Lazarus

Forsaken by the Lord

& forgotten by Old Scratch.

I wander like a shadow

with no body to follow.

My whimpering soul sounds like the pattering rain

that ceaselessly falls upon the ruins of my life.

I am a whisper among men

a cold chill late at night

I am the hour glass, humanity is the sand.

I drift across the aeons

like a mote of dust

never to settle.

 

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EldritchWoods

The inspiration for Eldritch Woods started off fairly simply with a rough sketch of a gnarly old cottonwood tree that grows on the other side of the fence at my proverbial 9-5 job.  The tree in question has a large knot in it that reminded me of an eye. Hence, the tree in the drawing having an eye.

 

 

I approached this drawing wanting to use a variety of marks/lines/textures without having to result to using ink wash to create values. It took a bit longer than normal, but I’m pleased with the final results of the drawing. I used everything from a sumi brush, to stipling, hatching, cross-hatch, and a random assortment of squiggles.

I originally had the victim of the tree being a more contemporary figure, but decided to go with a cowboy-like figure instead since besides horror, Westerns are my favorite genre. I’m also a fan of weird Westerns, that mixture of horror/scifi and the ‘Wild West’.

The idea of Rufus came to mind while sketching, and the premise behind him is that he’s a French Canadian mountain man in the Rocky Mountain region during the early  19th century. Rufus’ world is an alternate reality/history where creatures and beings of a supernatural nature exist along side the mundane aspects of everyday life. My thoughts about Rufus continue to evolve, but the basic idea is that unlike your typical mountain man who hunts and traps ordinary creatures, Rufus is a hunter (and hunted) of the supernatural. My plans are to do a few more drawings featuring Rufus in this world and the creatures that exist along side it, as well as some short fiction or a short comic.

 

 

 

 

The Hunter and the Hunted (rough sketch)

Did this rough of  my new character Rufus Le Rue in a confrontation with a werewolf. Still toying with the light source and composition but like the direction it’s going now.  I may work on making the creature more wolfish than it is now.  Once that’s resolved I’ll start the final version in ink on Bristol. IMG_20180527_103028

Book Tag

*photo by Brady Harris, 1959.

I got the idea of the Book Tag from Anita Rodger’s blog. It seemed like a fun idea to try on this rather cool and rainy Sunday in my proverbial neck of the woods.

 

 

E-Book or Physical Book?

Lately, I’ve been reading physical books. I find them aesthetically pleasing, the smell and texture of the paper. The older I get the more I like tangible things, things built to last. A physical book is a perfect example. That being said, I do read e-books when it comes to small indie publishers or self-published books/stories. I just prefer not to stare at a screen for too long these days.

Paperback or Hardback?

I’ve always liked paperbacks. They’re easy to throw in a pack and take to school/work. Easier to hold. Not as costly.

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

I enjoy going to brick and mortar bookshops, especially independent ones like City Lights in San Fransisco and Tattered Cover in Denver, CO. When traveling I make it a point to check out any indie bookstore I spot. I enjoy the aroma of books and coffee mingling together, and you don’t get that online. That being said, if need be I do order online but its not the enjoyable experience like in person.

Trilogies or Series?

I’ve read numerous trilogies, but never a series. I’ve never found one that really hooked me into it for the long haul.

Heroes or Villains?

As long as they’re well developed characters, I enjoy both. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as ‘hating’ a great villain or routing for a well rounded hero.

A book you want everyone to read?

I haven’t wrote it, yet.

Recommend an underrated book?

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. A lot of people know him because of On The Road, but Dharma Bums really resonated with me.

The last book you bought?

Broken Moon, Vol 1 by Steve Niles and Nat Jones

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

Not sure, I normally dog-ear the pages.

Used Books: Yes or No?

I love used book stores and library book sales. My home town had a library book sale each summer where you could fill a grocery bag for under ten bucks. I acquired a lot of great stuff that way over the years.

Top three favorite genres?

Supernatural horror, (Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Laird Barron, etc). American History (colonial era up to WWI, with an emphasis on the American West).  True Crime.

Borrow or Buy?

Both.

Characters or Plot?

I’ll cheat and say both, but a good plot draws me in a lot quicker and stronger than drawn out character development and backstory.

Long or Short Books?

As long as its not full of filler and drawn out scenes, any length is good. That being said each word, each scene, each character should propel the plot/characters.

Long or Short Chapters?

Short chapters. It makes me feel more connected to the action in the story.

Name the first three books you can think of

Imajica, Call of Cthulhu, Return of the King

Books that make you laugh or cry?

An emotional connection is important either way.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Both.

Audio books: Yes or No?

I’ve never listened to an entire audio book, but I have listened to short fiction in audio form which can be enjoyable depending on the narrator. There’s a group out there that does radio plays of Lovecraft and other weird fiction authors which is quite good.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Of course, there’s some really shitty covers out there, but in general I pay more heed to the synopsis on the back cover rather than the ‘endorsements’ on the front cover by King or whoever or the flashy artwork.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Nope.

 

How about you? How would you answer to these questions? Feel free to tell me in the comments or consider yourself tagged and do your own version of the post.

 

Prophet of Madness

 

 

 

Prophet Of Madness is a mini-comic of four pages that I drew with traditional mediums of pen, brush, and india ink on bristol. I did the lettering digitally and tweaked the contrast a bit digitally as well. The story is based on a poem I wrote which was influenced by H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction.

ProphetOfMadness01
Page One
ProphetofMadness02
Page Two
ProphetOfMadness03
Page Three
ProphetOfMadness04
Page Four

Masters of the Macabre: Bernie Wrightson

I first discovered Bernie Wrightson back in my college days in Buffalo, NY.  He wasn’t one of the established artists of the academic world, and someone that my professors would, for the most part, thumb their collective noses at since as an illustrator/comic creator Bernie wasn’t a ‘true’ artist in their minds.

Fortunately, I had a small group of friends that were into comics, metal, punk, and horror/sci-fi movies from whom I learned about Bernie. What drew my attention to his work is  not just the subject matter, which was a big part of it, but his craftsmanship and attention to detail/composition.

I’ve always been fascinated with and drawn to, yes that’s a shitty pun, line work when creating art. A painting professor at the time made the statement that I’d be capable of painting with sticks, which is rather appropriate. I’ve never been interested in fields of color or blending. The abstraction of the line and the contrast of black ink and white paper always has been a part of my core as an artist. So, for me seeing Bernie’s work in black and white (although he has done color work and work in other mediums) was like manna from heaven. The fact that here’s a dude doing the type of work I adore in the medium I’m obsessed with was, and still is, fantastic. The fact that Bernie was alive and producing new work, unlike so many of the artists in the pantheon of the academic art world, was refreshing. It proved to me that not only was Bernie’s work relevant, but that that style and genre were too.

Despite the years that have passed since my college years, and the passing of Bernie last year, he still continues to inspire me and every time I look at his work I learn something new that can be applied to my own work and in my own style.

In the video interview I posted at the top Bernie mentions how when he draws its like his mind is projecting the image on the page as he draws, I can definitely relate to the idea. His thoughts on line drawing versus painting is also worth a listen.

 

The Cold Dread of Editing/Rewriting

Earlier this morning I finished the first draft of an art/fiction project I’ve been working on for awhile now. There’s definitely a certain thrill and sense of satisfaction when reaching the end, in particular when the story resolves itself in a satisfying way.

Yet, there’s always that dread at the end, or even while writing, that there’s going to be the inevitable editing/rewriting process. As any writer knows, it can be a tedious process. One that can cause self-doubt and frustration. It’s not uncommon to write a first draft that seems like a great piece only to go back through and realize you have no idea what the hell you were thinking the first time around.  Sometimes a piece like that can be salvaged and rewritten or perhaps totally scrapped and used solely as background info for writing an entirely new piece.

Personally, I found the best way to go through the editing process is to correct spelling and grammar first, then I listen to an audio version of the piece. It’s pretty amazing what a difference hearing it read aloud can make when it comes to sentence structure, dialogue, and other aspects of the prose. A lot of the issues that come up are things I don’t necessarily notice when reading silently or aloud myself. Then I go back and fix those issues.

In terms of continuity errors and etc, I use the program Scrivener for my projects which makes highlighting and adding notes to a project or specific sections pretty easy. I avoid going back and fixing something while writing the first draft, because I find it only encourages self-doubt and second guessing myself while trying to write the story. I think the first draft is more about getting the idea, plot, characters and etc down on the page,  and not about passive voice, exposition, and all the other 1001 neurotic ‘rules’ writers face.

 

 

Beauty is skin deep…

A quick lunch break sketch at the day job  With Copic multiliners.

If you are on Facebook, I now have a page for my artwork and writing there. Feel free to follow/like via this link https://www.facebook.com/ArtistKevinHurtack/

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Last Exit/Feed Your Monster

My sci-fi/horror flash fiction story Last Exit is now up on the website Feed Your Monster.

Synopsis: A lone survivor finds a means out of the wasteland, but trouble tags along for the ride.

You can read it for free via this link: Last Exit on Feed Your Monster

The Disturbance

I finished this one up earlier this morning. Strictly pen and ink with some brush work. I had been doing more with ink wash for tonal stuff and shading but decided to try my hand at stipling and other techniques to create values, textures. I’m  happy with how it turned out. I suppose I could’ve done stipling for the black areas but then I’d end up with carpal tunnel syndrome. But the solid blacks give the viewer’s eyes a break.

I’ve been trying to capture ‘a moment in time’ in my work lately. By that I mean trying to convey the idea that something is occuring or is about to occur rather than having a drawing where the subject matter is static, stiff, and posed. If find it far more interesting and more of a challenge to have subject matters that aren’t ‘posing’ for me. Conveying motion, emotion, some sort of plot or idea that’s either specific or vague. Like a snapshot from a half-remembered dream or a snippet of an old memory.

TheDisturbance