Out of Tune: Book 2


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.


Not Long After the Fair by Deborah Grabien.


Just Another Black Umbrella by Delilah Dawson.


House of the Rising Sun by Eric Guignard.


Red River Valley by Gini Koch.


Who is Bringing Milk to Me? by Josh Malerman.


First Dance by Laura Anne Gilman.


The Two Corbies by Nik Vincent-Abnett.


A Tale of Three Deaths by Rachel Aukes.


I Lay Stretched out on Your Grave by Rachael Caine.


In the Woods Somewhere by James A. Moore.


Long Black Veil by David Schow.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Gods of HP Lovecraft

9 thoughts on “Out of Tune: Book 2”

  1. Excellent work, John, especially the ones with the houses. For me they evoke an ominous silence of a place where something terribly wrong has happened. They all definitely tell a story.

  2. Thanks, everyone! I didn’t plan on there being such an emphasis on buildings (or silhouettes) but that was how the series evolved. Some of the stories were difficult to illustrate without revealing too much so this helped keep things elusive.

  3. John, this work is amazing. You capture the dark side of things perfectly.

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