Illustration: Standard Deviations (Book Cover)

Hey guys, who's ready to go back to school?

The test is God.
— Marcus Damanda, Standard Deviations

Thus begins the titular story Standard Deviations by author Marcus Damanda, and if you're into horror, you'll love this story and the others he collected in his book.

As many of you know, I'm a resident artist for the NoSleep podcast, and couldn't be more glad to be a part of this lovely bunch of misfits and do-no-gooders. We often kid that we're part of a big and strange family, and I often feel like we really are.

So when Marcus approached me and asked me to illustrate the cover of his collection of short stories, I was giddy as a little kitten.

So without further ado, here it is!

The tools of the trade

Our original idea was to draw portraits of NoSleepers that Marcus worked with in the past…but mounted on plaques like hunting trophies.

I really liked the macabre idea, but I was worried that people not familiar with the podcast won't see much in the image — after all, it would just be a bunch of strange people to them!

Since two of the stories, the titular Standard Deviations and the fantastically gory The House Sitters both feature surgical instruments (and I'll leave it to your twisted imagination why that might be), we settles on an arrangement of tools with just a liiiiiiitle splash of blood to make people see at first glance that something is off.

Oh, the things you will see…

First thing I did was forage the text for mention of specific tools. Take the Gigli saw, for example (it's that corkscrew looking thing in the middle! You use it to saw bones!). Next, I went hunting for reference images, and let me tell you…there were some images that made me glad I was sitting already.

Also, one of Marcus' many fans is actually a forensic pathologist, and he said that I nailed the blood pooling. How cool is that!

The book is currently in the publishing process, and I will make sure you're among the first to know when it is out!

Take care, my lovelies!

— Jörn