The Process Behind 'The Insidious Whisper' #1


My painting 'The Insidious Whisper' stems from times when a person's internal monologue goes rogue and becomes his or her worst enemy. But it does it slyly and sneakily, hidden in the mists of the mind so to speak. When this happens, it's not the most useful of things and its main objective is to criticise and generally put down its owner. What makes it so devious is that these thoughts are very hard to spot. But spotting them is the key to turning them around and beating back the foul beast.

My original idea was to have a large hulking creature sat in a wooded area, framed by a circle of branches and other foliage. (The work of Brian Froud - see above - was lurking around somewhere in my subconcious especially in the fairy tale fantasy feel that I was after.) On the creature's shoulder would have been a crafty little character whispering into its ear, a bit like the cartoon devils in various Looney Tunes cartoons, but more disturbing obviously. I went through the usual process of making lists of words through free association (for more on this watch the video below).

This radically changed the setting and the respective sizes of the figures. The whisperer became a large powerful beast and the other character a more dejected emaciated figure.


Luckily enough, when I was planning this painting there was fog every morning for about a week, so I went out with my camera taking reference photos in Conisbrough (around by the old Earth Centre) and by an old bunker in Rossington, affectionately known as 'The Shack'. I also went to an area of waste ground by the side of the Keepmoat stadium but I never actually used this area in my painting. Maybe another time...





To help sell the idea of the scale of the large figure I wanted to have interaction between him and the environment. I built scale models of the shack and other elements and took photos of myself in various hard to maintain positions. I then played around with this in Photoshop and twisted the figure into an even more improbable position. All of this work helped to solidify the final positions of the characters in my mind.


After this planning I drew out a rough outline of the buildings in perspective and the figures. After scanning this into the computer I played around with the positions of the tentacles - you can really see the Lovecraft influences coming out here - to lead the viewer around the painting, give a greater sense of scale and also use the z-axis in an interesting way.



Once the drawing was finished I printing it out and transferred it on to the illustration board ready for the painting stage. As you can see from this initial sketch I was going with the idea of a cracked earth explosion around the eye on the whisperer. This would change later on in the process, but we'll find out about that next time...

See you then!

For Part 2, Click Here.

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