Kings in Yellow

Robert W. Chambers wrote some amazing horror stories collected in a book called “The King in Yellow” where Chambers alludes to a chilling play of the same name but never directly reveals the plot of the play. He got the names “Hastur” and “Carcosa” from a couple of stories by Ambrose Bierce and continued the legend. H. P. Lovecraft and other writers would build upon his work, and later James Bish would actually attempt to create the text of the play in his story More Light. The result is a wonderful and creepy web of myths surrounding this forbidden play and the world it takes place in. I’ve been heavily influenced by these stories and over the years I’ve made different works based on them.

Above is The King in Yellow himself, or one version of him. Before that, when I had just gotten my first computer and was experimenting with digital art, I made this very rough photo-collage of the Tattered King:

very early unskilled digital sketch of the king in yellow

Ah, that takes me back!!

As I got more skilled I continued to make pieces centered around the play, including a portrait of the doomed queen Cassilda who is a protagonist in The King in Yellow:

cassilda the doomed queen from the forbidden play The King in Yellow

And I also made a Carcosa logo for a metal doorplate design:

carcosa, the doomed city of the king in yellow

This later got made into a new design for my God From the Machine solo show:

carcosa new collage with pen and ink and joss paper

Sadly my photo is kinda blurry but that tentacled thing at the bottom is Hastur, a kind of monster or evil god that lives at the bottom of the lake of Hali where the city Carcosa sits.

Anyway, that’s about all the art I’ve made about The King in Yellow so far, and all of it is based on earlier less-skilled work. I’m eager to make some more painterly pieces now that I’ve increased my digital painting abilities somewhat.

12/2/21 UPDATE:

I did end up making a new version of the King in Yellow back in 2015! I call the new one “The Crawling Chaos” since now he seems to have a more Nyarlathotep vibe to me. But I still kept some of the tattered yellow robes, even so.


nyarlathotep a half man half monster in a red haze with a melting face off the back of his head and giant bud wings and legs.

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