Thursday, May 27, 2010


Below is a picture we painted last fall for Del Rey's El Borak and Other Desert Adventures. It was painted in oil, 12 × 16", centered on a 16 × 20" Ampersand Hardbord panel. It illustrates a scene from Robert E. Howard's story "Three-Bladed Doom" in which El Borak is attacked by a screaming yeti! Needless to say, we had a lot of fun with this one (click picture to see larger):

 Not until it was looming over him, the great arms
closing upon him, did Gordon move...

Usually we'll do numerous concepts for any illustration, but below is our very first thumbnail -- done 2¾ × 3¾" in colored pencil. It nailed what we wanted, and as you can see, apart from the color design, we ended up sticking pretty close to this tiny doodle:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

B&W: Part Four

Another set of our greyscale vignettes:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob: Atlantean

The comic strip below is a nice example of how sometimes a little first hand knowledge can go a long way when working with biographical material.

In 2008 we were preparing an episode of The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob scheduled to appear in Dark Horse Comics’ Kull #1. We’d come across a letter from REH to his friend Harold Preece in which Bob ruminates on the theory that he might be a reincarnated Atlantean. The subject matter was perfect for Kull, but the text is abstract and doesn’t directly suggest accompanying visuals.

Fortunately, in 1999 we’d attended our first Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains, and found ourselves invited to accompany REH scholar Rusty Burke on his first climb to the top of West Caddo Peak — a local landmark, which along with its little brother, East Caddo Peak, rises up sharply out of the flat Cross Plains landscape to form the highest elevation for many miles around. The owner of Caddo Peak Ranch was the late Frank Murray, who had heard stories of how REH liked to climb the Peaks (Howard, in fact, even set one of his stories, "Spanish Gold on Devil Horse" on the East Peak). Mr. Murray graciously allowed us onto his ranch, and guided us on our hike.

At the top, we saw what we expected — commanding views of the surrounding countryside in every direction — but we also saw something that we never would have expected had we not gone there for ourselves. It turns out that if you climb to the top of Caddo Peak, and poke around a little bit, you’ll discover that the Peak is practically littered with fossils. Not mammal fossils, either — fossils of ancient SEA creatures. It’s pretty strange to stand at the top of a dusty hill in the dead center of Texas, hundreds of miles from any large body of water, and find something that had once been deep under the sea.

We’re told by local residents that people have been finding those fossils up there for as long as anyone can remember. Although Bob never wrote about the fossils, it’s impossible to imagine that he could have been to the top of the Peak and not noticed them there.

It made the perfect visual to accompany the musings of a reincarnated Atlantean.

Below is the finished strip as published in Dark Horse Comics' Kull #1, November 2008 (click on the image to see larger):

Sadly, Frank Murray passed away in 2003, but each year on Howard Days his family continues to invite REH Days attendees to hike the Peak and join them for a fantastic sunset BBQ on their ranch. It's a wonderful ending to a great weekend. The 2010 REH Days are being held on June 11-12, and we're thrilled to have been invited to serve as this year's Guests of Honor. If you can make it out to Cross Plains, we'd love to see you there.

For more info on the Caddo Peaks, check out Damon Sasser's recent post over at his website — REH: Two-Gun Raconteur.

For more information and schedules for this year's REH Days, please go to this LINK.