I had what we call a "bizness meeting" with my friend Karina Halle today. Which generally means Jack Daniels, food, some talk about art, music, and of course her Experiment in Terror series of horror novels. The third book (Dead Sky Morning)came out recently, and that was the start of my involvement in the project - I drew the map that appears in the opening pages.
Just for fun I whipped up a full-colour version, too:
If you're not familiar with D'Arcy Island (and I wasn't), it was the site of a leper colony for Chinese-Canadians from 1891-1924. A pretty grim real-life story, but worth looking up. The book uses the site and its sordid history as its setting. I'm still reading it, but so far it's really creeped me out several times. Which is a pretty rare quality in a horror novel these days, my friends.
Anyhow, Karina has 5 more books projected in the series, and has enlisted my creative abilities to help with the process. In addition to the map, I've designed a logo:
(Part of the premise of the books is that the two lead characters make a web-TV show about their paranormal exploits, so the logo for the book series doubles as the one for the fictitious show.)
The next project was more involved: a definitive portrait of these characters. It started with this basic sketch:
We made a ton of changes to this, but the basics still made it all the way through the design process. Once we nailed down the basic looks of Perry and Dex in the pencil stage, it was time to do inkwash renderings of them:
I also had a slew of ideas for background treatments for this picture. In the end we used three separate concepts, including one where I made a collage of pages ripped out of the first book, Darkhouse (kind of a weird and surreal experience to take a friend's book and literally tear it to pieces).
Without further ado, here are the three different versions of the illustration, which Karina will be using to promote the books:
So that, is essence, is the beginning - for me at least. We've got a ton of ideas for future illustrations (I'd like to incorporate some photography and sculpture to accompany the more traditional illustration), and I'll be helping out in any way I can when the trailer for Dead Sky Morning is being shot. We're even trying to arrange a trip to D'Arcy Island, which hopefully isn't anywhere near as haunted as it is in the book.
Cheers, then. A toast to creativity, collaboration and chills down your spine.