MOTHER HYDRA THE SEA MONKEY?
Every once in awhile I draw something and when I’m done think to myself “what the hell did I just draw?”…even at this stage of my sordid career.
Awhile back MonsterWax had me do up some sketch cards as bonuses to be inserted randomly in packs of Legendary Lovercraft trading cards. I did the usual Cthulhu and Lovecraft himself on some, but also did a few of Mother Hydra. The image of her on a pile of eggs was WTF moment. It’s one of the weirder things I’ve ever done, and that is saying a lot. If I recall correctly, this is only the second time I’ve ever illustrated nipples, I just have no interest in doing work that plays on people prurient interests ( even here I don’t think you could say that’s the spirit of the illustration…at least I hope not…if you do, one of us is lying to ourselves, for the sake of civilization, I hope it’s you) I’ve posted pics of the sketchcard before and the response was a good example of -you never know who your work is going to make a connection with. To me it was weird and funny, I figured some of my fans would see that value in it and that it is a damn fine illustration, I shuddered to think of who would find that OTHER value in it, but hadn’t figured on a bunch of Mom’s going “I NEED THIS AS A PRINT”. That’s me…appealing to all demos for reasons even I never consider.
When I got some new brushes last month I decided this would be a good illustration to redo at 11×17 to break the brushes in. New brushes take getting used to, especially when inking curved lines. Sometimes they are stiff and don’t bend as well as old ones, or are much more flexible, and this image has a hell of a lot of curved lines. I did the first round of prints with her pink , like a Sea Monkey and on Tea dyed paper.
After I made that decision I recalled a blog I did lambasting up and comers for redrawing other people’s characters instead of coming up with their own ( reposted the blog here ). Isn’t that what I have just done? The Sea monkey isn’t exactly some wildly popular piece of intellectual property, but it’s not my own brainchild. And if it is Mother Hydra, then it’s part of the Lovercraft Mythos.
Here’s the shades of grey that separate this from the intellectual thievery I was bitching about. First off, this is a parody, I didn’t just draw say…Spider-man holding Captain America’s shield so as to gain exposure by leaching off of images that some other company invested millions of dollars advertising. The image/idea holds merit itself. Second, Lovecraft’s mythology, by and large, is public domain and the man himself had no problem with other people expanding on his ideas (thus the use of the Necronomicon in Evil Dead) AND there is no definitive image of Mother Hydra. There is no picture in his original stories of her looking any certain way…certainly not like this. Third, I already have an established career and a library full of my own intellectual property, it can’t be argued I am trying to gain exposure or earn a living by making this image…neither Sea Monkeys nor Mother hydra (being one of the more obscure characters of the Lovecraft Mythos) has such a following that my illustration is living off of that. This is an illustration that will live or die by it’s/my own merit.
That’s the difference, I will admit you could say a lot of “yeah but…”, and all things considered it would have been wiser of me to spend this time on my own characters. So, if you think I am splitting hairs, it’s not worth either of our time to argue about it, I did this as a lark and it’s too late now. … listen to the advice on that blog, call me a hypocrite, and move forward on your own work.
…anyways…there are pics below of the original sketch card and progress of the image as it went from pencils to finished piece.