Presenting my illustrations for The Demons of King Solomon, a horror anthology edited by Aaron French. This is a follow up to Aaron’s The Gods of HP Lovecraft which was published by JournalStone in 2015. I did 6 illustrations for the Lovecraft volume, covering half the stories whereas the new book has illustrations of mine for every story.
The brief for the authors this time was to write a story incorporating a Solomonic demon of their choosing. There are many of these, from the ones described in the Testament of Solomon to the 72 listed in the Ars Goetia (or Lesser Key of Solomon), the latter being familiar to many people via their often comical depictions in De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal. My original intention for the illustrations was to do a series of pictures based on each story. Some of the stories were late in arriving, however, and I only had a month free for the work so I changed the plan to a series of depictions of the demons as they’re described in the grimoires. This makes more sense when many of the stories have the demons masquerading in human guise, so the illustrations not only show something new but also act as a connection back to their infernal history. Agaras (or Agares), for example, is described by the grimoires as an old man riding a crocodile with a hawk on his arm. Most of the seals on each picture are taken from the ones for the demons shown in the Ars Goetia. Not all the demons in the anthology are listed there so I had to invent a few seals to fill out the collection. I’ll let people guess which are genuine and which are inventions. The Demons of King Solomon is out now from JournalStone. Larger copies of the illustrations may be seen here.
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Respawn, Reboot by Allison Pang.
Out of Tune: Book 2 is an anthology of original fiction edited by Jonathan Maberry that’s just been published by JournalStone. Last year I contributed six illustrations to JournalStone’s The Gods of HP Lovecraft, and would have done more if I hadn’t been busy with other work. For this new collection I’ve illustrated all the stories in a slightly sketchier style than usual (see larger views here), the brief being to provide something similar to the illustrations that appeared in the first volume.
The Knoxville Girl by Cherie M. Priest.
Both books in the Out of Tune series feature short stories based on folk songs or murder ballads, some of which are very familiar if you listen to folk, blues or country music. Almost all the songs are from an American perspective even though a number of them use songs that are derived from old English and Scottish folk songs. Each story ends with a commentary by Nancy Keim-Comley that reveals the song that the story was based on (some are more obvious than others), and also gives a brief history of the song. Not all the stories take an obvious route: Nik Vincent-Abnett’s piece based on The Two Corbies concerns people trying to survive in a near-future dystopia.
The Beams of the Sun by Dan Abnett.
As to the drawing style, all these illustrations are digital works produced with a collection of Photoshop brushes I’ve had lying around for a while. It’s taken me some time to get used to using brushes that do more than draw straight lines or imitate an airbrush but this book acted as a kind of crash course in their application. Once I’d finished the work I felt quite at home using them so I’m looking forward to doing more in this looser style.
The Ghost Rider by David Mack.
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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)
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.
Night-Gaunt for Dream a Little Dream of Me by Jonathan Maberry.
Continue reading “The Gods of HP Lovecraft”