Halloween Art Contest: Rats in the Walls

Even though I’ve been an illustrator essentially my entire life I’ve never been one to receive accolades or awards for my artwork. While friends genuinely seem to like my work, my experiences in college tended to show me that a lot of people enjoy the “art school” look rather than my kind of improvisational home-spun style.

When my RevPub partner suggested I enter the Halloween art contest at a local art supply store I was hesitant. I’ve previously lost two painting competitions and an illustration award so I didn’t have high hopes, but it sounded fun and different. The catch was it could be done in any media, but had to be on black canvas.

After some consideration I thought I’d try my hand at drawing “in the negative” using white chalk on black, filling in the light rather than shadows. Not only did I enjoy it almost as much as pencil, it reinvigorated my creative side as doing something new made the entire creative process seem like an entirely fresh experience.

It had to be “Halloween” based but that could just be anything horror or creepy related. I decided on an interpretation from H.P. Lovecraft’s Rats in the Walls.

The Original Pencil Sketch. I always start with little rough drawings that to give me some idea where I’ll go when it gets real…
It started well. My pencil sharpener ate the chalk…



I sketched it in pencil first and wished I hadn’t. It didn’t erase as cleanly as the chalk.
I did a shape of a figure back-lit in the door.
HP Lovecraft is writing the tale in the background.
The rat designs were inspired by the Skaven books I’ve read.


The finished product!

Not only was it fun, but it turns out I won the staff pick!  Great fun at Jerry’s Artarama in Nashville!

Jerry’s Artarama Facebook page.

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