Thursday, April 29, 2010

Valley of the Worm — unpublished painting

Originally intended for the Subterranean Press edition of Crimson Shadows, this is an unpublished painting of Niord and the "Worm" from Robert E. Howard's epic 1934 story, "The Valley of the Worm."

We painted this large, 30 × 40" in oil on canvas, and had an impossible time finding a local photographer who could make a chrome for us. We eventually gave up and painted a completely different, smaller version on illustration board at 12 × 16", which could be laid on a scanner, and eventually became the version published in the book. Illustrator, Boris Vallejo (who also happens to be a camera buff), was kind enough to later help us take a picture of this large, previously unseen canvas, using a digital camera (click on the image to see larger).

When we lived in Los Angeles, getting large paintings photographed was never a problem, but in Pittsburgh it's still an issue we haven't solved to our satisfaction.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

B&W: Part Three

Here's a few more of our ink wash pieces. All done 10 × 15" on illustration board.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


This picture was painted in 2004 for the cover of the western collection, The End of the Trail, published by University of Nebraska Press (Bison Books). At the time we painted this, we hadn't been given a final contents list. All we had was the title, and that's what we went with — The End of the Trail. Painted a big 30 × 40" in oil on stretched canvas. Click to see larger:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob: Burkett

Here's a quick anecdote about the research gymnastics required for barely noticeable details in a biographical comic strip.

In an undated letter (ca. March 1933) to August Derleth, Robert E. Howard wrote about shooting a gun off the back porch of his house, resulting in his getting chewed out by a neighbor. REH gave no specific details regarding when and where this happened, but he does mention that he was just a kid at the time, and that his family had, "just moved in from the country." As far as we know, biographers had always assumed that the incident happened at REH's house in Cross Plains, Texas — so we drew our comic that way. It wasn't until we'd finished that we suddenly realized the incident couldn't have taken place in Cross Plains, since REH clearly wrote that he'd, "just moved in from the country!" He wouldn't have considered his previous hometown of Burkett "the country," so he must have been referring to his family's move from the remote area of Cross Cut to Burkett in June of 1918.

The Howard's house in Burkett is no longer standing and no photos (that we know of) exist, so we redrew the appropriate panels using a generic house design common to the area. The minute we finished the redo we discovered a small floor plan to the Burkett house, drawn from memory by Deoma Morgan (daughter of Howard family friend, Dr. Chambers).

So ... we redrew the house again, this time following Deoma's plan.

Of course, in the finished strip you barely see any of the house, but, for what it's worth, we tried our best to make what little you do see as accurate as possible, with the door and windows is in the right places in relation to the back porch. Maybe someday someone will find a photograph of the house, and we'll get to do it all over again.

Here's the finished strip as it appeared in Dark Horse's Conan and the Demons of Khitai #2, back in 2005 (click to see larger):

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two-Gun Bob: Sculpt

In 2006, we made a small Two-Gun Bob sculpt. It stands 5 1/2 inches from the bottom of the base to the top of his hat. It was modeled over armature wire using blue Sculpey (later baked and painted white). Master sculptor and all around nice guy, Clayburn Moore, came through with lots of helpful advice. We'd hoped to make some copies, but never quite got the hang of the casting process.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

REH Days: Cross Plains, TX

Each year in Cross Plains, Texas, they hold a weekend of events to celebrate the life of hometown author Robert E. Howard. This year REH Days will be held on June 11 & 12, and the theme is "The Illustrators of REH." We were surprised and flattered when they asked us to be the Guests of Honor!

REH Days is a lot of fun, with numerous events, panels, tours, and even a BBQ planned. You can see the complete schedule and other information by clicking HERE.

If you send any mail from the Cross Plains Post Office on June 11th, they'll use a custom-made, REH-themed, postal cancellation. In years past, "Indiana" Bill Cavalier created some wonderful designs, but this year he graciously asked us if we would like to provide the design for the cancellation stamp. We did, and the people at Project Pride in Cross Plains were nice enough to allow us to show you the design here on our blog:

If you can make it to Cross Plains, you should check out REH Days. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Silver Age Two-Gun Bob!

To celebrate the new month, this is the cover of the one-and-only issue of DC's 1957 Tales of Mystery, which featured a rare Silver Age appearance by Two-Gun Bob (click to see it larger).