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.

Quick Sketch_part 02

>> Sunday, December 18, 2011

Average 9 foot Cave Damon [on the right] and a particularly large and nasty Squalor [left.]
I usually get back to loose sketches to finish them more, even if they go unused for their assigned project. Recycling a sketch for another concept or finishing it could inspire something entirely different. [continued next post]
Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke.


Quick Sketch_part 01

>> Monday, November 28, 2011

Crow Ogre standing next to a 6 foot man.
Back in school, creative compulsion didn't allow for paint drying time or procedural pauses. I found it both necessary and an easier solution to work on several paintings at once. My personal design process has an interesting correlation.  
I may cover several sketch book pages in an hour, only working as long as it takes to form a complete concept in as few lines as possible. Drawings can be put on hold at any time to quickly pursue a new idea they've inspired. Each day reaps finished work and seeds to sow for the next. [continued next post]
Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke.


New Creature Skull Sketches

>> Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two more unused rough skulls from the series.  [near actual size.]
For rough sketches, the tone and hatching combo appeals to me.
Video Game Concept Skulls © 2011 Tom Hicke.


Swamp Thing

>> Sunday, October 30, 2011

Watercolor works well to depict an  Elemental.
As I was growing up, Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein's Swamp Thing TM DC Comics, was an enormous influence on my work. Many comics fans comment on that when they see some of my horror sketches. I love Wrightson's art and artist's like Franklin Boothe, Jack Davis, and Roy Krenkel who influenced him greatly.

This miniature sketch of Swamp Thing was painted very loosely for an image only 1.5"x 2". Working loose, tight, large, small, with an airbrush, in oils, watercolor or whatever medium's all stimulating and beautiful.  

 Two enlarged details below show some interesting and painterly suggestions from the subject at left.

A 1/2" Flat, a #5 Pointed Round and only four colors were used to paint the tiny portrait of  the Mossy Mammoth .


Creature Skull Sketches

>> Sunday, October 9, 2011

A couple of unused rough skulls for a video game concept [near actual size.]
I like to begin with nothing but imagination and design shapes that are interesting. It's faster. Taken to the next level, animal or human skull reference would be used to enhance authenticity. I picked up the idea of consulting references afterwards, while briefly working with some exceptional storyboard artists at a small studio in Chicago.
Video Game Concept Skulls © 2011 Tom Hicke.


Gothic Terror Buried Beneath 80's Camp_part 01

>> Sunday, September 25, 2011

DVD Covers from 3 releases of The Monster Club [1980]
The Monster Club is probably the last of the British anthology horror film of which I've seen only a few. More familiar are Stephen King's Creepshow films, an homage to the best of Horror and Sci-Fi comics from the 1950's EC tradition.

The Prolific and Stylish John Carradine and The Immortal Vincent Price.

These are the two actors that initially prompted my keen interest interest in The Monster Club on an early 80's USA Network cable station fright feature. Carradine and Price deliver, despite the campy dialogue and silliness in the scenes devised to frame the films trilogy format.

A Conversation with Two All-time Favorite Classic Horror Film Stars.
Monster movies played an important part in forming my already overactive imagination. The Monster Club manages to serve up a two tales with striking visuals and bleak Gothic themes that reinforced my fascination for arcane imagery. [continued next post.]
The Monster Club TM 2006 Pathfinder Home Entertainment.


Gothic Terror Buried Beneath 80's Camp_part 02

>> Sunday, September 11, 2011

A John Bolton Pin up from House Of Hammer Magazine for The Monster Club movie[1980.]
The Monster Club's rock 'n roll nightclub narrative framing device had it's share of memorable moments, such as the New Wave bands performing the campy Monster Club music and a stripper who takes it all off...right down to the skeleton. These segments make the movie fun, but were not the part that really grabbed my imagination.
The Shadmock displays his gentle innocence.
The first story, entitled "The Shadmock" showcased lush period settings, striking costume design, and Gothic atmosphere reminiscent of classic Hammer Films. Based on the short story written by the late British horror writer R. Chetwynd-Hayes, featuring a hybrid-monster with a diabolical whistle. The tale begins with the monstrous mogul hiring a new assistant, Angela, to help catalog his possessions. The tension mounts to an awful ending for the young woman, as she reluctantly agrees to help her crooked boyfriend swindle The Shadmock out of his fortune.

Shadow and foreshadowing in The Shadmock's garden.
The art from the comic book adaption has its own appeal.
John Bolton's art on the comics version of the Lost In Town.
The Monster Club's final tale concerns an American film director who stumbles into a  mysterious 17th century village populated by Ghouls. The antique illustrations used as part of the plot were my first exposure to the incredible art of John Bolton, a fact that I didn't realize until several years later. The art was equally frightening and fascinating; it burrowed its way into my brain as these were easily the best ink drawings I'd seen.

I remembered this scene vividly from 25 years ago.
My early influences were gleaned from great novels, classics, The Twilight Zone and a host of other shows in the same vein. If course it all started with the Universal monster flicks replayed on PBS. These were all transformed by my outlandish imagination into something more than vivid. It's hard to experience some of the source material the same way now, but the memories are as potent as ever.  
The Monster Club has been released at least 3 times on DVD; it's still fun to watch my own copy from time to time.


Faemen -Tree Troll

>> Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Tree-Troll who's rather embarrassed to be so short by normal Tree-Troll standards.

A Tree-Troll drawing for a comic book revamp pitch. He is a rotten twisted Ent-like servant for a treacherous, lunatic sorceress. No definite deadline, so this fits neatly between pending projects. 
I usually see my influences long after a sketch is finished. For me it's a treasure chest of inspiration. There is a hint of Michael Kaluta in this sketch. 

Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke


Faemen -Thorn Goon

>> Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thorn Goon scaled next to a tall human half-wit who is 5 times more intelligent than himself.
A Thorn Goon is approximately 8 feet tall and similar to a Golem. They are dumb, powerful, short tempered creatures created to serve evil men. If you see one, keep your wits about you ...and run.

Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke.


More Fae-Men Designs

>> Sunday, July 17, 2011

Different levels of acuity and focus spark life into each goblins gaze.
Here are some quick sketches of more goblin-like characters for the same project. The final sketches will be selected with a contrast. At this point, I merely searching my imagination with the pencil. At least two of the characters are reminiscent of Rick Veitch. It seems funny because haven't looked at his work for a long time and don't use reference for rough concepts. I love seeing buried bits and pieces of all the pros who've inspired me....more to follow.

Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke. 


Fae-Men Designs

>> Sunday, July 3, 2011

These are a few of my favorites so far.
Fae-Men is the working title for these character designs. The thorns are a motif representing the dangerous, dark magic of these foul forest beings. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice the Stephen Bissette influence. I was first influenced by his Swamp Thing Comics after Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson's seminal run as the original creators of the series.

Fae-Men Designs © 2011 Tom Hicke.  


Blast From The Past_part 06

>> Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pencil Sketch Referenced From Movie, London after Midnight [1927]
Lon Chaney, man of 1000 faces and the star of countless horror films including the lost and much sought after silent movie from which this image is referenced. The last known copy of London after Midnight was destroyed in a fire in an MGM film vault in 1967.

 London after Midnight TM 1927 MGM


Blast From The Past_part 05

>> Monday, June 6, 2011

Pencil Sketch Referenced From Movie, Dracula [1931]

 Lugosi stars in the timeless, Dracula. Even an 8 year old could see Bela Lugosi was a true original. Graphic simplicity and bold blacks in tribute to the master of horror film finesse. Long live Lugosi.

Dracula TM 1931 Universal Pictures.


Blast From The Past_part 03

>> Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pencil Sketch Referenced From Movie, The Lost Boys [1987]
During high school days, The Lost Boys was my favorite vampire flick sans Van Helsing. This film had teenaged heroes and rock n roll style vampires ala Billy Idol and David Bowie New Wave fashion.
The drawing came out well with a good balance of tone and light hatch-work. Reminds me of another art hero, John Bolton.

 The Lost Boys TM 1987 Warner Bros.


Comic Books and Vampires

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011

 I started collecting more illustrative comics magazines by age 14 . A Halls Of Horror found at a used book store was a prize possession; it featured the startling artwork of John Bolton on a comics adaption of the Hammer film, Dracula Prince of Darkness. The issue came complete with an interview detailing how he managed his artistic alchemy.

A beautifully rendered page by John Bolton.
The cover that first caught my attention.

Another immaculate page from Dracula Prince of Darkness by Mr. Bolton.

All Images © and TM respective Owners.


Blast From The Past_part 02

>> Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pencil Sketch Referenced From Movie, Fright Night II [1988]

Fright Night [1985] was a favorite from first sight. With a cast that included the impeccable Roddy McDowall the charismatic and talented William Ragsdale. This image is from the sequel reprising much of the original cast; it's still fun with a few great visual effects, just not quite as cool as the original.

The Original from 1985...

...Part 2 from 1988

  ...and Now a remake from 2011. Maybe it will make 
some kids curious enough to see the classic version.

Fright Night, Fright Night II TM Lions Gate Films.


A Hammer Horror Tribute

>> Sunday, April 10, 2011

If you don't want to rock hard, my condolences... just mute the sound and get your imagination wired with the original cinema phantasmagoria of Hammer Films.

Hammer Films made high quality horror movies from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. Hammer utilized superstar acting talents such as Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed and Raquel Welch in many of their best known titles. As a teen, Hammer's drama and style glued my eyes to the TV screen and gave me electric inspiration to draw my own dark dreams.
Film Footage TM Hammer Film Productions. 

These extra bits are from Hammer Films and The House of Hammer, TM and © Hammer Films.
Captain Kronos,Vampire Hunter and Father Shandor, Demon Stalker circa 1973-74 really grabbed my attention at 12. I guess cable TV in the 80's did affect young, because heroes who fought demons and the undead...Rocked.


Blast From The Past_part 01

>> Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lust For A Vampire [1971] Pencil Sketch

Unpublished work from the 1990's in a quick sketch style for a sculpture project that required several movie vampire illustrations painted on its surface. I like to base rendering style and design approach on the needs of the job rather than applying one specific approach to creative situation.
This sketch was made from movie still from a Hammer Films production that was part of The Karnstein Trilogy [1970–72] which was fairly daring in its day. The photography, costumes, and set design completed in the impeccable Hammer style were what caught my attention.

Lust For A Vampire TM Hammer Film Productions.  


The Howling Influence [ Art Transforms.]

>> Sunday, March 13, 2011

...and the transformation scene from The Howling [1981.]

The Howling is TM and © the respective holder[s.]

This movie was probably the first modern horror film I saw as a kid. It was playing on HBO or maybe USA Network. The great drawings used as suspense builder for the scares to come [by production artist Richard Hescox] were a big plus too.


Half-Done. [Dermoids Wicked Progeny]

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another Dermoid in the process of becoming...

Oops John Totleben influence is showing.

Dermoids Wicked Progeny and All Associated Images © and TM Tom Hicke.


Lung Baby [Dermoids Wicked Progeny]

>> Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dermoids Wicked Progeny and All Associated Images © and TM Tom Hicke. 
This design explores a pseudo-science development of one of the Dermoids from Wicked Progeny. I like the idea of subversive creatures birthed from unlikely places. It probably stems from an unconscious horror that animals and humans explode from the womb. It's beautiful and ghastly at the same time. 

Scene from Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien.
Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 are Trademarks of 20th Century Fox.



>> Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grim thoughts formed
the ancient gods of blackened blood.
Layered and entombed,
within their silent catacombs,
against walls of reason
...shrill voices starkly echo.
  Untold © 2009 Tom Hicke.
Some cool Dark Gods as imagined by the great H.P. Lovecraft and illustrated by various talents.
All images are © their respective holders.

I'm very inspired by most of Clive Barker's seminal horror novels, especially the visuals from films like Night Breed [1990] which gave me more than enough imagery to kick start my imagination:

Night Breed TM Morgan Creek Productions.
Based on the 1988 novella Cabal © Clive Barker.


Incubation [Dermoids Wicked Progeny]

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dermoids Wicked Progeny and All Associated Images © and TM Tom Hicke.
There are several possibilities for the birthing of Dermoids. The more outrageous ideas appeal to the mad scientist in me. Remember David Cronenberg's The Fly [1986] was steeped in Lovecraft's horror-fantasy more than science acting as more of a plot device. Remember Jeff Goldblum's matter transporter experiment gone haywire [see below.] How fast did you forget his hokey explanation of physics? I was slickly and quickly drawn into the classic dangerous knowledge horror theme via Goldblum and Geena Davis's stylishly matched performances.
TM 20th Century Fox and all respective holders.


Chest-Cavity Child [Dermoids Wicked Progeny]

>> Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dermoids Wicked Progeny and All Associated Images © and TM Tom Hicke.
The name says it all.


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