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.



Beauty is skin deep…

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

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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.


The Devil Comes At Midnight (Finished Drawing)


The Devil Comes At Midnight
The Devil Comes At Midnight – pen, ink, brush 2018 copyright Kevin Hurtack

Finished this up yesterday morning. I’m pleased with how it turned out, and after reading up and experimenting with GIMP I managed to get the tones just about right. I don’t think it’s possible to make them exact but I’m satisified with how it turned out as a scanned image.  I had a lot of fun doing this one.

My wife was the first one to see it complete and her words were ‘it’s insane, literally insane’. That’s what I was aiming for, so hopefully she’s not alone in her opinon.


WIP: The Devil Comes At Midnight


Started this drawing last weekend with the pencils. This morning I worked on the inking. I’m trying out some new materials this time and enjoying the results.  I’m using Dr.  Ph Martin’s Black Star ink and their Bombay red ink. It’s both terrific stuff. The Black Star is about as matte black as you can get and flows well when used with a crow quill pen.  I despise glossy inks so I am loving Black Star.

I’m also using Strathmore 400 Mixed Media paper which I haven’t used before. It’s made for wet and dry mediums and is supposed to not buckle/warp like other paper can. It’s a lot thicker and stiffer than the bristol plate I normally use. It’ll be interesting to see how well it holds up once I get into applying ink and brush as well as some some ink wash. I will say that it is nowhere near as smooth as the Strathmore 500 Bristol plate I use for most drawings, but it’s been working well enough.

The title ‘The Devil Comes At Midnight’ has been floating around my head for awhile now. The drawing started off as a rough sketch in my sketch book and evolved a bit from there. Actually, I’ve been doing several different sketches of this character in different scenarios. The idea original came about from the fact that the basement of my townhouse had a bunch of spiders in it when I first moved in. Throughout the summer I had to engage in a turf war with them.  Arachnids multiple eyes have always fascinated me, in a creepy way.


Even Death May Die…

Played around with some video editing software this morning and made this quick video featuring some of my artwork for fun. Back when I was in college I took a video production class as an elective. This was back in the early 1990’s when video cameras were the size of brief cases and used VHS tapes. Just writing that makes me feel old. It was a fun class, and learned how to edit in an actual editing suite. Still remember a bit but it’s much easier/quicker doing it on my laptop.

Deep Down (New Art/Poetry)

Deep Down



deep down

below the ground

the Eldritch lay

like forgotten gods

in their antediluvian tombs

calling out to mankind

across aeons of dust & grime

of fortunes untold

luring men fearless & bold

to their doom

in the eternal darkness and cold

Happy Halloween from ‘Eldritch Farms’

DSCF0541 (2)

Happy Halloween, to those of you who celebrate it like me. I finished up this drawing yesterday. It came about after my family and I went to a local garden center and bought some pumpkins for making Jack-o-Lanterns. A few days later a local squirrel got the notion that gnawing on them was a good idea. We ended up putting them inside, until Halloween night. But that incident got my imagination going and during my lunch break at work one day I did a sketch which turned into this pen and brush ink drawing.

However you celebrate Halloween this year, be wary of strange farms …

New Fantasy Art: Vengeance

Vengeance, gouache and ink on bristol 2017 copyright Kevin Hurtack



New Fantasy Art: Battle At Broken Arch


This is the latest fantasy piece I finished up the other day. It’s done with ink and pen along with ink wash with brush on bristol plate.

I went into this drawing with the plan of conveying the sense of action/motion in it. A lot of my previous work is rather static, a character posing/standing still. I wanted to challenge myself as well as engage the viewer in a different way rather than repeatedly do the same composition. I’m happy with the way that it turned out in terms of composition and having a sense of action to it.

I used strictly my hawk nib pen for this one, mainly to see how diverse it could be. It is much stiffer and perhaps not quite as super fine as the  more popular crow quill nib, but I found it to handle well and I like the stiffness of it. I didn’t feel like it was too flexiable or fragile like sometimes do when using the crow quill nib.  After using it solely for this drawing I came away confindant that its diverse enough to be used on a regular basis and perhaps become my dip pen of choice.

I also used ink wash, rather than black gouache, in this drawing as an experiment. Overall, I’m happy with the range of values the Speedball Super Black Ink gave me, but the paper did warp a bit too much for my liking due to the excessive watery nature of the wash. Gouache tends to be a bit thicker and doesn’t warp the paper at all, or not nearly as much as the ink wash.  The jet black gouache tends to be a deeper black as well, which I prefer.

For the white energy/lightning in the background around the woman warrior, I used Dr. Ph Martin’s Bleedproof White. It’s a white ink that’s about as thick as white out, but can be thinned down with water. It worked well with a brush, and it was interesting to see how well it worked. Although I may not use in every drawing, I can defintely see the benefits of using it in the future.

Thanks for stopping by and checking it out and don’t forget you can check out my other artwork by going to my home page by clicking on the link up top.