Be inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos
Alix Branwyn explains her traditional and digital process for creating a dark and moody Lovecraftian illustration, featuring a priestess of Dagon
Alix Branwyn mixes Lovecraft with California.
When you’re an artist, you’ll hit that moment when looking at something seemingly innocuous triggers a spark of inspiration. It happens so often I’ve taken to keeping a running email chain sent to myself whenever an idea strikes.
A recent trip to the California coast, watching waves crash on the jagged dark rocks rising like teeth from the ocean, served as my inspiration for this piece. The hypnotic and lulling crash of the waves, an alluring yet creepy figure beckoning, and the terrifying unknown of the ocean seemed like a good combination for an image based on the Esoteric Order of Dagon, a cult who worshiped a fish god, from the works of HP Lovecraft.
I start out with a checklist, cobbled together from advice gleaned over the years, that I put together for myself as an exercise in being more mindful when creating a piece. It covers a lot of points, but primarily: create a clear focal point, a story to tell, and a balanced composition that will hold the viewer’s attention.
While I typically start with a clear image in my head when working from inspiration rather than a design brief, I often find that when I revisit elements on my checklist, I need to review aspects of my design. Like nearly every artist, I know from the start that the end result won’t quite be the image I had in my head, but I feel the elements that emerge differently and change are half of the fun.