Can you help me illustrate a horde of zombies?
Sandy Pulse, England
In Photoshop I start by drawing a range of basic head shapes, making six or seven prominent ones with enough variation to be obvious that it’s not a similar group of people. Then I block in where the facial features are. I play with distance between the eyes, mouth and nose height, jaw shape, hair style and colour, and neck thickness. At this stage I’m not worrying about correct proportions yet. I block in some basic colour areas, trying to make the hue and saturation of each zombie’s skin slightly different from the next.
Next I block in rough body shape and clothing: overalls, T-shirts, hospital gowns, work shirts, dresses, tank tops. I keep the clothing colours desaturated; these are filthy zombies after all. Then I introduce light and shade, trying to control my values and keep everything close to mid-range. I shrink down some of the head sizes to make them more realistic and add hair to the characters, picking slight variations in colour and keeping everything loose. I also add some more details and a secondary light to help give volume to my characters.
Once you have a handful of prominent zombies in your horde, then you can fill in the rest of the group by loosely blocking in head shapes in the background. You don’t have to draw every individual zombie in the crowd; just suggest forms and it’ll be convincing. Remember to vary the hue and saturation slightly from face to face. I just loosely block in head shapes in the background to suggest a larger crowd. As a final touch I splash in some bloodstains and wounds, grunging things up without going overboard.
Ensure that your zombies aren’t uniform in appearance. Exaggerate their facial
features for extra visual variety.
Spend time sketching groups of people walking by. Then use their various body types to populate your scene.