New illustration: "The Conqueror Worm"
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“But see, amid the mimic rout,
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out 
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs 
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued. ”
Edgar Allan Poe — The Conqueror Worm
After having the honor of drawing not one (Season Finale: The Hidden webpage), not two (Valentine's Day Special) but three (NoSleep Live 2018) special episodes for NoSleep in a row, we return to our normally scheduled program with Season 10 Episode 15.
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But this illustration turned out to be a special one, after all, because in this episode the NoSleep team produces material from the public domain for the first time!

The episode's first story is actually a poem called The Conqueror Worm by noone else but one of the greatest godfathers of horror literature: Edgar Allan Poe himself.

So in order to do this occasion justice, I decided to go with a portrait of the master. The reference I used, of course, is the famous photograph of him we all know (or more accurately: the daguerreotype of him!), and while it was a lot of fun to paint, I had to work for a while to get the likeness of the portrait excactly where I wanted it.
The photograph is so well known that I wanted to get as close to it as I possibly could.


In the poem, Poe sets up the stage in a strange theater filled with a veiled audience and mimes dancing to and fro. In the climax of the poem (which you can read for free here), a giant worm appears and devours the actors.

While I usually shy away from actually drawing the monster in the story, I found it easy to make an exception for this artwork. First, the poem is quite short, and second, well — the worm is right there in the title!

So I set the sights to the internet to see if I couldn't find some kickass worm paintings to draw inspiration from.

Of course, it wasn't long before I stumbled over the images drawn for the notorios sandworms of the desert planet Arrakis in the influental Sci-Fi Novel Dune by Frank Herbert.

The first design decision for my worm was foregoing the flaps covering its mouth, but adding some teeth instead — to better devour you with, obviously.

My earlier sketches for my drawing have shown the titular worm dropped around Poe's shoulders in corporeal form, but I couldn't get it to look right.

It took me a while to realize why that was: In the poem, at least in the way I read it, the worm is an allegory for death and not a literal worm. So to indicate that, I opted to draw it in its current, wispy form.

I really hope you like the painting and am very happy to be able to pay my homage to one of horror's greatest.

Artist spotlight: Djamila Knopf

"Ace of Wands", illustration copyright by Djamila Knopf, used with permission.
Name: Djamila Knopf

Djamila Knopf is a digital artist who is — like me! — from Germany and operates — unlike me! — out of Leipzig.

Most of her art features stunning portrait work and/or tarot card illustrations. I found myself drawn to her portfolio because of her skilled use of muted color palettes (which enhances the illustrations' dreamy aesthetic) and the clear, concise drawing style she incorporates into her characters.

Djamila's art tells a story at first glance, and it's easy to imagine rich backstories to each character she draws. I can't help but feel a pleasurable wave of nostalgia wash over me whenever I look at her work. 

If you want to support Djamila's independent work, you can buy prints of her art or support her on Patreon.
Visit her homepage now
That's all I needed to get off my chest today, I will see you folks soon!

Until then, take care, my lovelies
Copyright © 2018 The Art of Jörn, All rights reserved.

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The Art of Jörn · Schenkspfad 4 · Cologne 51105 · Germany

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