Here’s my attempt at drawing Wilbur Whateley, the more anthropomorphic of the two title character(s) in HP Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.” I love, love this story, and I’d like to try drawing him some more. In this version I gave him “goatish” eyes.
One of the interesting things about “The Dunwich Horror” is it shows a new direction in Lovecraft’s monster-descriptions, towards scientific precision. Wilbur Whateley’s inhuman appearance (“Below the waist, though, it was the worst; for here all human resemblance left off and sheer phantasy began…”) is described in clinical detail, almost as if he’s one of the creatures on the dissection table in “At the Mountains of Madness,” another story from the same period. When he was younger, Lovecraft had tended to describe monsters in vague terms or with a few well-chosen metaphors and images (“They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings…”); even Cthulhu is basically an octopus-dragon-man, like Trogdor + an octopus. But now, with “The Dunwich Horror”, rather than describing Wilbut Whateley as “neither a satyr, nor a vampire, nor a leech, nor a dinosaur”, Lovecraft goes obsessive-compulsive with details of in EXACTLY what way he’s an alien entity. It’s like he’s saying “You mock me for using the term ‘indescribable’, eh? Well, TAKE THIS!” I think it works really well, and it’s the beginning of the science-fiction phase that marks the second half of his writing career. Plus, in “The Dunwich Horror”, there’s still a welcome feeling of wrongness and creepiness to it all, unlike the more level-headed “it had x tentacles that were x feet long” descriptions in “The Shadow out of Time” or “At the Mountains of Madness.”