next comic book — an adaptation of Richard W. Chamber’s story, “The Yellow Sign.” I’ve really been struggling with how to adapt this story to comic book form… last night, after struggling with it for a couple of days, I finally got my written outline blocked out into pages in order to get the pacing right and to try to make the flow of the panels (hopefully) communicate the disintegration of hope and sanity being experienced by the characters. I’m a long way off from finished (a couple of different versions of this sketch is about as far as I have gotten on the actual artwork), but the part I struggle with most (translating the story into panels) is at least done in a rough state.
“The Yellow Sign” is a short story from Chamber’s collection, “The King in Yellow.” Lovecraft apparently loved “The King in Yellow” and it is easy to see that HPL got a number of his recurring horror themes from the book. Several of the stories in “The King in Yellow” make reference to a play (also called “The King in Yellow”) which deals with a mysterious masked ruler from an ancient city named Carcosa. If you watched season 1 of the “True Detective” TV show, you may have caught some references to it.
I hope to have this done so I can sell copies at Gencon 2019 in August. Assuming I manage to finish it, I will have produced a total of 4 horror comics at that point… Dagon, The People of the Pit, The Mother of Toads and this one. Eventually I hope to publish a compendium that will include all of my classic horror comics.
Sketch for an idea I was mulling over. The “book bearer” is a living podium for a large book… fated to carry that heavy tome of their back and pause for reading when the scholar or priest who uses the book deems it necessary. In some conditions, the book bearer might be required to carry an umbrella and/or a light source as well.
This one is intended as a companion to the one I posted yesterday. It has all of the essential elements — tentacles, spiders, skull, etc.
Large fly-leaf illustration recently completed for a yet-to-be published Lovecraft book.