Originally posted by Rich at the V20 Blog
As we saw last time, we were still discussing how to make the third panel in Bill’s Book of Nod triptych the apocalyptic moment threatened in the text. I went ahead and modified Bill’s original sketch to give him an idea of the direction I was seeing. Normally, I don’t get this hands-on with sketching out over top the artist’s sketches, but there were really good parts to Bill’s original that I wanted to keep in there. Here is the email, some of you might recognize bits of your descriptions woven together in there:
Bill- Here are a few possible details/descriptions that you can work into the last panel or not, as what works for you. I’ve enclosed a sketch based on messing with your sketch to show one direction and how I see the elements working together.
I put Caine in a mirrored position to your first panel- I’d add red eyes to this one. Caine doesn’t have to be the centerpiece figure, but I like how it is literally the beginning and the end of vampires and there he is, and I can’t think of a better ancient vampire to be in this one as any other one would make the focus too much about them.
The crescent moon symbol that is in a bunch of the Gehenna prophecies I put in as cracks in the ground/stone.
The shadow figure to the left of Caine could be Lasombra- I tried to suggest a crown in the shadows atop his head.
Above him I changed one of the skull faces from before into more of a closed eye mask or sculpted face. If I had details I’d have had red rose petals scattered around it, but the idea is that it is one of perfect beauty.
To Caine’s left and below, I darkened the figure and suggested a spear haft or pole for the Assamite Haquim.
I left a giant monstery hand in there clawing at the ground for any one of the monstrous antedeluvians.
In the midst of the figures I added the coils of a monstrous worm with magical symbols in its skin for what might be Tremere.
Hope the sketch and this list help-
Crescent moon in there?
Assamites: Haqim. His skin should probably be ebony black, given that the Assamites darken as they age. This would be more like he was made of ebony than total darkness. Known to carry a spear.
Followers of Set: Set/Typhon. Ancient Egyptian. May literally appear with the head of the “Typhonic beast” he’s usually depicted with in Egyptian art.
Gangrel: Ennoia. Given the Gangrel weakness, could be pretty monstrous indeed. May have “Earth Melded” with the planet itself, which is pretty terrifying, but harder to depict. Gangrel would be great with burning crimson eyes. Maybe some teeth and a lower jaw splashed by mercurial moonlight.
Lasombra: Artistically, I always envisioned a shadow form of something human like. With no distinguishable features but with a crown of shadows.
Nosferatu: Absimilard. Bore the original curse of hideousness which was passed on to his clan. Rumoured to have fled to the bottom of the sea or to Antarctica. Either way, pretty gross.
Toreador: Ishtar/Arikel. Toreador ancient covered in dead rose petals left by a placating cult, and marble Grecian statues that resemble the creature’s skin. Perfect beauty.
Tremere: Still “active.” IIRC, rumour had it he’d become this bizarre worm-like creature with three eyes. Coils writhing among other humanoid figures with mystical tattoos covering it.
Tzimisce: A… thing. Neither wholly flesh nor plant, it’s a withing rotting mass of… thing. I’m totally waiting for a rendition of Tzimisce, which should embody the ideal of androgynous/alien creture: disturbing, dangerously calm in an oh-so-weird way, and with an aura of unholy beauty, for lack of a better word, that you’d rather stop blinking until you get blind than turn your gaze away.
And Bill responded with this:
I tried to fit everything in-let me know what you think at this point….
the idea of the red rose pedals is great, it would add a dash of color and tie this piece in with the first’s spatter of blood.
So, this was cool, but there was something I wasn’t feeling. Before diving in, I wanted a bit more clarity and sent Bill this:
Bill- more questions before decisions-
From your perspective, would it make sense both compositionally and time-wise to pull the shadowman from Caine’s left into the right top corner and use that space where he was to show more cracks in the ground and maybe a few burning embers (rocks) falling as if a big blast of destruction is taking place offscreen? Does that also tie it more to the composition of panel #1 flipped?
Do you have an idea for what is currently happening offscreen to the left? It looks like Caine is startled- which isn’t quite what I’d imagine from him after thousands of years of unlife, I’d expect almost irritation and barely repressed rage.
And he responded with:
Okay, I can move the character from top left to top right and create a more turbulent, earth-cracking in the top-left corner. I had no specific idea of what was happening off screen but it was going to be a warm fire light falling across the chracters… I can make Caine look angerier…
This was better- the change in Caine was far more the terrifying old testament figure of Gehenna. The ancient clothes I wasn’t so sure about:
I think Caine works now- right attitude, right gestures.
I’d play down the articles of clothing. Maybe some vaguely desert dwelling rags on the spear guy- in fact I’d wrap the rags around him to break his profile, which is too much like the guy at far left. Rags versions of what you already have on the guy at left, strip the rest- I’d keep left guy in shadow and not a focal point. The “girl” at right should be less about the aggressive postures of the others and more standoffish, holding back and watching the others with her perfect mask-like face. And rose petals.
And that’s where it stands at the moment- Bill is working on the color finishes for the first two panels and another take of this sketch and we’re very close to the point where he can go to finish on this or punch me in the nose. Maybe both.