I’ve gone all gothic.

Be thankful I don’t have any Sisters of Mercy albums or black eyeliner…

So, I had this idea, kind of inspired by reading about Leonardo’s anatomical drawings, and 40 years of watching horror movies.

First. I aged some paper. This was just some bog-standard A3 cartridge paper. I tore the edges to roughen them up, and crinkled it a tiny bit. Then (when my wife was out) I filled a tray with black instant coffee and soaked the sheet in it. Then I lifted it out and, from a height, I sprinkled a little coffee powder onto the wet surface and let it soak in to create darker spots. Then I popped it into a slightly warm oven until it was nearly dry but a bit curled up. Then pressed it between some sheets of paper under a heavy book until dry and flat.

Almost dry, before pressing.
Flat and ready to use (a different sheet to above)

Then I gathered appropriate materials. The main drawing was done with a Derwent Line Maker 0.1 Sepia. And the writing with a Derwent Artists ‘Chocolate’ coloured pencil, which are a decent match for each other.

Next. Sketches. I started with the skull. Initially I made some minor modifications to a normal human skull:

But then I started thinking. Even though it is bad for me. I decided that vampires, being nocturnal, would have big eyes. So I widened the eye sockets and strengthened the area around them. I also widened the nasal passage a little. Creatures with heightened senses also tend to have big brains, so I increased the height of the cranium.

Vampires, of course, have no need to chew food, so I weakened the lower jaw and removed most of the back teeth:

Pretty, eh?

Moving on to the hand. I used my own hand for a model. Before you freak out – I did extend both the digits and the fingernails considerably:

Then I transferred it all to the aged paper. Initially by tracing very faintly with a graphite pencil, before inking it in with the Line Maker:

Then I decided to add an extracted canine tooth:

I was done with ink at this stage. I wanted more control (and erasability!) for the writing. Writing neatly is torture for me, let alone in a specific font and another language. My friend Sarah tried not to be too offended at my first draft and kindly offered to tidy up my Latin (considerably):

Finally, I added a few vampiric looking symbols. All of the writing and symbols were ‘faded’ by going over them lightly with a putty eraser.


  1. I remember you saying last time we spoke that you enjoyed this kind of gothic art, Darren. I’m so pleased that you are now getting into it. This drawing is fabulous, as usual. πŸ™‚ I love to hear about your artistic process. It is extra dramatic photographed on the black background.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Tracy! Yes, I do recall mentioning it before when I got a book on gothic art. I should not have waited so long as I thoroughly enjoyed the process! I have been using that same black cloth behind plant portraits for IG a lot too :). I happened to have a battered old book and a set of brass drawing instruments in my ‘studio’. It only took moments to set up and I am delighted you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic project, Darren! I especially enjoyed reading about the process – so much preparation and hard work! But it was well worth it – it looks amazing!! 😍


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