So, as some might know, I´m working on an adaptation of the short-story Pickman´s Model by H.P. Lovecraft. It´s going to be a pretty faithful adaption, not changing any part, just editing and cutting the text. I´m not sure it will set the world on fire, but hopefully it will appeal to Lovecraft-fans hungering for something more true to the source than most adaptations.
Anyhow… I´m juggling three art-styles in this one. One for the main character Thurber, telling his tale to the unseen Eliot. One for the artist Pickman, speaking to Thurber. And finally one for the meat of the story, Pickman taking Thurber to his secret studio where he paints his truly grotesque stuff. Adding to the difficulty, the last art-style is going to gradually dissolve and distort, from messy realism to true nightmare.
I thought I´d give a little glimpse of a failed attempt at this last artstyle. This is pretty early in the story, and pretty much the first image where I go away from using photo-references slavishly.
Why is this one a failure? Well, first of all, it´s too messy. The composition and inking are just not executed well enough.
Second, I took the wrong approach to bending reality. I started with unreal sketches, and then tried to input real elements into them. The result looks stale and fake. What I should have been doing is start with something real, based of photos of the correct district of Boston at the correct time, and then twist those images bit for bit. So basically this will be the approach I take at my next attempt at this page/panel. It does take a little longer time, and includes a hell of a lot of use of the light-board, but it will be worth it.
Third, I forgot to heed the source material. The window is the wrong type, and there should be more and more wooden houses the further they go. This image makes it seem like there´s less and less wooden houses. If I´m gonna be loyal to the text, I need to really pay attention to the descriptions when translating them into images.
Lastly, the transition from “reality” to unreality is too quick in this version. I need to pace myself. Thurber and Pickman has a long way to go before turning into nightmare. I can´t just jump into the deep end this early in the story.
Anyhow… That´s why I failed!
Soon, I may be showing some successes, eh?