Occasionally, when I'm not busy burying my enemies in shallow graves of dog's blood and bile, I slither into my basement and conjure demons with my trusty black magic ballpoints. Sometimes, if I'm generally pleased with the results, I share the creative process here as part of an ongoing series called Gross Anatomy. By now you may have heard about my guerrilla record label and action propaganda division, WYRD WAR, and the compilation LP I recently assembled titled Whispers Through the Black Veil. I asked twelve of my favorite muscians from various corners of the world to write a song based loosely on the esoteric roots of Halloween/Samhain/Día de Muertos and all came through in spades (pun intended). The record features the first recorded material from Lebenden Toten in 6 years and the first Thrones song since 2011. It also features the legendary haunted house music from Oregon's incomparable family-owned fantasy land Enchanted Forest, music never before heard beyond the wooded hills of its borders. Legendary soundtrack composer, sound FX designer and Academy Award winner Alan Howarth contributes a beautiful track titled Kill a Family that will have you looking over your shoulder, Midnight rips through a cover of The Sonics classic The Witch and my good friend Bobby Beausoleil delivers a very satisfying introspective blues-scale odyssey. I could go on, but suffice it to say, there are many treats waiting to be discovered. With a roster of such honorable participants, I knew I needed to do something very special for the cover. And that brings us to today's feature and the positive power of negative thinking. Come along if you dare...
A cryptic hieroglyph sets things in motion. Like most of my drawings, the initial idea comes in a flash of symmetry, shape and atmosphere, hastily scribbled on the nearest scrap of paper available like a premonition or a dream suddenly remembered.
This rose design is something of an homage to Portland, among other things. In fact, my reference was an actual tombstone, but I don't feel like disclosing specifics at the moment. Perhaps you recognize it?
I wanted the central imagery to suggest a spade, such as might be used to dig a grave.
Like so. Now the pencil is more or less ready for ink...
And so it begins.
The freezing moon can obsess you, indeed.
After about 40 hours in complete solitude, the inking is complete.
Finally, we scan and desaturate the drawing and drop it into a frame that mostly accentuates the crookedness of my lines. Oh well. I gave it a cream colored background that brings together the autumnal colors I wanted to use to underscore this compilation's themes of harvest, decay and the transition toward the dark half of the year. I've put together some great records in my time, but this project already holds a very special place in my heart. You can pre-order it now at WYRD WAR.
"When twilight falls on your life and fear stares into your soul,
daylight simply slips away..."