One of the tasks this week has been sketching out a member of the Great Race of Yith, the consciousness-hopping alien scholars whose exploits are detailed in HP Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time. Their appearance isn’t at all mysterious: Lovecraft describes them in some detail (and sketched them in his notes above) and they were illustrated by Howard V. Brown for their first publication in Astounding Stories in June 1936. But I’ve only ever drawn any of Lovecraft’s creatures when there’s been a good reason (or a commission) so this was the first time I’d had to think seriously about how I wanted to depict a Yithian.
The results will be posted here in due course but in the meantime here’s a couple more of Lovecraft’s own sketches of his creations. The Cthulhu sketch is one of two showing the statue from the story. The most interesting detail for me is the multiple eyes which aren’t described in the text.
The Great Race of Yith have always struck me as somewhat improbable even if you take into account alien evolutionary paths. Similar creatures populate the early science fiction magazines (Frank R. Paul painted many of them), and this is one place where I feel slightly let down by Lovecraft’s imagination. In the recent batch of drawings I’ve also been depicting one of the Mi-go and some of the Elder Things from At the Mountains of Madness. The latter are at the opposite end of the scale to the Great Race, sufficiently alien without seeming absurd.