Unveiling another new piece of work, this is a T-shirt design for metal band Cyaegha whose Steps of Descent album I illustrated and designed last year. They asked for something based on HP Lovecraft’s god Nyarlathotep so I thought I’d take the opportunity to rework from scratch the version of this I created in 1999 for the first edition of The Haunter of the Dark. I always felt the earlier piece was going in the right direction but lacked somewhat in execution; this makes up for that. Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep is one of his most curious creations, in part because the conception of the character changed over many years. In various stories, letters and dream fragments the god/entity is variously described as an Egyptian pharaoh, an itinerant showman with electrical apparatus, the “black man” of European witch cults and the more typically Lovecraftian squamous alien monstrosity. The challenge, then, is to try and represent a little of each of these elements without overly favouring one or the other.
This is one of two illustrations I’ve produced in recent months which use Photoshop to imitate the engraving collage style of Wilfried Sätty, an artist whose work I discussed in an essay for Strange Attractor #2 in 2005. Sätty’s style was derived from Max Ernst’s famous collage “novels” of the 1930s and Photoshop is the ideal tool for this, far better than the old method of scissors, paper and glue. Sätty expanded Ernst’s technique by using reverse printing and the duplication of images; Photoshop extends the technique even further, making it possible to scale images up or down instead of being limited to the size of the original reproduction. The other illustration I’ve done in this style is for a short story and I’ll reveal that closer to publication. In the meantime I should be making a slightly different version of the new Nyarlathotep suitable for the usual range of CafePress products. More about those when they’re done.