This blog was developed in order to showcase some of my more chilling concept work in progress as well as document early influences. These are visions of haunted dreams on darkest nights... distant memories to be relived over and again in fitful slumber:

It is a springtide in time forgotten; with eyes ajar, I can still feel my childish fingers brush lazily against long dry grass in a field that is littered with stones. A hazy sun slips behind the dark cool clouds. I wear cut-offs and squat barefoot on the graying loam. The goblins are here. I can see their dread features hidden in the twisted crags of broken rocks...drawn in shiver lines.

A Wicked Ink Experiment

>> Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dermoids Got Guts inked with a  hint of 1950's Horror Comic style.
The ink art was completed with a brush-tipped Pitt Artist Pen from Faber-Castell on a vellum overlay. The sweeping curve of the horizontal hatching and black pools of shadow give the rendering an open airy feel for such a tight, close shot.
Dermoids Wicked Progeny © and TM Tom Hicke.


A Dermoids Deviation

>> Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dermoids Got Guts pencil art with a retro comics spin.
Most of the sketches shown here are experiments playing off a variety of metamorphosis themes. This concept features a lumbering Quasimodo-type Dermoid emerging from an quivering tent of entrails. It's a  blend of a quasi-human marsupial with larval development. Crazy ideas can make for cool art, especially in horror fiction.
 My sketching process tends to include exploration of  technique and visual context to shape a design. The style for this sketch is unusually open and cartoony compared to others in the Dermoids Wicked Progeny series. All those great influences just keep surfacing. I love the comic art of Darwin Cook, Bruce Timm, Carmine Infantino and Steve Ditko; it really shows in this sketch.
Following an artistic urge away from the established approach can be a good move, if time allows. Most anything that leads to previously unconsidered creative solutions, can lead to better work. 
 Dermoids Wicked Progeny © and TM Tom Hicke.


Into the Dark Wood_part 02

>> Saturday, February 18, 2012

Note the change in posture as well as the bulk of the cloak.
Here is new version of the clergyman, looking very much alarmed  to be in the forest at witching hour. His character's been tightened up with more careful rendering. A few things were added or removed to improve the drama. [to be continued.]
Into the Dark Wood © 2009 Tom Hicke.


Into The Dark Wood_part 01

>> Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ichabod Crane inspired this first pencil sketch
This sketch was drawn loosely over an enlarged thumbnail, fastened under a sheet of vellum. I like to keep it loose initially, relying mainly on imagination. Here a reference was used for some of the detail and lighting.
A little creative exaggeration is far more interesting to me than straight ahead realism. Albert Dorne and Norman Rockwell are two excellent artists who put the idea to practice very effectively. A great deal can be gleaned from the many fine magazine illustrators of the 1940's and 50's.
Later in the day, I took a second look to see it with a fresh eye. Seems to be going in the right direction but the figure still needed work.
The nice thing about overlays is that a new beginning is easy as taping a new sheet of vellum over the layout for further exploration. I enjoy using multiple methods for developing sketch ideas; it helps to keep the process as interesting and fun as it should be efficient.  [continued next post]
Into the Dark Wood © 2009 Tom Hicke.



>> Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fissures drawn along the crusted earth appear…
mere scratches on God’s own guarded ground.
Yet behind this benign facade so unrevealing,
bares a secret...
beneath the cryptic seam’s concealing:
Within the chasm cracked and yawning…
vile, slinking things are spawning.
Fiends that mark a lonely ambler’s stumbling stride…
to crack and crush his hollow bones,
then swallow him alive.
Cracked © 2010 Tom Hicke.

Written a while back, this piece brings to mind a wonderful and captivating poem that scared me silly as a child. I could barely stand to read it without slamming the over-sized children's book shut. If it's been a while since you dared... check out the inimitable Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky.


Quick Sketch_part 03

>> Monday, January 2, 2012

River Kobold and Slough Sprites don't usually get along.
Drawing is a dreaming awake. Pencil to paper can feel electric and ghostly like a magic lantern image only you can see until the drawing is complete. It is an intimate and strange sensation to see beings of some forgotten world crawl and writhe across your sketchbook page.

This fellow looks angry at having to sit for this sketch. Too bad.
This quickly inked goblin head [shown near actual size] was completed on vellum overlay for a student demonstration in my Pen, Brush, and Ink Illustration class this past semester.
 Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke.  


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