I have been drawing zombies and zombie portraits for a book a friend of mine is writing – he is self-publishing and when he asked if I would help I was really excited as I am big a fan of the old zombie!
He had a deadline and so my earlier drawings needed to be kept simple – I didn’t have that much time to explore some of the ideas I had so I saw book 1 as a chance to develop characters. Now I am on book 2 I am continuing working on the characters but I am also taking my ideas a little further and exploring action, gesture and composition.
This is one of my newer zombie portraits – a recently infected wreck of a man who just scored a meal. Compared to my previous portraits I have focused more on detail, rather than mood, as I have started to think about the decomposition of muscle and flesh. It’s no way near that point yet – but I can see my exploration of anatomy is going to be useful for this project and that’s the next step for me – I will be working from the inside out.
Like my other attempts, I used charcoal and a variety of old watercolour brushes for blending. I spent some time looking at zombie art and graphic novels, and I bought “Fantasy Underground – How to Draw Zombies” so I could take some lessons – my page “Zombie Book” includes some of the little projects I did and I think they were really useful and most importantly, lots of fun. I’m also using “Anatomy for Fantasy Artists” which has been very useful for gesture, anatomy and reference photos.
This is a scene I am working on (I think it’s almost finished) showing zombies creeping towards a fleshy meal in the dark tunnels of the London Underground. I used vanishing point to work out the perspective and I tried to make sure all the heads of the upright zombies in the mid ground and background were at the same level which helps keep the perspective consistent. I began by lightly working out the larger shapes and then focusing on the gesture, capturing the smaller details as I went along. I used graphite and a lot of swearing.
Bibliography and Inspiration
Leonardo da Vinci, Anatomist , Clayton. M, and Philo, R, Royal Collection Publications, 2014
Fantasy Underground – How to Draw Zombies, Butkis, M, and Destefano, M, Walter Foster Publishing Inc, 2010
Anatomy for Fantasy Artists – An essential guide to creating action figures and fantastical forms, Fabry, G., and Cormack, B., David and Charles Publishers, 2006.
The Walking Dead Vol. 1, Kirkman, R. and Moore, T. Image Comics, 2006.
The Walking Dead Vol 2 -17, Kirkman, R., et al, Image Comics.
Revival, Seeley, T. and Norton, M., Image Comics,
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, Austen, J. and Grahame-Smityh, S., Titan Books, 2009.
Music I listened to
The Zombie E.P – The Devil Wears Prada
The Powerless Rise – As I Lay Dying
An Ocean Between Us – As I lay Dying
JuJu – Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Creep – Radiohead