Monday, November 29, 2010

Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?

Hot off the work bench, here is my latest Cthulhu Cycle re-cover effort. This is a copy of Robert W. Chambers', The Yellow Sign and Other Stories, published by Chaosium as part of the Cthulhu Cycle series of short horror fiction books. It was made using the same techniques and in the same style as the other Cthulhu Cycle books I have recovered (which you can also find on this blog, in case you're a new visitor). It has a custom hard cover made with the crumpled paper technique and features the customary tentacle motif frame with brass tack heads, and a central glyph on the front cover. This time the glyph is my own interpretation of the Yellow Sign, which is based on a drawing by Jason VanMeter, which was probably inspired by the well known design by Kevin Ross.The sketch by VanMeter is one of my favorite Mythos images. It was just a simple doodle he made on the outside of an envelope that he had mailed from Japan to a mutual friend. The background was manila and it had several postmarks over top of it. I liked the image so much that I scanned it and spent hours doing color separations and clean up in photoshop (with my admittedly limited skills) to try to liberate the image from from its original media.

Click for larger images
The color scheme on this volume is different than any of the others I have done so far. It was done in mottled white and ivory acrylic paint over a yellow background and highlighted in gold. I also went with a gloss topcoat on this one, whereas I usually use a matte topcoat with this painting and finishing style. But I thought the gloss looked better with this color scheme. The glyph is done, as usual, in black with gold highlights. The book has yellow end papers and a black satin ribbon bookmark.

Because I was going with a lighter color scheme on this one, I used white butcher paper instead of brown kraft paper for the covering material. It seemed to work fine. In fact there was little difference to the way the two behaved. If anything, I thought the butcher paper was a little more manageable.

The tentacle motif frame around the front and back covers got an update with this edition too. The design I had been using  was very difficult to cut out with a razor knife due to its tight curves. I re-drew the border with slightly larger tentacles that had more gentle curves and fewer tight corners, so that it would be easier to cut. Otherwise, it looks very similar and you probably wouldn't have noticed the change if I hadn't pointed it out.

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