Archive | H.P. Lovecraft

Preparing for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival


As of a few days ago, I am in full-on prep mode for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. So what is pre-show prep? As you’ve already seen I carved and printed a woodcut for the Kickstarter. I’m currently waiting on a final count so that I can sign and number the appropriate amount of Magna Mater Maris prints. Those prints will then need certificates, bagging and boarding, and delivery to the festival.

I’m also working my way through the inventory I’ll be taking and making sure I have things properly packaged and priced. I also need to gather together displays and make sure I have all the proper parts for them. Electrical components, such as lamps, need to be checked to make sure they’re working. My Square inventory needs to be updated with new items so the checkout process can run smoothly.

I’m also making a few upgrades to better display some pieces. The color Cthulandia prints in particular now have black 11×14″ mats around them. They’re really gorgeous hand-colored woodcut prints, and they’ve been ignored a bit because it’s easy for 8×10″s to get shuffled in with larger prints and then just not seen. To that end, I’m also finished some of my parchment screen prints and mounting them on boards that are a bit larger than they are. Finishing of these prints is mostly a matter of trimming. I’ll be leaving natural edges mostly alone, but when pieces are rectangular, I like to even out the edges.

Magna Mater Maris Special Edition

I’m once again thrilled to be creating a limited edition woodcut print for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. You can purchase it as part of their Kickstarter and help make the Festival amazing! The woodcut prints I create for the HPLFF are typically limited to just enough for everyone who ordered one, plus a couple extras in case of accidental loss. Although I do sometimes print second editions, supporting the festival is the only way to definitely get your hands on a signed and numbered first edition.

Since the Festival this year is Innsmouth themed, and I’ve already created a Dagon, I’m creating an icon of his counterpart, Mother Hydra. I’ve used the double tailed mermaid form since it is typically associated with the more dangerous forms of mermaids, and am creating a symbolic border using the vesica pisces shape.

Carving has just begun so I’ll be posting progress photos regularly. Enjoy!

Mother Hydra teeth carved with a straight edge knife

The Sisterhood Cover Reveal


This is the book cover art I recently finished! I wasn’t expecting it to go public quite so soon, but now that it is, I’ll be sharing process photos. Text, layout, and color are the work of Matthew Bright.

Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories
Edited by Nate Pedersen
Available in October

In churches and convents and other religious communities, sisterhood takes many forms, forged and tested by such mundane threats as disease and despair, but also by terrors both spiritual and cosmic—Satan’s subtle minions and the Lovecraftian nightmare of the Outer Gods. Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Historiespresents sixteen horror stories by some of the genre’s leading female voices. Their settings range around the globe and across the centuries, from 14th century Spain to 17th century Virginia to England in the present day.

Contributors include such award-winning and critically acclaimed authors as Nadia Bulkin, Livia Llewellyn, Molly Tanzer, Sun Yung Shin, Gemma Files, Kaaron Warren, Damien Angelica Walters, and Selena Chambers. With original cover art by Liv Rainey-Smith.

Table of Contents:

“The Wine of Men” by Ann K. Schwader

“From an Honest Sister, to a Neglected Daughter” by Monica Valentinelli

“Étaín and the Unholy Ghosts” by Lisa Morton

“The Barefoot Sisters of Saint Beatriz of the Mountain” by Kali Wallace

“Unburdened Flesh” by Penelope Love

“Only Dead Men Do Not Lie: The Trials of the Formosans” by Kaaron Warren

“Jane, Jamestown, The Starving Time” by Sun Yung Shin

“Dorcas and Ann: A True Story” by Molly Tanzer

“The Resurrected” by S. P. Miskowski

“The Low, Dark Edge of Life” by Livia Llewellyn

“The Anchoress” by Lynda E. Rucker

“Siūlais ir Kraujo ir Kaulų (Of Thread and Blood and Bone)” by Damien Angelica Walters

“Gravity Wave” by Nadia Bulkin

“The Veils of Sanctuary” by Selena Chambers

“The Sisters of Epione” by Alison Littlewood

“Red Words” by Gemma Files

Woodcut vs. Screen Print

 

The King in Yellow Woodcut & Serigraph

I received a message recently from someone who had purchased one of my screen prints, loved it, and wanted to know more about the differences between my woodcuts and screen prints. Since I took the time to write a thorough answer, I thought I ought to share it with everyone. I chose The King in Yellow as an example to discuss the different processes.

King in Yellow woodcut on cream cotton rag paper

To make the woodcut (aka xylograph) I sketch the art, transfer it to a piece of shina plywood, then carve it using knives & gouges (no power tools). Carving this woodcut probably took 10-20 hours. Once the block is refined to my satisfaction, I ink it with a brayer, move it to the press bed, align a sheet of heavy cotton rag paper on it, lay a felt blanket over it, and run it through the hand-cranked etching press. I estimate that in the case of the KiY it takes 10-15 minutes to ink and print each print. The prints then dry in a rack for at least two weeks before I inspect them, destroy the errors, and sign/number the edition. (Incidentally, if you want a King in Yellow woodcut print, I have only two remaining from the edition of 23 as of 4/21/18. Get yours here!)

The King in Yellow Serigraph on birdseye maple

The screen prints (aka serigraphs) are made by taking a digital scan of one of the original woodcut prints and using it to make a transparency which can be exposed on a photo emulsion coated screen. For the KiY I digitally removed the abstract background because I felt it would clash with the wood grains. I also scaled the image down. I then set up the screen and create a registration jig so I can place my wood veneer sheets in the same position every time. Once I have made my jig, printing each is a process than can take less than a minute. Much of this time is spent taping down the wood, then removing it after the ink is applied and putting it in the drying racks. Drying this ink takes 3 days, then I inspect them and save errors to be reused as registration jigs or to test ink on the back. (Want a King in Yellow serigraph? They are available here.)

Here’s a summary of what is similar between the two formats:

Both are handmade processes & can have minor variations due to the vagaries of wood and inking.
Both are almost entirely made by me. (I sometimes have an assistant tear paper, carry prints to the drying rack, and help clean up.)
Both are made with archival inks, though not the same ink. Both are inspected for quality & packaged with acid free polybags & mats.

Here’s a summary of what is different between the two formats:

Woodcut is the original artwork and is considered a fine art print.
My woodcut prints are signed by me, and typically limited in edition size.
My woodcuts on paper are printed with enough pressure to slightly emboss the paper, which gives them a subtle visual effect that simply doesn’t translate well to photos and scans. The papers I use are archival quality and typically hand-torn instead of cut.
Woodcuts are much slower to print than screen prints. Wood wears down over time, and I use a soft carving wood, so I can only pull so many prints from the woodcut.

Screen prints (as I make them) are reproductions based on the original woodcuts.
The art is altered to better suit the wood veneer I print on, and also scaled down.
The ink applied to the wood does not get embossed.
Wood veneer is not technically considered archival, though it should be long lasting.
Screen prints are faster to produce and are unsigned. When the screen wears out, I can make new screens and continue printing as many as I want.

Spring events and sale

Spirits emerging from the wood

The Outer Dark Symposium of the Greater Weird

I’ll be heading to San Jose, California this weekend to participate in The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird. For those not familiar with The Outer Dark, it is a podcast devoted to weird fiction. It is hosted by Scott Nicolay with Justin Steele, and Anya Martin. The bulk of the show is interviews with writers, editors, publishers, and artists in working in the realm of weird fiction; though they also periodically record and share relevant panel discussions. (Including one I participated in last year, Women in Weird Fiction.) The Symposium itself will be aired on future episodes of The Outer Dark, the official schedule is over 8 hours of panels and readings, so I suspect it will be spread over 4 or more episodes.

Although Symposium memberships are now sold out, if you’re in the area you can get a taste of the events with the Friday night Word Horde readings featuring Rios de la Luz, Michael Griffin, Scott R Jones, & Tiffany Scandal. Hosted by Ross E. Lockhart. See the Facebook event page for details.

West Coast Haunters Con

April 13-15th in Portland, Oregon, I’ll be vending at the West Coast Haunter’s Convention, an event dedicated to the art of creating professional and amateur haunted attractions. This will be my first time vending at the event and as a lifelong fan of physical effects and creature characters, I’m excited to be next to the Stan Winston School of Character Arts.  From what I’ve seen on social media, they’re usually do some amazing demos at events.

Beyond April, most of my schedule is not yet set in stone. May 20th is the planned launch date for the book I spent much of 2016 and 2018 creating woodcuts for, so after that date I’ll be free to exhibit and edition those woodcuts as I see fit. I will be sharing info on the title as soon as it is officially announced, until then, I’ve got editions to plan.

Enamel pin update

The Red Cthulhu enamel pins should be completed and ready to ship later next week. I expect to have the Phoenix done shortly afterwards, and the Babalon pin will be the last of the 3. If you ordered any these pins, I’ll be shipping yours as soon as all pins in your order are completed. All three pins are still available for preorder via my Etsy shop.

As an added bonus, I am taking part of Etsy’s Spring sale event March 22-29th. All bookmarks, cards, enamel pins, screen prints, and magnets are 15% off throughout.

Enamel Pin Presale: Babalon, Phoenix, Cthulhu

At last, new enamel pins are in the works! I’m hitting you with 3 designs this time: Babalon, Phoenix, and Cthulhu. All are based on my original woodcut art. Like my other enamel pins, they will be made with nickel-free finishes, and two pin posts with butterfly clutches. Read on for specifics regarding each pin:

BABALON: Due to the level of detail involved in 8 heads on 1 pin, this will be my largest enamel pin to date (1.5 x 1.5 inches) and priced accordingly. I’ve opted for a black metal finish to more closely mimic the original woodcut. Please note, once I get to the the point of starting die production, I may find out the outer lines of this pin need to be altered with some filled space, similar to that currently between the Beast’s head and Babalon’s chalice hand. I will share updates if major design changes are necessary. $18

 

 

PHOENIX: With 8 colors, this will be my most colorful pin to date! At 1.25 wide the Phoenix will be at the same scale as the majority of my previous pins. My plan is for the area between the head and wings to be cut out, though there is some possibility I may need to alter the design when we get to the die stage. I will share updates if major design changes are necessary. $15

 

 

 

CTHULHU: I’ve always been partial to red for Cthulhu since it is a natural color for Humboldt (Devil) Squid, and the Giant Pacific Octopus. Now that my original run of traditional green Cthulhu pins is sold out, I’m making a single batch of “Red Devil Squid” pins. Depending on preorders, I’ll be making 100 to 200 pins. In addition to the new color scheme I’m adding a 2nd pin post to the back! There will be no design changes to this pin since the die is already made. 1.25 inches tall. $15

Estimated delivery date on all pins: late March or early April.

 

Preorder by March 1st and save $5 off each pin because early orders help me make the right amount of pins!

When you order pins direct from me, they’ll be packaged in paper jewelry boxes with a paper ribbon, so they’re ready for gift-giving! I even color coordinate the ribbons so you won’t have to guess at which is in which box. (International customers, please note, rather than charge you a whole lot more for shipping, I combine pins into single boxes. It’s not as pretty, but it saves you a lot of money.)

Not certain you want to preorder? Please take a look at my other pins and the feedback on them, I’ve got a great record on pin quality, and I aim to keep it.

October Shows

Insectivores

Insectivores

October is here, and with it, shows:


WITCH-IKON: An Exhibition of Contemporary Witchraft Imagery
 at Mortlake & Company in Seattle, WA
I Put a Spell On You: Curses & Hexes at Hyaena Gallery, in Burbank, CA

I am unfortunately unable to attend either of the above out of state shows, but you will be able to find me at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR. I’ll have a table in the upstairs theatre vending area and am also scheduled for the following:

Women in Lovecraftian fiction panel on Friday night at 8:30pm
Pickman’s Apprentice 90 minute art competition at noon on Saturday
Drawing the Unspeakable panel at 3pm on Sunday

I’m currently working on adding November and December shows to my calendar, but I do have a few I can share now:
Sunday, November 12, 2017 Siren Nation Art & Craft Sale from 10:00am to 4:00pm, McMenamin’s Kennedy School, Portland, OR
Friday, December 15, 2017 Opening reception for my solo show at Gargoyle’s Statuary in Seattle, WA

Not near any of these shows? I ship worldwide and I’ve recently added my newest woodcut print edition, Insectivores, to the Etsy shop, and I’ll be adding a whole lot of new screen prints after the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival! More is in the works as well, but I don’t want to reveal too much ahead of the Gargoyle’s show.

New screen prints on wood

New screen prints on wood

NecronomiCon 2017 Report

Once again, I am absolutely thrilled to have attended and participated in NecronomiCon Providence. The folks at the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council once more put on a grand event with a broad array of programming and guests.

Wednesday the 16th

Since Portland, Oregon to Providence, Rhode Island is a long haul even by plane, we woke up at 3am in order to get to the airport on time. (Confession, I’m not sure I got more than an hour of sleep before 3am.) This day essentially consisted of travel, napping, checking in to the hotel, unpacking/prepping to set up my table, and eating delicious hamburgers at Harry’s Bar and Burger.

Thursday the 17th

The official start of NecronomiCon, with registration and vendor set-up both starting at noon. We got right to work in order to finish up in time to attend the opening ceremony at the First Baptist Church followed by the art show reception at the Woods-Gerry Gallery. Set-up was thankfully uncomplicated since I had made an effort to plan a display that could be packed in our luggage. The most complex part of the job was assembling my standing print rack, which was only complicated because it had been quite some time since I last assembled it.

Richard Stanley, Fufu Frauenwahl, Cody Goodfellow, Liv Rainey-Smith

Once everything was in order, we headed back to the Biltmore to get cleaned up, and came upon Richard Stanley, Fufu Frauenwahl, and Cody Goodfellow, which is a wonderful mix of talented human beings to happen upon. Not long after we ended up crossing paths with Ellen Datlow on the walk to the First Baptist Church in America. We all ended up being slightly late to the ceremony due to the vagaries of traffic, and sadly missed a bit of Gigi Mitchell-Velasco’s organ performance, but we didn’t miss out on the opening remarks or invocation from poet laureate Donald Sidney-Fryer. The opening closed at a little after 6pm, at which point we made the uphill trek to the Woods-Gerry Gallery and the opening reception of Ars Necronomica: Wonders of the Visible Weird.

Scott Nicolay, Anya Martin, Liv Rainey-Smith

That reception was the highlight of the convention for me. The gallery was just perfect for the show, and I was awed by the quality of the work. I feel this was the best Ars Necronomica show to date, and I’ve participated in the show every year, so I’m not just saying that because I was in this year. (For a better look at the show, check out these photos posted by RISD.) The opening reception was very well attended and I was thrilled to run into fellow artists Jeanne D’Angelo, Michael Bukowski, Fufu Frauenwahl, Nick Gucker, Skinner, Gage Prentiss, Sara Bardi, Drew Meger, Kurt Komoda…and I’m probably forgetting a bunch of people because it was wonderfully overwhelming. I was also happy to run into a few writer friends at the opening, Scott Nicolay, Anya Martin, and Michael Cisco. One of my two artworks in the show, Liber Ivonis, was made for Michael Cisco’s story by the same name. It was a great pleasure to get to talk to him about the piece, though I was saddened to learn that the print I sent him several weeks ago has gone astray. I’m contemplating printing a small edition of the Liber Ivonis block just so I can replace the lost one.

Discussing Liber Ivonis with Michael Cisco

We left the art reception a little early in order to make it to the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society live radio play, The Haunter of the Dark. If you’re not familiar with the HPLHS, they produce Lovecraft inspired radio plays, films, clothing, and props. They are excellent at mimicking historic styles and their adaptations of Lovecraft’s stories are quite well done. I always make an effort to see their live performances and not just for the stickers in my lifetime membership book!

HPLHS Passport

Friday

The vendor’s rooms opened at 10am and to our very pleasant surprise, became busy rather quickly. We’d been a bit worried since there ended up being two separate vending rooms, one upstairs, and a larger one downstairs. My table was upstairs, and I quickly learned that if I asked someone “Have you been to the downstairs vending room yet?” the answer was often “There’s a downstairs too?!” Thankfully, it turned out some of my friends vending downstairs (particularly Nick Gucker and Arkham Bazaar) were also pointing folks upstairs. Both rooms had excellent mixes of publishers, artists, and dealers of all things weird fiction, so I can honestly say I don’t think either room was “better”.

The Silver Key here is by Gage Prentiss, the sculptor working on the H.P. Lovecraft Providence Statue Project. This key is cast bronze with silver plating, and is quite substantial! Additionally, Gage told me he customizes the wax before casting each key, so no two are exactly alike.

Aside from spending a bit of time exploring the vending areas and chatting with friends I ran into, selling art kept me busy until vending close at 6pm. We had just enough time to grab some dinner with friends before hitting the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s 2nd live radio play, The Brotherhood of the Beast. Afterwards, we encountered a perennial problem at the Biltmore, too many people and not enough elevators. Once we finally made it up to the 14th floor, we encountered a new problem. All of the keycards had quit working. Someone clearly performed an arcane ritual incorrectly because the problem was hotel-wide. Thankfully our floor had been “fixed” so I just had to go back down to the lobby for new cards. A few unlucky souls had to have bellhops let them into their rooms with a master key multiple times throughout their stay.

Vending photo ©2017 Todd Chicione

Saturday

Another full day of vending, which thankfully wasn’t difficult because I was able to trade off table duties with my husband Mike. I left around 2:30 to grab a little lunch, and make my way up to the Biltmore Grand Ballroom for the Established Artists of the Weird panel. The panel was expertly moderated by Dave Felton and featured artist guest of honor, John Jude Palencar, Bob Eggleton, Steve Gervais, Lauren Panepinto, Rick Sardhinha, and me. We each spoke a bit about the work we’ve done and our experience in the realm of Weird. The conversation put a lot of focus on the experience of working professionally, and how technology has changed the way we work. I personally was quite happy to have Panepinto with us since she’s an experienced art director and designer, which gives her a different perspective from working artists. I’d love to start seeing more art directors on professional art panels because they’ve got solid advice for aspiring artists.

©2017 Todd Chicoine

Sunday

We got up extra early in order to attend the Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast, featuring Cody Goodfellow, Anthony Teth, Scott R. Jones. Each preached their own particular flavor of mythos religion, the Esoteric Order of Dagon, the sylvan ways of Shub-Niggurath, and of course, good old fashioned Cthulhu worship! All this was backed by a choir led by Darrell Schweitzer with musical accompaniment by Faye Ringel. It was good fun and well worth a little bit of sleep debt.

Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast ©2017 Todd Chicione

Vending was from 11-4 since this was the last day of NecronomiCon. Towards the end of the day staff came around with a case of Narragansett’s Lovecraft themed beer, The Temple,  for each vendor. I sampled some during the art reception on Friday, and found it delicious, so I’d have gladly taken the case, but there was no way we’d be able to fly home with it, or drink it before flying out on Monday, so we had to pass. Happily I later learned that the remaining beer was being divvied out to the volunteers, without whom the event could not have happened.

After tear-down we met up with friends for dinner, and then called it a night so we could get properly packed for our flight home. I’m happy to say our bags were a lot lighter, even with the addition of books, art, and other miscellaneous purchases and trades we’d made throughout the weekend.

Monday
Our flight wasn’t until the afternoon so we checked out, checked our bags with the concierge, and walked a bit of the city. I finally got to visit the Athenaeum, and the bronze bust of H.P. Lovecraft, created by Bryan Moore.

Our journey home was uneventful, and a great opportunity to read most of the way through the excellent Looming Low anthology I picked up from Dim Shores.

If you’re a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and Weird Fiction in general, I highly recommend a visit to NecronomiCon 2019. I’ve left so much out of this write-up, not because it wasn’t worthwhile, but because it was such an intensely busy and fun weekend. I’m honored to have been a part of it and hope to participate again in 2019.

The time of Weird fiction is upon us!

I’m about to embark for Rhode Island and the bi-annual event, NecronomiCon Providence. This is the preeminent international conference of weird fiction, art, scholarship, film, and much more. East Coast events are a rarity for me, and this one is a particularly special treat. In my past visits I’ve come to love Providence and all it has to offer, so I’m  looking forward to both NecronomiCon and the opportunity to explore the city.

A couple of my woodcut prints will be showing in Ars Necronomica: Wonders of the Visible Weird, at the Woods-Gerry Gallery at the Rhode Island School of Design. Wonders of the Visible Weird features paintings, prints, sculptures, and illustrations by more than seventy contemporary artists who explore the themes of weird fiction and cosmic horror, inspired by the works of Providence-born writer H. P. Lovecraft and other authors and artists of Weird. The show will run from August 16 through August 31, with an opening reception the evening of Thursday, August 17 from 6:00-8:00pm. I will be in attendance until about 7pm.

For the first time, I’ve acquired my own table in the vendor’s room, so I will be available there with a selection of art, including some unique colored artist proofs. I will also be a panelist on ESTABLISHED ARTISTS of WEIRD Saturday – 3:00-4:15pm

Green cthulhu APInterested in weird fiction, but can’t make it to the East Coast? The 2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is October 6 – 8 at Portland’s historic Hollywood Theatre! I’ll be appearing there again this year, alongside a number of amazing Lovecraft-inspired filmmakers, artists, and authors.

One final reminder: If you want more Xylographilia in your life, you can subscribe to my Patreon at any time. By pledging via Patreon, you help me produce more art and develop more techniques. You can pledge as little as $1 a month, or as much as you wish, and you can chose monthly reward packages starting at just $8.

Opening tomorrow!

wvopening-ad

I know you’re not all in the Portland area, but I hope to see a few of you on Friday! The good folks at Wells & Verne hung the show this evening and were even kind enough to let me run back home for more art since I severely underestimated the wall space. What you see here is just part of the show. (Here’s a link to the Facebook event page for further info. Please note, because Wells & Verne is a clothing shop, pets are not permitted.)

Although you can stop in ahead of the opening, unframed prints and most of the smaller items like lapel pins, won’t be available until the opening and some will ONLY be available during the opening. I will be in attendance all night.