Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Orchard Fruit

This is the rough sketch to finished piece I did for the Strange Aeons strange fiction magazine which I've contributed to a few times and am listed in the credits as Staff Artist, having done some of the border and header treatments.
I had the distinct pleasure of doing an illustration for Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. writer of the highly recommended Blood Will Have Its Season.
Joe is a fantastic horror fiction author under the influence of H.P. Lovecraft, R.W. Chambers, W.S. Burroughs, Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis and the like, as viewed through an avant-rock-n-roll stop-motion nightmare of a vintage sepia-toned human abattoir.  A world where darkened street lamps cast reflections on puddles of sickness that may be portals to other dimensions (...a glimpse of dim Carcosa?) or puddles casting a crimson reflection of your face that does not seem all together your own any more. Joe shines a blinding light into the places most would rather leave to imagination and then peels back the flaking paint with a rusty hook to reveal the true meat of our psyche. Joe runs madly right up to the fine line where what passes for life and what equals death or worse hang by the same strand of viscera, poetically teasing and punching you into turning your truth into his dare.
Upon first read of Joe's work, you really feel like your walking in someone elses shoes, his cadence is not your own, and the words themselves don't like to play nice, they don't lay back and let you read them, they wrestle with you. The words Joe puts forth don't hand you the obvious, but let you be the detective in your own filthy noir, collecting the samples, smelling the remains, peering through broken windows and tasting untouched skin. After reading a few of Joe's tales, I'm always surprised where he takes me and upon closing his books I feel beautifully naughty and gluttonous...
...Where was I? ah, yes, I did an illustration for one of Joe's stories called Orchard Fruit, it's a bit of a reveal image that I had fun figuring out.

I made some changes from sketch to final ink, moved the arm down behind the corpse and upon doing a little research on Joe Pulver, found some neat pictures of him at the grave of one of his favorite writers, Robert W. Chambers (the scribe of  The King in Yellow and other horror stories), so I changed the tombstone to reflect the one in Joe's photo.

Below: This is how it looks in Strange Aeons Issue No. 1


  1. You AND your pictures rock. And you're not just "listed" as Staff Artist - you ARE the Staff Artist! When we come to you with a request, you exceed our expectations and do it at FTL speeds!!!

  2. Fantastic, Nick. Two swell fellas teaming up for one of the best publications out there.