Sunday, March 8, 2015

Evolution of Cthulhu & Concept Art

Evolution of Cthulhu and Concept Art

I am going to take you on a little journey of the art and design of Cthulhu who has over the years been my most prominent painting subject. For those of you know don't know Cthulhu is H.P. Lovecraft's most famous creation despite the fact that Cthulhu only  appeared Lovecraft novel The Call of Cthulhu. While self training and going to college to gain my artistic skills I had decided  to sharpen my ability to perform as concept artist by working from his prose alone and to not to follow the crowd of previous depictions. Cthulhu has been and always will be my on going project. 

The Old one were, the Old Ones are, 
and the Old Ones shall be.

Cthulhu Rising
 My first attempts at painting Cthulhu was primitive at best because painting skill aside I really didn't understand my subject nor did I understand the process of doing concept art or the finer aspects of composition. This was actually before I had even read Lovecraft's work and I only saw the works of others and thought he was cool.

Star Spawn
My second attempt was after I actually started researching and reading Lovecraft's work and I started to understand a little more about Lovecraft's vision. This piece for example is a Starspawn part of Cthulhu's race once I learned that Cthulhu is actually an alien from another world, but his power was so great that he was elevated to godhood status by mankind. As you can see my skill was improving but I was also trying to break free from the depictions other artists have done in the past.

I did this piece when I finally started to understand the need of a visual narrative of an illustration and concept piece. I learned that I had to stimulate the imaginations of my viewers with my work in order to engage them. I kept things simple and straight forward and the feedback I got from this attempt was positive. It was then that I started to learn that I can't operate in a vacuum and needed feedback from my audience.
Lovecraft's Original Sketch

             Wishful Thinking 
Blind Perspective

About this time I was exploring Cthulhu's design even more, but this time I allowed to look at only one visual depiction and that was from Lovecraft's own sketch of how he saw Cthulhu looking. Also during this time I was really learning how to push my rendering skills and exploring in techniques of color and rendering.

Cthulhu Concept
In this design I was trying to break away from the conventional presentations of how Cthulhu was suppose to look like. At this point in time I ended up view other Cthulhu depictions. I think at the time I was also being influenced by other movies. For instance, I forget the name of the movie but it showed a dragon that had feather like wings that were actually scales.

Ends to a Mean
Once again I was exploring the narrative and to this day I found that being able to show a narrative is not only important for illustration but also for concept art and for the very same reasons. One of illustration and concept artwork most important aspects is the need to communicate to the viewer whether it be a general audience or an art director. This piece was also about having fun as it is bit of fan art when you notice the cube the little girl is holding is the puzzle box from the Movie Hell Raiser.

Cthulhu Sketch
This piece actually was a sketch I did during a lecture in one of my art classes, but I was paying attention, honest! This was an important design because I had started to to get tunnel vision in my design and I started to let go. When I mean by tunnel vision I mean it was the only solution I felt was worth exploring or I felt that would work. Letting go of such perceptions is probably one of the hardest things to do in order to become a good concept artist because you have to be able to present different variations of a single subject in order to get the desired result.

Cthulhu's Uninvited 
Again in this piece I was exploring the narrative more and a bit of design as well. I was also returning to the literary description as it described Cthulhu having scales.

Wishful Thinking 2
Here I returned to this piece knowing sometimes going back and doing it again is a good thing and that you don't want to throw away a good thing just for the sake of progress.

Lastly here is my latest concept design of Cthulhu. Again I was letting go of previous design, but I returned to some of the more literary descriptions of Cthulhu by Lovecraft, but also based on feedback and discussions with fellow Lovecraftians. Again here you see my skill has improved considerably and this is due to time of constantly doing art, but also the contracted speculation work I have been doing for MMOmagic as a concept artist which hopefully will pay off someday soon or at the very least has been giving me experience as a concept artist.
Cthulhu Concept
Today I still work as a freelance artist and I don't always know where the money is coming as commissions come in sporadically which makes it hard to pay the bills. In order to counter balance this I have to work with my clients which include helping them or working with them for kickstarter projects like the one below. Please help by becoming a risk free money backer, by sharing this blog on various social media such as Facebook, twitter and more, or be excellent by doing both!