Archive for November, 2010

I’m thankful! For SQUIDWORMS!

Posted in Animals, faecal mucus cocktail, Lovecraft, The Crazy World with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2010 by gladlad

Happy Thanksgiving, friends in Internetland!  Man, I tell ya– this is gonna be a great one, if things are already starting out this way!  If you want to please Jesse Gillespie, there are few things that win bigger than the discovery of a brand new lifeform right here on earth that qualifies as “alien-like”.  Meet the “squidworm”, recently uncovered by biologists involved in the global (and awesome) Census of Marine Life project.  When I first saw this photo, I was immediately reminded of the Old Ones from H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’.  One of the best parts of this discovery was the addition in one article of a description of its main food source, marine snow, which is “a mix of sinking microscopic plants and animals, faecal material and cast-off mucus.”  Mmmm!  I’ll have what that guy’s having!

As a side note, the worm seems to bear some similarities to one of my other favorite not-quite-earth-animals, the “elbow squid” (magnapinna).  Not enough people know about this guy, and he’s in need of some serious cuddling:

Thank you, O Mighty Creator, for Your ultimate bizarreness.  And pie.

More from Jonathan Strange

Posted in Drawings, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Literature with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by gladlad

Well, here’s my portrait of the homeless, vagrant, swarthy, crabby and very important magician Vinculus from ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’, which I posted about last week.

I have been wanting to try a piece of art in the style of Arthur Rackham for a while, and this was a perfect chance for it.  Rackham’s sketchy, twisty linework and brown tones work perfectly for this sketchy, twisted character.  You can see that his face changed a bit from the original sketch (which was also a little hydrocephalic); I just could not get that face to look right in the inks.  It’s sad, because he looks a little more… evil than I intended him to in the final, but maybe that’s a good thing, I dunno.  Anyway, there it is!  Cheerio!

I Feel Better because of Hot Chip

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on November 17, 2010 by gladlad

Hot Chip totally made my whole week.  Watch this and become awesomer.

(That’s the real band at 3:20.)

A Portrait of the Raven King as a Young Man

Posted in Drawings, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by gladlad

So I’m on my second time through ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’.  Goodness gracious, what do you say about this book?  I’m sure it’s a very niche-audience work, but I am very well within that niche of people who love Regency-era British literature, historical fiction and well-thought-out fantasy.  This novel pleases all three pleasure-centers in spades.  Didn’t know you had a Regency-era literature pleasure center, did you?  It’s easy to miss due to its quiet formality and slight aloofness, always sneering down its nose at the electronic entertainment pleasure center, which is quite the attention hog.  But I digress.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ is a big, thick, unruly book with many characters and lots going on.  It’s very slow at first, but once it picks up, you don’t want it to stop, what with its triple-pleasure-power.  And it… really doesn’t stop for a long long time.  It’s amazing.  Susanna Clarke spent like a DECADE writing this thing, and it is sprawling; with humor, horror, (quietly formal) romance, magic, fairies, more magic, and even a big, climactic… climax.  Jane Austen never had a big climactic climax.  (That was totally not a double-entendre regarding being a middle-aged spinster, btw.)  I hear there’s a movie on the table, which is both awesome and sad for the age-old reason that a book this huge cannot be condensed.  It’d steal its whole charm.  Aw, who knows.

Anyway, all this is to say that I started out illustrating a scene from the book-world’s history when the Raven King arrives in England for the first time after being raised by fairies in Fairie for fourteen years.  Note: that means that in this illustration he is fourteen years old.  That’s why he “looks like a girl”, to all you people who thought so.  Apparently fairies don’t think much of short hair.  *ahem*  He comes back, kicks ass, rules the Northern half of England for three hundred years, then disappears and other stuff happens (namely the stuff in the book).  But instead of illustrating the actual scene with his fairie soldiers and stuff, it just turned into a portrait due to me actually wanting to finish it.  Thus, the dude standing behind him in the sketch not being there anymore later.  Goodbye, fairie dude.  The background is a mock-up from several different photographs.

Also, below is the “light” version I made before realizing he was wearing black wool in that part.  Which was silly of me altogether because, like any hip goth guy, he only really ever wore black.  With his long, dark hair hanging greasily before his dark eyes, like pools of shadow; unfathomable and remote, dark as a raven’s wing at midnight… at the bottom of a well.  Of ink.  (Whoa– flashbacks from the “Bad Poetry Day” post…)

I’m working on another character, the street magician Vinculus, and a depiciton of the magic done at Yorkminster Cathedral, both of which I shall hopefully post shortly.  Until then I shall say “shall” more, and look down my nose at their unfinishedness with aloof haughtiness.  Pish tosh!

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part IV

Posted in Drawings, Literature, Love, Things That Anger Me on November 9, 2010 by gladlad

Well, here it is… the final installment of the Vomitorium.  Not much here, just a couple favored odds and ends I’d like to work on more:

This first is an illustration inspired by the reading of William Morris’ early fantasy novel “The Wood Beyond the World”.  And when I say “early”, I mean that this is probably the first ever proper fantasy novel or more accurately ‘proto-fantasy’; it was most likely the first book in a ‘novel’ style in history to meld characters in an imaginary land with the practice of magic and the supernatural, this being the general definition of “fantasy”. 

I had previously read a later book by Morris, “The Water of the Wondrous Isles”, and it affected me deeply.  I *WILL* do a portrait someday soon of its protagonist, the damsel Birdalone (is that an awesome name or what?) who… oh, it’s a long story.  Suffice to say that Birdalone is one of the earliest, awesomest heroines in novel history, IMHO. 

Then, having loved that book, I saw this (or rather a facsimile of this) at a bookstore:


BASK IN THE SWEETNESS!!!  BAAAAASK!!!  Books can look like that!  Okay, William Morris was incredible: he wrote this book, drew these pictures, formed that typeface, built a printing house (Kelmscott Press) and cranked awesome books like this out, and on the side he also made incredible tapestries and textiles, paintings, poetry and was the first astronaut.     …Oh, all right, he wasn’t an astronaut.  But all the other stuff is true.

The story in “The Wood” isn’t so great.  I’ll be honest.  And MAN was that text hard to read.  Very little punctuation or paragraph division, and some archaic letter forms made for a real brain-haul.  But I am a slave to prettiness, so I made it through.  And when I was done I drew a pretty girl with big, magic dogs.  Really ugly dogs, too.  Yick.

The second image is a big ugly fish head.  ……Still tryin’ to learn to “paint”, this time with a demo of OpenCanvas.  That’s a cool program!

The third is a Locathah from a series of portraits of some friends’ D&D characters I want to do.  I actually played D&D more than one time this last year, now that a bunch more nerds moved into our home since last spring.  I decided that I’m a bit too old to need to worry about being cool anymore (it’s always been a HUGE priority for me), so I can finally play Dungeons and Dragons if I dang well please.  I believe I’m up to about three full game nights so far!  My character’s a Lillend, which is a human from the waist up, a huge snake from the waist down, with huge, awesome bird-wings.  They are skilled musicians, and fly into a berserker rage whenever someone destroys a beautiful work of art or nature.  Word.  Oh, and they drink moonlight.  I wish I could drink moonlight.

AND NOW!!!  As promised in my last post, a sexy pinup of the Jesster from just before I cut my hair really short! 

This came about after finding a Photoshop tutorial on how to make a movie poster in the style of “300”.  My wife had no idea why she was asked to take the photo, but boy was she peasantly surprised when she found out.  There’re also some funny things in the credits, but mostly only if you know our past & present household.  Well, that wraps it up for the Art Confessional Vomitorium!  Now I can get down to actually producing finished things!

Soon: ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ fan art!