The Unquiet Grave

Sooooo against my better judgment and in the interest of keeping this blog active I decided to post some process pictures. It weirds me out to look at and display stuff at this state because I always have an idea in my head of what it will look like completed and these seem so sad and boring in comparison. Basically I draw in pencil and then lay ink with rapidographs To make myself what amounts to a coloring book image. Occasionally I'll throw a few directional marks or some hatching in there if I'm worried I'll forget how something should be rendered when it comes time to paint but I mostly leave the areas as open as possible. When I lay the initial layer of paint where the lines are I let it cover them if I can still make them out or if it's a darker paint I try to go around and leave myself little crescents of white paper so I can find my place. As you can imagine that's particularly maddening to do places where there are hundreds of tiny lines and since I like drawing piles of hair and feathers and scales that's usually 20-50% of the image.I decided to start "drawing ahead" by sitting down for a day to draw and ink a couple of pieces so that there will always be something to go right into painting after I finish one. These three go together and are progressively bigger and grosser. They're taken from a Gogol story where a journey down a river to a sorcerer's castle takes the protagonists past a grave yard where one corpse after another springs from the grave, each one more dessicated than the last with longer nails and beard, all screaming for air. I had read some stuff about the unclean dead being literally rejected from the "good earth", and the coffins of sorcerers and suicides popping back out of the ground and rejecting attempts at reburial. I'm pretty sure Gogol was drawing from something like that.
I started the background for the first one but I have faaaaar to go before anything is finished. You can't really tell in the last picture but I have a LOT of hair to render.

In other news I've been reading a lot of cool old Scottish, Irish and British Ballads and getting ideas for other pieces and I've been thinking about making a return to embroidery. I found glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss online. Think how many ghosts and skeletons I can stitch with that! My friend Ned and I have also been chatting about an October zine. Something reprinting obscure Weird Tales interviews and short stories illustrated by yours truly. Never enough time!!!

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