The Dark Tower Villain Sketches
I’ve given significant sketching time to the heroes from the Dark Tower, but haven’t done anything on the villains. Actually, maybe villain isn’t quite the word for all of them. Certainly, the Crimson King is villainous, but Mia is more of a single-minded, selfish antagonist. Anywho, I decided to do a series of drawings for some of these folks working against Roland and his Beam-saving crew. Words of warning: I will discuss a bit on how the story ends for these creeps, so there will be spoilers! Abandon now if you want to remain spoiler-free about the Dark Tower.
In this group, I started with my favorite of all these nefarious characters, the wily Walter Padick/Randall Flagg. Then I did the Crimson King, Andrew “Tick Tock Man” Quick, and worked through two different versions of Mia Daughter of None. I wanted to try Dandelo, but I couldn’t get a good mental image of him. And I decided not to sketch Mordred, mostly because I already did a spider creature in the Red King. Honorable mention to Blaine the Mono, who was one of my favorites; unfortunately I don’t think a picture of a train would completely convey his insane personality. Plus I’ve never even drawn a train before.
For previous sketches/discussion of the Dark Tower, here are some links:
Walter Padick, also known as Randall Flagg, Walter O’Dim, Marten Broadcloak, Richard Fannin, the Covenant Man, and many other names.
Walter is actually the first one I set out to draw for this villain project. He’s been the antagonist for other King stories too, like the Stand. He’s really a fun character, and part of me wishes he had interacted with Roland a bit more during the quest to reach the Tower. Even going back to the Stand, which I read much earlier than this series, I imagined him as an unhinged Jack Nicholson. Basically like his Joker character from Tim Burton’s Batman, but without the makeup. But, I also wanted to add some of the Flagg look from the Stand miniseries in the 90s, because that Jamey Sheridan guy looked the part too. So, my version of Walter is sort of a Nicholson/Sheridan mash-up.
Walter’s palaver with Roland at the end of the first book was so great, I had high hopes for continued conflict and an amazing battle at the end. Unfortunately, that was not to be…as he ended up as a sacrifice to the literary gods to legitimize another villain. A common theme with most of these antagonists is that their demises were anticlimactic. I’ve read somewhere that Stephen King actually explained this. I’m paraphrasing, but King apparently said the nature of villains is that they are scarier from afar, and that they are more intimidating prior to actually facing them. Once you do, they are usually far more ordinary than you thought. (Note: I’m passing that on third-hand; I didn’t actually read the quote, just someone talking about King saying that).
Mia, Daughter of None
Mia is sort of a controversial character in the series. Some people don’t like her story line, others don’t like her because she’s responsible for Mordred (who also has his detractors). I wasn’t particularly wild about some aspects of Mia and Mordred’s tale, especially the bizarre conception and baby transfer stuff. I also didn’t fully understand what she originally was or how she became human. And how exactly did she become both a real person and one of Susannah’s personalities? Overall, I understand she was a creature of the Prim who was jealous that humans could have babies. I guess that’s enough?
As for this sketch, it’s actually the second attempt. In the first, I was going for a more insane/losing control look, but somehow she looked happy instead. It just wasn’t very good. So, I started with a fresh concept. This time, I tried to show a more serious, quiet crazy person. Someone who isn’t totally unhinged, but is instead more focused and single-mindedly crazy. Honestly, I couldn’t remember exactly how she was described in the book though. I know Susannah remarked that she was pretty, and I think she wore a dress in their shared vision. I also think she had black hair, but I could be wrong about that.
Andrew Quick, also known as the Tick Tock Man.
Poor Andrew Quick. He really thought he was hot stuff, until he met Roland, Jake, and Oy. Tick Tock Man, so nicknamed for his love of clocks and watches, was the leader of the Grays in the City of Lud and the ancestor of a famous marauder. It seemed like Quick may have been close to gaining greater access to computers in Lud, but that dream was squashed first by Roland, then by Blaine the Mono when he exterminated all life in the city. Tick Tock was saved by Walter, which made me think he would have a larger role later…but he was pretty easily defeated again by Roland’s group.
This sketch of the Tick Tock Man wasn’t too difficult. I looked at some images of Khal Drago from HBO’s Game of Thrones series, and of some other muscle-bound hero movies (I think some recent Heracles remake? Possibly the same actor). I wanted to make him look arrogant, and like someone who would be really intimidating to a teenage boy (Jake). Originally, I thought I’d try to get a few others around his “throne,” like Gasher. But, I didn’t want to commit that kind of time to ol’ Tick Tock, so I backed away from that idea.
The Crimson King, also known as the Red King, ‘Los, Lord of the Spiders, Lord of Discordia, and other aliases.
I saved the biggest bad, and also by far the most anti-climactic show-down, for the end. The Crimson King was the seemingly all-powerful force dedicated to breaking the Beams and destroying the Tower. His goal apparently was to claim the Tower, end existence, then rebuild it for himself. Although his full ancestry isn’t explored in the series, it does mention he was both from Arthur Eld’s line (like Roland) and a creature of the Prim (a were-spider). According to the series’ wiki, his father was none other than Arthur Eld, and his mother was an insect creature from the Prim. This creature assumed human form, tricked Arthur into bed, and then tried to eat him.
Before tackling this one, I browsed Google Images for other artwork of the Red King. As depicted in most other art I saw, originally I wanted to make him look as terrifying as possible. After all, he is pretty much the ultimate evil in the Dark Tower world. But, after thinking about the anticlimactic ends, and Stephen King’s thoughts on villains, I reconsidered.
The Crimson King caused major destruction and havoc with his plans and actions, but he also became quite insane. He was so scared of Roland that he intentionally gimped himself by becoming undead, ran for the Tower, then proceeded to get trapped on the freaking first balcony. And all he could do to Roland was taunt and throw exploding sneeches at him. He was revealed not to be all-powerful, so I sketched him as a not-too-terrifying old man. Yeah, he’s got red eyes and is actually a giant spider…but some other artwork of him is genuinely disturbing. It’s not my favorite of these villain sketches, though. Maybe trying to make him extremely frightening would have been a better route?
So, what’s next? Do I have any more Dark Tower art on the way? I’m actually not sure yet. I think it might be nice to sketch a few minor characters that I liked. Perhaps Ted Brautigan, Sheemie, Ted Danville, or Father Callahan. Or even Roland’s original ka-tet of Cuthbert, Alain, and Jamie.