Pen and ink stippling with digital detailing in Gimp.
From A Descent into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe, 1841.
The edge of the whirl was represented by a broad belt of gleaming spray; but no particle of this slipped into the mouth of the terrific funnel, whose interior, as far as the eye could fathom it, was a smooth, shining, and jet-black wall of water, inclined to the horizon at an angle of some forty-five degrees, speeding dizzily round and round with a swaying and sweltering motion, and sending forth to the winds an appalling voice, half shriek, half roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven.
I thought I would try to capture Poe somewhere between an incomprehensibly vast vortex of chaos and a more prosaic, Victorian world of decorative arts. The worlds are cancerous to each other, and only Poe was strong and insightful enough to attempt to bridge the gap.
An interesting side note here is that I was determined to avoid the standard props of a Poe portrait, namely the raven or the black cat. Nevertheless, the wallpaper pattern that I puzzled out ended up having very feline features. Funny how the brain works.