Lovecraft Sketch MWF: Pickman’s Model

Lovecraft Sketch MWF: Pickman’s Model

“Pickman’s Model” is a good little Lovecraft story, and I also like Robert Barbour Johnson’s sequel/riff on it written not too long after Lovecraft’s death, Far Below. As a fan of “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” of course, I know that the ghouls are really just adorable softies deep down (when they’re not eating people), and even in the original story there is a strong vein of black humor, but it’s still a strong horror concept. And of course, there’s no need for the “Dream-Quest” ghouls and the “Pickman’s Model” ghouls to be consistent: Lovecraft’s universe is like fractured mirrors giving many different reflections of the same few names and concepts.

The first artist I think of when I think of ghouls is, not Pickman, but Tim Kirk, a onetime assistant of Richard Corben, who drew several really mind-blowingly cool ghouls in Meade & Penny Frierson’s fanzine “HPL.” I’m undeniably influenced by his drawings. His ghouls, like mine, are VERY big and animalistic, leading to some question as to how they could ever have passed as humans, or just how much mutating it takes to get from Point A to Point B. But when in doubt, I say, go with more mutating.

Today I’m working on King of RPGs and on the next page of “The Doom That Came to Sarnath.” If you’re interested in having me draw something for yourself, feel free to commission a sketch! I’ll draw pretty much anything, especially Lovecraftian creatures.

Discussion (10)¬

  1. Night-Gaunt says:

    I admit that my conception of ghouls as Lovecraft described them are a little different. The scaly hands, semi-hooved feet (more like primitive horses feet with each digit having a little hoof ) but we can draw the faces and heads as we like. Some would have more human look to them than others. It is implied that the Changelings alter faster among their already formed brethren. The infection that triggers the change along with feeding on carrion also would activate the metamorphosis. It is the “rubbery” part that I’m not sure of how to depict.

  2. Jason says:

    I’m not sure about the ‘rubberiness’ either. I think it means their flesh/skin is, well, rubbery… I’m thinking of a certain tautness or elasticity or fat deposits… or the texture of a tire… like it’s slick and oily and shines in the light…

    Faces-wise, I agree, ghouls should have a huge variety of faces! Though I tend to draw them rather dog-like or werewolf-like… but the ones who still look humanish are grossest.

  3. Night-Gaunt says:

    I would suggest that the giant one is a well fed ghoul. they have very long lives and can grow or shrink with the available food sources. They like it rotten over fresh. Like maggots who will only eat dead flesh. You want to gag a maggot, give them fresh living meat.

  4. Are you suggesting that doctors should use ghouls, like maggots, to clean wounds? ^^

  5. I had a weird concept that Pickman actually created the Dreamlands ghouls. I imagined that deep down Pickman imagined more beautifully horrifying creatures as opposed to the waking world breed.

  6. @Brian – They are really very adorable in the Dreamlands, aren’t they?

    Did you ever read Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book”? It has nightgaunts in it — but shockingly Gaiman’s nightgaunts have BIG EYES. :0

  7. @Jason – More than adorable, downright LOVABLE. I want to hug them. Unless it looks like this:

    Yeah, Gaiman’s “Graveyard Book” is good, but the nightgaunt thing is rather…dare I say…upsetting.

    I’ve always wondered, what’s your favorite Dreamlands creature? I have to say, being a fan of HP’s darker stuff, I enjoy the Lengians and Moon-Beasts (that is, unless the Other Gods count XD) but I really love the ghouls.

  8. @Brian – I also like the Other Gods the best… ;) But after that, it’s probably the Gugs and Bholes, with the ghouls and nightgaunts and other underground creatures vying for second place…

  9. @Jason – the Underworld creatures are the best, really. Lovecraft really let his imagination run loose there.

    BTW, me and my brother are making our OWN adaptation of D-Q. My brother’s art is rather amateur, and in the first few issues my writing/lettering was pretty shoddy. It’ll never be a quarter as good as your version, but If you’d like to see it…

    Chapter One:
    Chapter Two:

  10. Night-Gaunt49 says:

    Night-Gaunts with eyes? The very idea makes them not night-gaunts. Slippery sinuous eyeless faceless silent hunters of the night black air. Now Night-Gaunts I picture with a hidden mouth that slides out and resembles a lamprey’s. When it is done it slides back in and you see no jaws for there aren’t any.

    Gugs also silent, but giants with a curious alien morphology not of this Earth’s evolution as we know it. And they were once surface dwellers? Dimensional intersections perhaps? What Yian-Ho is a nexus of various dimensions where the “Makers of Moons” reside, immortal and hardly human, the “Deathless Chinamen” that are biding their time before they come out Asia, Mongolia , in their armies of 200 million almost men. It is there where the dimensional connexion between Yian-Ho and Earth are, a large one. Sometime in the future they will come and conquer two-thirds of the earth by the year 5000 AD. And will rule till the Dark Ones come and overthrow even the mighty of Leng by the year 13,000 AD. The Flag of Leng has the colors of sulfur, brimstone an hyacinth just like Mongolia does in our world right now. As predicted in the Bible. (Look it up.)