Alterworld Illustrated

We always joked that having gone down the rabbit hole, stepped through the mirror, one day we would walk right into Alice.

Well, one day we did.

~Pvt. John Reynolds, Alterworld Expeditionary Force

It’s been a while since I posted anything Alterworld-related, largely because I’ve been working towards writing stories to go in the collection. However, there’s been one development I’m more than happy to share:

Copyright Thomas Venner, 2014

Copyright Thomas Venner, 2014

I’ve got in touch with Thomas Venner, a local artist whose work is absolutely spot-on for this setting. The scene above–from Never Look Away–should hopefully give some idea what a difference this could make to the stories themselves. Dealing with a world in which there is no light, and where seeing or not seeing can be the difference between life and death, having something visual alongside the text seems especially significant.

I’d also just like to point out that I didn’t ask for this scene specifically. Despite writing the thing, I couldn’t even imagine what this creature looked like, so it seems like a particularly ambitious thing to tackle. Seeing it done, though, it all works so well: there’s just enough visible to suggest something entirely alien, but at the same time not enough to build up an complete idea of what it looks like, or even what it is.

Fun fact: at exactly this point while writing this post, my internet connection cut out for five days. So much for getting this out there straight away!

Thomas has told me quite a bit about the thinking behind this image–particularly the quality of light emitted by the lantern and how it interacts with the creature–but I’m really not qualified to pass any of it on. Visual art isn’t my strong point, which is one reason it’s so nice to be able to work with someone who properly understands it. Still, even just at a glance I feel like it all works. Having the creature’s “face” partially obscured by the character’s shoulder is a particularly nice touch: again, it provides enough detail to suggest something really creepy, but not enough to give away the complete madness-inducing view.

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2 comments

    • Damon Wakes

      Definitely. It’s hard for me to pick out specific things that make this work, but overall I’m hugely impressed. I’d seen a good deal of Thomas’ work before approaching him about the possibility of doing Alterworld illustrations, so knew roughly what to expect, but even so it’s striking just how well this fits the setting.

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