The Hound of the Baskervilles

March 12, 2024

Latest Post The Hound of the Baskervilles by Owen Soule

Take heed, a horrific hound aglow with the fire of Hell itself has been spotted roaming the foggy moonlit moor, beware his arrival as it portends your doom! Get out your revolver and let's do some sleuthing!

I've got a moor up there in my header to get the reader in the mood, so let's unravel the mystery of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Lucky for you, there aren't many clues, but there is a bit of backstory. It all started at our school district's used book sale early last year. I picked up a coffee table book about Samurai armor (for only four bucks!) and Laura picked up a few fiction paperbacks. Among the lot was this copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles, with a 1970's print date and similar vintage cover design:

The 1970's paperback, in all its watercolor glory

This novel was my jumping off point down the entire Sherlock Holmes rabbit hole, described fully in Literature Ink, however for me this cover design left something to be desired.    I wanted something more action oriented, like a panel out of a Sherlock comic, so in the Summer of 2023 I sketched this:

The original sketch, featuring an overly bulbous skull and ridiculously wavy fog lines

I then promptly forgot about this drawing, and it was not until October rolled around, as I was steadily reading through all of Conan Doyle's Sherlock works, that my mind drifted back to this sketch. I knew I couldn't complete a whole series of Inktober drawings, but maybe clean-up and finish this piece as part of a handful of Inktober offerings?

With that goal in mind, I plopped my scanned sketch in Clip Studio and came up with these more refined digital pencils. Gone is the bulbous skull and ridiculously wavy fog, the figure proportions are cleaned up a bit and everything is tighter.

Goodbye bulby skull :'(

The next step was to add non-photo blue overlay to the pencils and print them out on bristol board for inking.  However, before that step, I added some rough rendering in Clip Studio. I've found that when I freestyle rendering on the page with ink, in the absence of an erasable/undo-able media, I tend to get a muddled mucky ink mess. Well, maybe not a muddled mucky mess, but it doesn't go as well as giving it a bit of planning in the sketch stage.

Roughed in rendering, filtered to non-photo blue in Clip Studio

And that 11" x 17" piece of bristol board, with the non-photo blue printed line work, sat on my drawing desk for months. The concept of an Inktober 2023 blog entry was abandoned and all was quiet in the workshop. Finally, in late January of this year I decided it was inking time:

Really real world ink!

Next, I scanned the bristol board and worked some Photoshop magic in the form of a Black and White adjustment layer (to remove non-photo blue) and a Levels adjustment layer (to tweak the contrast).

Background Baskerville estate done with superfine tech pen

 Since I had come this far, why not digitally color this sucker?!

Good old garnet and gold for the win!

That is all well and good, but this started with a book cover and darn well better end with one!  And so it is, with the help of an Adobe Stock template and Dafont.com, I present the coup de grâce... a book glamor shot! Case closed!

Owen Soule

Published March 12, 2024