Imagine yourself, if you will,...
...taking a leisurely stroll at the beach, the gently settling evening sun warming your skin, the crash of waves in your ears, the warm sands under your feet.
When you see something protruding from the sand, looking — at first glance — like an intricate entanglement of sun-bleached driftwood. You think about taking some of it as a souvenir, when, suddenly, the sands start to shift...
Deer God! (get it?)
"Driftwood" is the newest story by author Manen Lyset, who is a very consistent contributor to the NoSleep Podcast.
So consistant, in fact, that his story "The Pigeons Around Here Aren't Real" was the very first story I illustrated for the podcast! That was three years ago already...man, time flies!
Anyway, while I normally dive into research for inspiration when I start on an illustration, I started with a very clear picture in mind with this one: the deer creature was just too cool to not draw it!
I wanted to do a very illustrative style in either black and white or a very limited color palette.
In the end I opted for black and white because the color of the skull and the color of bleached driftwood is pretty close together, which would have left me with a flat-looking and boring picture.
More color! MORE COLOR!!!
The background originally started as a simple greyscale gradient with some texture painted into it because I wanted the skull to be the star of this image.
However, as the painting progressed, the composition looked a little tame, I spruced it up by adding the triangle and the "magic sigil" with a cool flame effect. Fun fact: the sigil was originally intended for another project that never came to pass, so it found its new home here and saved me some time!
Recording the process
Because Manen and I are friends, and because he expressed his interest when I told him I'm working on his story, I decided to record the whole process. Every single brushstroke, every art decision I made, all in a single video!
I'm currently in the process of mastering it (read: I am too dumb to master it and have to google and learn how to do it), but I will absolutely make sure to share the video here.
I hope you like the illustration as much as I do, because I'm really content with how it came out.
All the best,