Sunday, March 11, 2012

Alphabeasts: V is for Vermicious Knids

This week's "Alphabeasts" come from Roald Dahl's lesser-known sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the book that answers the question of where that magic elevator winds up after it leaves Willy Wonka's Factory. In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, as you may already know, Charlie Bucket and Willie Wonka make it into space, to a vast orbiting American hotel, where the are menaced by alien invaders.

Yes, my friends, V is for vermicious knids.

The vermicious knids are amorphous hostile entities from the planet Vermes, entirely comfortable in deep space but prone to burning up on atmospheric re-entry. They can assume any shape they care to. Here's an illustration from the original book, to give you a sense of the shapes they try on, and to explain why I eschewed my usual brushpen-plus-Photoshop methods for the week.

They're fun to draw. There's no wrong shape for a vermicious knid, and you can keep putting crosshatching on them until they take on the dimensionality that you want. Give them a try the next time someone puts you on hold!

Here's a little process doodle that I used to figure out whether the cross-hatching method was going to work:

Next week, I am planning a trip to a children's book that's quite a bit better known.


Colin Tedford said...

Nice! I remember the V.K.s! Not super clearly, though - I should re-read that book, as the last time was probably in 5th grade.

Curious Art said...

So excellent! You really capture the feeling of those illos with the crosshatching. Loved those Dahl books so much as a kid, I remember the illos better than my real life at that age!

Isaac said...

I know exactly what you mean, Leah — and I have the same sort of thing with some panels from comics that I read at an early age, too.

Mike said...

Man, Kaiser, you outdid yourself this week...Two drawings that show off some really nice inking, and two very different kinds of inking, at that!

I'd forgotten what the vermicious knids were called, but I remember the one word they could (and would) spell out by twisting their bodies about: SCRAM!

(And in an odd bit of synchronicity, Sunday afternoon on R Street near Dumbarton Oaks I saw that someone had stenciled the name of Roald Dahl on the sidewalk...God only knows why!)

Loops O'Fury said...

Those do look like fun to draw! Nice hatchin'

Isaac said...

Yeah, I should have included vermicious knids in my list of things that are always fun to draw.