Friday, June 7, 2013

For the Love of a Grenitschee

The cover story for the maiden voyage of Stupefying Stories in a print edition is Mark Keigley's For The Love Of A Grenitschee, and I was asked to do a cover painting for it.  The story itself is rather fun and straight forward, and I quickly had images come to mind for it.

One main problem with these, however, was that, in order to be true to the story, most of them would have to feature a bare-ass naked guy riding around on a huge desert beast.  This required a bit of compositional jujitsu for the concept drawings, and, in the end, I went with a simpler image that fit the story's tone, if not any particular moment from the tale.  The images from the story itself gave entirely the wrong impression, and came off, visually, like some sort of Fifty Shades of Conan kind of thing.  Not the image I thought would send magazines flying off the shelves!  Or would it?

Hmm.  Mark, if you read this, there's a new literary project just waiting for you!

Anyway, the main element, of course, was the titular grenitschee, a desert-dwelling animal on some planetary backwater.  Described in some detail, I tried my best to stay true to the narrative.  On the whole, however, I was free to do as I saw fit.

Many fantasy artists like the go for the grotesque with alien creatures, and the grenitschee, as described in the story, could have gone that way.  I toyed with that, in the concepts, but, in the end, I went with something a bit more emotionally engaging.  As odious as the animal is to be around, I wanted the viewer to feel something positive when they looked at her.  Her loving gaze toward the man, and his somewhat exasperated glance while half turned away, pretty much sums up the story's emotional framework.  She's sweet, in her way (assuming she doesn't reject you when you first meet and bite your head off like a huge desert nut), but grenitshee are obnoxious to be around.

I kept the rest of the scene almost barren, to fit the isolation the character experiences in his journey.  In the distance is the spaceport, and his clothes (presumable in the minutes before losing them) are obviously not designed for desert travel.  Though not described in the story (that I remember), I put him in something that looks suitably spacey but functional.

So, there it is.  Simple and direct, like the story itself.  Overall, I'm happy with how dusty and desolate it looks.  The only comforting element are all those long-lashed eyes.  Who wouldn't want to give that big girl a nice hug?

Just mind the kitten-sized parasites!