72 Nights (Part 1) – a sketchbook & possible comics/book project (WIP).


I like drawing monsters and creatures…


If you didn’t know that, then this and another following post will probably put any doubts to bed… laughs.


This particular project came about whilst trying to “warm up” after the usual hiatus following the rush to get things ready and printed for Thought Bubble.

I wanted to simply create a project that could be picked up or put down depending how busy I was, and that would get my imagination ticking over and my drawing arm moving…

I recently been putting together a simple mini-project brief for students that looked at both creating a project that allowed them to wear their enthusiasms on their sleeves (lets face it, it is those enthusiasms that often get us into the creative game in the first place) as well as looking at the type of side project that can bear fruit in the long term, whilst providing sketchbook/downtime creativity in the short term or between other projects… Projects which can take on a life of their own, like Jake Parker’s “Pop Culture Robots” and of course his Inktober project, which has borne much fruit and from many creatives since its inception, and similar projects from others, among them the excellent “Spaceships” and “Isometricness” illustrations of Rob Turpin (thisnorthernboy) – Check out his blog if you’ve not seen it.

The brief simply stated the following (paraphrased):

1 – Choose something you would like to draw a lot of. Any subject…

2 – Draw a lot of it, lets set a target of 100 drawings, but lets go for at least 20 over the Yule break.

3 – Think about how these might be brought together as a final project (a book? a set of mugs?) , don’t do it, don’t even mock it up… just think about it and write those thoughts down (if you want to sketch out your idea, fine).

So for me what to draw? Pirates? Giants? Mythological Creatures? Well I like all those… but, it turned out that something weird cropped up during a conversation with Sarah that would make me sit down and look through a list of potential inspirational descriptions.

Somehow the conversation had gotten around to discussing the pseudepigraphical account of Solomon reigning in an assortment of demons via an angel given magical ring, to help build the Temple (I can’t quite remember how we got onto this – so it goes).

So, back at my desk I’m now leafing through the internet to look up more about this and other related legends/accounts and texts, just for my own pleasure at this point. When I came across an illustrated list of Ars Goetia of The Lesser Key of Solomon, a text that appears to list and describe the particular provinces or specialisms of the demons mentioned above.

The illustrations are at once intriguing and annoying… and without much provocation I decide to have a go myself.

Straight in with ink, into my nearest sketchbook… then some pencilled variations as I started to see it turning into something…













As I drew them out I started to think about how the project might pan out… How could I link them all together?

Perhaps I could add a figure, a sorcerer… a summoner, who raises these fell spirits?


And with that started thinking about the various possible narratives that could get our protagonist in front of these creatures/entities…

I love that sequence in The Exorcist where Merrin sees the statue of the Demon in the desert… So I started to consider a travelogue style book…


Where our protagonist seeks out a book or a scroll to bring back to his home, and raise the spirits.

Probably in his basement or some such sepulchre-esque venue.


But when I started to put my ideas down on paper, the male protagonist above transformed into a woman,



…and the setting shifted from now to the 20’s/3o’s…


With the opening sequence in a loose comic book form, very little dialogue…

I began making thumbnails of how this might pan out…


Then working up some of the ideas for the panels…




I had also wondered about some sinister types hanging about… Fedora’d henchmen hiding in the shadows…


With that partially resolved it was back to the creature designs, which after all would be the main draw of the project (for me anyway)…
















Then I thought it might be fun, whilst working up these illustrations to try and take a look what the book might look like… just a quick mock up using the sketches I had…


I set this first page below between New York and Germany… and decided to set the final scene of the intro in Lisbon (via Eastern Europe and the Middle East), as I’d recently been there, and had some observational drawings that I thought might fit the feel of the book (weirdly I watched The Ninth Gate again around this time only to find scenes set in Lisbon…).







I then made an interactive PDF from the art I’d pulled together… and created a video which I uploaded to my Youtube account, ready to throw on social media (I had posted most of the sketches to Twitter and FB as I went along). The finished Video is below.

And that was that… not quite a hundred.

Maybe closer to 40 designs, at least to thumbnail level.

But it’s in the ball park and who knows, maybe there are other texts with other descriptions I can add to the 72.

And I’ve still no idea beyond “warming up” as to what I could do with it at this point.

But for now there are other irons in the fire…

Maybe I’ll get back to it later this year…


~ by hesir on January 23, 2017.

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