I’ve chronicled my love and admiration for Jim Henson’s worlds, in particular his 1982 film The Dark Crystal, here on Muddy Colors for years now. There was a time where I’m sure it seemed that’s all I was ever going to write about!

Whether book covers, interior illustrations, or storybooks it’s been to my utter delight and good fortune to have a chance to walk within this world. The experience has felt a touch otherworldly; just how often is it that commissioned work aligns so perfectly with your own inner voice and vision? The Dark Crystal strikes like a tuning fork for me.

Put another way, I’ll happily draw this stuff as long as they ask!

From time to time, I’ve found myself coloring outside the lines (so to speak) and creating simple portraits of the new characters from the show. In some cases it’s been characters I originally drew in the novels seen now with new eyes or some of the brand new characters in the Age of Resistance series on Netflix. Either way it’s been an exercise of affection and an exploration of just what would I do with them beyond a full illustration?

One such recent work is a private commission of skekMal the Hunter. In fact, as is fitting, it’s a companion piece to a previously commissioned urVa the Archer.

Ah, skekMal the Hunter. The strangest, dangerous, and perhaps most interesting of the “new” Skeksis from Netflix show, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

A few years back I had the chance to draw the Hunter. A couple times, actually. Once in Shadows of the Dark Crystal and again in Flames of the Dark Crystal.

I knew I wanted this new commission to feel at home next to the companion Mystic so I referenced the original drawing a good bit to ease myself back into things.

From there I pulled a little reference and got started. It always begins with a brown Col-erase pencil, for me.

There you have it!

And like the urVa piece, just for myself, I went in with a bit work in Photoshop tinkering with a little color and texture.

As long as folks keep asking (and who am I kidding, even if they don’t) I’ll gladly plumb the depths of a world as rich, strange, and compelling as The Dark Crystal.

A walk in Thra, however brief, always leads new ideas and visions.