One of my very favorite clients to work for is Tor.com. Over the years I have learned having the opportunity to work with a great art director is a gift, and there are at least two of the best art directors in the publishing industry at Tor- Irene Gallo (Also Publisher) and Christine Foltzer. When I get the call, I know it will be a challenge. I like being challenged.
“Baby Teeth” , short story by Daniel Polansky described thusly : “A forlorn teenager’s monotonous life is interrupted when a stranger draws him into the hunt for a vampiric serial killer. He will learn that while monsters are much more real than he thought, there is no such thing as heroes.” The story revolves around the Vampire hunter and his teenage sidekick. The actual vampire is almost always offstage. My idea was to show the moment when the sidekicks love interest succumbs to the vampire, but the are interupted by the viewer. I took my cue from the famous painting “The Nightmare” by Henry Fusseli. Two of my students were game to model for the figures.
For many years I did detailed pancil preliminary drawings for assignments. Nowadays more often than not, i simply paint my sketches, and sometimes I take them far enought that they get run as finished art. In this case i made an extremely rough charcoal sketch, which I had originally planned to paint over:
somehow this sketch- one of many- seemed to have what I was after. But i felt like it needed to be a more polished piece than i originally planned. So I prepared a large linen-on-gatorboard panel and roughed in a loose version of the drawing:
I started out pretty loose, but I got the idea of isolating the figures on white. At this point i began to take it too far…
I started to block in a dark environment behind the figures….(forgive the poor quality of the in-progress photos, i shot them on my phone)
I began to get a bit nervous at this point…I wanted the girl to look as though drained of blood, but not dead…at this point I have been working on this for about 3 hours
Then started to refine the faces and edges…
Tha’s about where I wound up. perhaps I took it a little to far in terms of rendering. It’s easy to beat a painting to death (no pun intended) but when you do, they can come back to haunt you.
But once I was done and delivered the art, i had a nagging feeling that I didnt quite get the vampire I planned on….so I went back and made another painting just for myself as sort of practice.
This has a little more of what I was after, even though it is peripheral to the original assignment. I wasnt really planning to show it to anyone, but, well, it’s muddy colors day, so here you go. Noboody ever said it was going to be easy. But what else would I do with my life?