Tuesday, August 9, 2022



This next cover is something I'm VERY excited about. I was asked to draw 10 monsters inspired by the work of Philip Fracassi that will be accompanied by an essay by the author! This is another Lethe Press project and you can actually preorder it here!

So the first things first, I got a pile of Fracassi books in the mail. While it may sound daunting, I am a huge fan so it took no time at all to read them and find inspiration. Also, the copy of Shiloh is mine and I had read it a few years ago.

After that it was time for the cover. As opposed to the Green Thumb cover I didnt have a super solid idea for this one. I knew the main element I wanted: a "forest spirit" from the story Coffin front and center with huge swooping horns in a triangular panel. The rest came as I went back over the monsters I'd drawn. I realized thematically and aesthetically they didn't fit. BUT I also decided it would be cool to put some monsters on the cover that weren't included in the book. So I pulled from his novella Commodore; It's the story of a group of young boys that go on am excursion to a forbidden junk yard where they encounter a massive gnarled tree and a car that can do some sinister things. They wind up face to face with winged creatures and some vaguely described swimming things. 

I began to gather reference. Because of the element of time/space travel in Commodore I used some prehistoric creatures as a starting point. Namely the scaphognathus (from Charles Whymper's illustration pictured below) for the flying creatures and dunkleosteus for the fish monster on the left. For the other one I looked at pics of a cat skull and  salamander body.

I had also begun to work out how I wanted the text to look. I had an old W.W. Denslow illustrated edition of The Wizard Of Oz in mind (though the end result is pretty different). Side note: I've been to visit Denslow's grave at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla NY!

So you can see the really rough thumbnail with just the center panel worked out compared to the pencil drawing.

After that it was time to ink. You can see the cleaned scan on the left. I actually drew the wood bark texture on the tree and his branch "teeth" separately so they'd be easier to manipulate. After that I added all the flat color and the lines for each panel.

Next, I masked off all the various parts so that I could add atmosphere and/or color washes to push things back or make them stand out. Then the long but meditative process or rendering!

The last bits are adding those atmosphere/color wash layers, a background pattern and the hand drawn text!

Don't forget you can preorder Harboring Monsters here
at Lethe Press

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