Pastor John Parris is the junior of my two point of view villains in The Darkening Dream. Given the kind of occult woodblock look I’ve been developing I tend to focus on the character’s magical nature to develop their icon.
With Parris I got off to a false start, drawn in by this classic image of Baphomet. It has strong associations with the occult, witchcraft, and demonology. All good stuff that Parris likes to keep close at hand, wrapped in black silk coverings. Or perhaps in a human-skin pouch.
I even had my artists do this rendition (above). But this was a red herring. Truthfully, Baphomet is a nineteenth century rendering, a reinvention of such things in light of 1800s eclecticism. It’s more akin to the effect this image has for us moderns, being cool, exotic, and devilishly naughty. Parris comes from a school of magic that is much more about really believing in fire and brimstone.
So I turned to this kind of image (above) showing a seventeenth century witches sabbath. This is totally apropos, but I didn’t know how to make an icon out of it.
Then I found this view (above) of the witches table. Parris is a ritualist and he often employs candles (lychnomancy) in his magic. The scene was too visually complex, but it was a start.
So I did a ghetto version for my artists (above), using Photoshop to strip away some of the excess and they came back with below, which was about perfect. This shows the tools of Parris’ trade: the candle, the powder horn, bowls for mixing, blades for bloodletting.
Discover more about my novel, The Darkening Dream.
To find out about developing a style for the interior art, see here.
Or for more information on Pastor John Parris, the warlock.