A view over Yuggoth

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I mentioned in the post about the Sherlock Holmes illustrations that the next book from Editorial Alma featuring my work would be another Lovecraft collection. One of the illustrations in the new volume was of the planet Yuggoth, a world known to human beings as Pluto. In Lovecraft’s mythos Yuggoth has long been an outpost of advanced alien civilisations, particularly the fungoid crustaceans of The Whisperer in Darkness and the splendidly-titled sonnet sequence Fungi from Yuggoth. I’d broached this subject a couple of times in the past, first with a panel in my Haunter of the Dark comic strip (the Shining Trapezohedron is described as being brought to Earth from Yuggoth) then with a photocopy collage of Haeckel organisms for the first Starry Wisdom collection.

Yuggoth is one of several alien outposts in Lovecraft’s fiction, allied in its remoteness from humans with the underwater city of R’lyeh and the Antarctic city in At the Mountains of Madness. All these locations suggest exotic architecture so they’ve long been some of my favourite features in Lovecraft’s work, hence this new piece which I couldn’t resist doing after completing work on the Alma book. Since I acquired a Wacom tablet four years ago I’ve become so used to using it for line drawing that working with it now feels as natural as working with pens and inks. But digital painting was something I still didn’t feel happy with. This is mainly because the brush options in Photoshop are limitless, and one thing I’ve never liked with art materials is too much choice. When I was working with physical media I used to use a minimum of pens and brushes so what I really wanted from Photoshop was a single brush that would do what I wanted without having to swap tools all the time when working. This view of Yuggoth is the result of having finally settled (by chance, as it happened) on a brush that does everything I want without getting in the way. The drawing was completely improvised so as a composition it has some flaws; it could also have been developed a lot more to bring out highlights and details. But as an experimental piece it worked out well and also didn’t take too very long to do. When I have the time I’ll be doing more with this new brush.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Thing on the Doorstep
Leather Cthulhu unleashed
Leather Cthulhu
The Gods of HP Lovecraft
Lovecraftiana calendar
Providential
NecronomiCon Providence 2015
Yuggoth details
A Mountain Walked
Lovecraft’s Monsters unleashed
Lovecraft’s Monsters
JK Potter and HP Lovecraft
Cthulhu Labyrinth
Tentacles #4: Cthulhu in Poland
Cthulhu Calendar
S. Latitude 47°9, W. Longitude 126°43
Resurgam variations
De Profundis
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
Cthulhoid and Artflakes
Cthulhu for sale
Cthulhu God
Cthulhu under glass
CthulhuPress
The monstrous tome
Cubist Cthulhu

The Thing on the Doorstep

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Workwise, this year has been a major one for interior illustration. So far I’ve completed about 80 illustrations for different titles, and I’m still not finished. The majority of the work has been for a Spanish publisher, Editorial Alma, based in Barcelona. Earlier this year they launched a line of reprints of classic works of fiction, each of which is illustrated. To date I’ve worked on three of the titles, the first of which, Narraciones extraordinarias by Edgar Allan Poe, will feature in a later post.

The second title, La llamada de Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft, is a small collection comprising the rather odd pairing of The Call of Cthulhu with The Thing on the Doorstep, two very different stories that you wouldn’t usually expect to see together. I provided six illustrations, three for Cthulhu which are slightly reworked pages from my comic-strip adaptation of the story, and three new ones for The Thing on the Doorstep. This is a story I’d never considered illustrating before when so much of its horror is psychological. It does, however, feature two characters who (by Lovecraft’s standards) are well-defined: the ineffectual Edward Pickman Derby and his sinister future wife, Asenath Waite. So that’s what you see here: portraits of the two main characters plus a view of the climactic scene that gives the story its title. Ideally, I would have liked to have done a fourth picture showing Derby’s surprise awakening at a nightmarish ritual but the deadlines on these books have been tight and there simply wasn’t time.

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For those interested in this title, the only purchase link I have is an Amazon one. All the books are hardbacks (without dustjackets) complete with decorated endpapers—I provided a tentacle pattern for this one—and a bookmark ribbon. Deadlines aside, it’s been a very pleasant experience working for Alma. The next two books are the big ones so watch this space.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Leather Cthulhu unleashed
Leather Cthulhu
The Gods of HP Lovecraft
Lovecraftiana calendar
Providential
NecronomiCon Providence 2015
Yuggoth details
A Mountain Walked
Lovecraft’s Monsters unleashed
Lovecraft’s Monsters
JK Potter and HP Lovecraft
Cthulhu Labyrinth
Tentacles #4: Cthulhu in Poland
Cthulhu Calendar
S. Latitude 47°9, W. Longitude 126°43
Resurgam variations
De Profundis
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
Cthulhoid and Artflakes
Cthulhu for sale
Cthulhu God
Cthulhu under glass
CthulhuPress
The monstrous tome
Cubist Cthulhu

Leather Cthulhu unleashed

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The beautiful leatherbound Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales is officially published this Friday but the books are in Barnes & Noble stores already, and my complimentary copies arrived this week. Photos don’t do justice to the volumes in this series of classic reprints, you really need to hold one to see how well made they are. The leather is smooth and flawlessly printed—I was worried that I might have pushed the limits with some of the details in my cover design but every line and edge is where it should be. The pages of this particular volume are edged with gold, an effect applied to some of the books I’ve designed for Savoy but an uncommon thing in today’s book world.

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As I mentioned earlier, this edition also features endpapers showing details of my R’lyeh spread from The Call of Cthulhu, plus a poster of my Cthulhu Rising piece from 2004. Which leads to an important note for purchasers: the temporary glue that fixes the poster to the back endpapers, and the ad sheet (see below) to the back cover was stronger than intended so care needs to be taken when detaching these items from the book. I’ve been told that a warning about this will be added to the next batch of books, and the glue (which is that clear stuff used to fix things to magazine covers) will also be changed.

A couple more photos and a list of contents follow below. I’ve worked on a lot of books over the years but this one is up there with the very best; Lovecraft’s finest fiction in a single gorgeous volume, and all for $20.

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Continue reading “Leather Cthulhu unleashed”

Leather Cthulhu

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A couple of the projects I’ve been working on for the past few months have yet to be made public but this one from last September has finally shambled into the light of day. The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales is a collection of 23 weird tales by HP Lovecraft (some of which are his collaborations with other writers) published by Barnes & Noble in their leatherbound Collectible Editions series. Anyone who’s held one of these volumes will know that they deserve to be called tomes rather than mere books; they’re heavy and lavishly produced, with detailed designs embossed on the front and back boards in a variety of metallic inks.

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One of my drawings was used a few years ago inside the big B&N edition of Lovecraft’s collected fiction; more recently I also designed a cover for a B&N paperback edition of the Cthulhu Mythos tales but the brief on that occasion was for something quick using pre-existing artwork. Given that the Mythos stories are my favourites in Lovecraft’s oeuvre I would have preferred to have done something more elaborate so I was very pleased when asked last year to create a new design for this hardback edition. The design on the front panel presented some challenges as I didn’t want to have an isolated head with wings but I also didn’t want to reduce the Cthulhu figure to such an extent that detail would be compromised. (This type of embossed printing imposes a limit on the amount of detail you can put into the design.) The compromise was a frontal view of what I consider to be another Cthulhu Sphinx, after the more elaborate sculpted design in my adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu. I find myself wondering now how this creature might look from the side.

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The photos of the boards are courtesy of Betsy Beier at Barnes & Noble, and they show how much more effective the printed design is when you have the light reflecting on it. I’m now eagerly awaiting the arrival of a physical copy. The book will be out at the end of the month, and among the extra features there’s an introduction by Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi, my drawing of R’lyeh on the endpapers, and (if that wasn’t enough) a poster reproduction of my Cthulhu Rising picture.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The Gods of HP Lovecraft
Lovecraftiana calendar
Providential
NecronomiCon Providence 2015
Yuggoth details
A Mountain Walked
Lovecraft’s Monsters unleashed
Lovecraft’s Monsters
JK Potter and HP Lovecraft
Cthulhu Labyrinth
Tentacles #4: Cthulhu in Poland
Cthulhu Calendar
S. Latitude 47°9, W. Longitude 126°43
Resurgam variations
De Profundis
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
Cthulhoid and Artflakes
Cthulhu for sale
Cthulhu God
Cthulhu under glass
CthulhuPress
The monstrous tome
Cubist Cthulhu

The Gods of HP Lovecraft

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Yig for Rattled by Douglas Wynne.

Presenting one of this summer’s bigger projects, these are my drawings for The Gods of HP Lovecraft, a collection of 12 all-new stories edited by Aaron French for JournalStone. After I’d begun work I was asked whether I could illustrate all 12 stories but since I was already busy with The Monstrous it wasn’t possible. My drawings occupy the second half of the book, with the first half being filled out with suitable illustrations by Paul Carrick and Steve Santiago. The contents are as follows:

Call the Name by Adam LG Nevill (Cthulhu)
The Dark Gates by Martha Wells (Yog-Sothoth)
We Smoke the Northern Lights by Laird Barron (Azathoth)
Petohtalrayn by Bentley Little (Nyarlathotep)
The Doors that Never Close and the Doors that Are Always Open by David Liss (Shub-Niggurath)
The Apotheosis of a Rodeo Clown by Brett J. Talley (Tsathoggua)
Rattled by Douglas Wynne (Yig)
In Their Presence by Christopher Golden & James A. Moore (The Mi-Go)
Dream a Little Dream of Me by Jonathan Maberry (Nightgaunts)
In the Mad Mountains by Joe R. Lansdale (Elder Things)
A Dying of the Light by Rachel Caine (Great Race of Yith)
Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves by Seanan McGuire (The Deep Ones)

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Mi-Go for In Their Presence by Christopher Golden & James A. Moore.

Despite having produced a fair amount of Lovecraft-related illlustration there’s still some areas of his work that I haven’t touched, especially where creature portraits are concerned. So this collection features my first attempts at rendering one of the Mi-Go and one of the Yithians from The Shadow Out of Time. The latter are often represented as fearsome monsters which always strikes me as erroneous when so much description in the story is devoted to their book reading and archive building. Aliens, yes, but monsters they are not. There was some concern when I delivered the artwork that the fine lines and detail might not print so well on paperback stock but the printing is excellent throughout. I recommend this collection for anyone in the mood for some new Lovecraftian fiction.

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Night-Gaunt for Dream a Little Dream of Me by Jonathan Maberry.

Continue reading “The Gods of HP Lovecraft”