Can you help me il­lus­trate a horde of zom­bies?

Sandy Pulse, Eng­land

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&A -


John replies

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.

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