Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Shadow Kingdom: Step-by-Step

Here's a step-by-step look at our color plate for Robert E. Howard's classic story, "The Shadow Kingdom," which appears in the Subterranean Press edition of Crimson Shadows (if you click on the pictures, you can see them larger). The first set shows: Top left: Our concept thumbnail, done in marker at about 2 inches high. Top right: The subsequent pencil drawing. Bottom left: A quick color study done in Photoshop. Bottom right: The final drawing transferred to a gessoed board, and stained with a mixture of acrylic medium and ultramarine.


After that we begin painting with oil. The following pictures show a few stages along the way.


And finally, the completed painting. The murderous, snake-headed cult in the story inspired us to try to mix pulp art with the flavor of those wonderful Universal Studios monster posters of the 1930s. It was fun. This particular picture was painted very small — just 12 x 16 on illustration board. After this piece, we switched to painting on the much heartier Ampersand Hardbord instead.


"Kull saw the familiar faces dim like fading fog, and in their places
gaped horrid reptilian visages as the whole band rushed forward."


  1. Indy Bill CavalierMarch 7, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    I greatly enjoy seeing how you work together. Hope will see more of this kind of's like a mini art lesson!
    The Blog looks great as well!

  2. Thanks. I enjoy seeing behinds the scenes.

  3. That was really insightful, fantastic, I just love the way the colours make it so … lurid!! Brilliant, well done and a fantastic blog, I’m going to be coming back often! Thanks.

  4. I have trouble drawing a straight line so to see artists explain their work is fascinating to me. Keep up the good work!