Hi Fear Fans!
Decapitated Dan asked me to provide a few pointers on how to draw your very own nightmare character and this week we start with old favourite The Zombie Werewolf! Have a look at this step by step 'guide' and make an attempt to do your own version. Try nib pens, brush and ink ... heck, why not a sharpened point dipped in goats blood, I don't care. The end result isn't important, it's y'know, like, all about the journey, ya dig?
See ya in the funny papers
First step: Rough sketch
I usually find my first idea is the best so producing multiple 'thumbnail roughs' these days seems like a waste of time. I rely on the excitement of the moment and hope my sketch somehow retains an element of spontaneity that remains by the time I've pencilled and inked it. My stuff tends to really happen at inking stage so I can't wait to go in with some black markers and try and sort the details out ... facial expressions (in this case ... a predatory leer!), muscle tone, shading, spot blacks (large gobs of black applied for dramatic effect) etc.
Second step: Pencil tracing
Next step is where I grab my clutch pencil and go in tighter on the details and fix all the bits I don't like. I'm happy with the 'face' but I'm still not sure about the limbs. I'm worried wolfy is looking off balance and static. I want him to look like he could pounce at any minute and rend your face off (nice guy aren't I?). At this stage I try and plan how I'm going to 'light' the figure and place blacks to emphasize 'weight' and 'form' (fancy terms that simply mean I'm trying to give the figure depth, so it doesn't look like a cardboard cut out!) In desperation I reach for Berni Wrightsons original Swamp Thing collection (because I know he does a wicked werewolf in that book somewhere) and John Boltons King Kull book he did in the eighties (another awesome werewolf) but I resist the temptation to peek. I'm worried my version will end up looking too much like my idols work ... I think homage is great (any that's read my book 'EEEK' will know how I feel about the masters) but I don't want to look like I'm ripping anybody off. Not intentionally anyhow!
Third step: Inking
This is where my heart is in my mouth and I have to make this pic work. I'm not entirely happy with this now for some reason and I want to tear the bloody thing up and throw it out the window and hope Dan doesn't decapitate me if I pull out of this whole sorry mess .... but I take a deep breath and pick up my Pilot fineliner and remind myself that I'm a professional ... and that Dan's getting this for nothing so it's no skin off my nose right (only kidding Dan)?!!
First I'll go in tight with a fine marker and pick out the subtle details of the face (I always start with the eyebrows then the face for some reason) using light feathery almost invisible hatching then ever so slowly build up the line thickness till I eventually pick up a fatter medium marker, then a fine brush pen, then a fatter brush pen ... by now I'm hunched over the board with a pain between my shoulders and sweat beading on my brow and an ache behind my frontal lobe. I'm clutching a handful of pens in my left hand with the lids off and my right is a blur as I struggle to breathe life into my dead pencil work! Suddenly I've fixed the left arm and the legs and it looks like the picture's going to look alright, especially now I've put some nice chunky black shadows around the figure ... now I need to dirty him up with more hatching and drippy grime and blood streaks. I try and channel the spirit of Jack Davis and I'll be happy if I achieve one hundredth of the grimy atmosphere and grit he did in his monster work.
Fourth step: Grey tones
Dan didn't ask for this (or for a background now I think about it) but I can't help myself. I swallow my pride and lose the misty linework around the moon and let the figure breathe. My back starts to hurt and I remember I've got a big paid job due at any minute which will probably put me back on the massage table again but it was worth it. I've drawn my very own zombie werewolf ... in only a few hours!
NOTE: Dan asked me to produce a 'shape guide' so you guys can get a handle on how to reproduce this figure. I don't usually draw like this when I rough out figures ( I favour the 'wire wrap' approach - scribbling over a bendy stick figure to approximate muscle mass and body expression - ala Buscema and Williamson) but there's nothing wrong with it.
So there you have it readers! An insiders look at drawing your very own zombie werewolf! Now dim the lights, put on your favourite Black Sabbath track, get into the zone and start drawing!
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