Category: Art

Zombie Star Wars Posters

8 Dec
Zombie Star Wars Posters

Finally Jar Jar Binks gets his come-uppence as a zombie in these re-imagining of classic Star Wars posters to celebrate Death Troopers.

Click to pop.
Zombie Wars Episode 1Zombie Wars Episode 2Zombie Wars Episode 3Zombie Wars Episode 4Zombie Wars Episode 5Zombie Wars Episode 6

The Art Of The Zombie Game Experiment

14 Oct
The Art Of The Zombie Game Experiment

As the game is still in the early stages of pre-production much of what is required is nailing down the look and feel of the game to really give a good idea of what is to come and get people interested in becoming involved.

We take a look at some of the character and level designs as well as the art direction the game is taking.

↓ Click here to read the full story ↓
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Benjamin Hughes – Artist Interview

29 Jun

Zombie Ben Hughes

Benjamin Hughes is a London artist who, having studied fine art and illustration, now paints and sells his artwork professionally. He has created a range of work featuring zombies with tiny little zombie bodies, big heads and pointy teeth.

We caught up with him to find out how he came up with the idea of having the zombies wield the chainsaws for a change.

Zombie Command: You mark your interests as being about Music, Film, Surf, Skate BMX and Snow Culture, how did you get into art and painting?

Benjamin Hughes: Well surfing particularly, and skateboarding maybe when I was a bit younger (even though I do still sneak out on my Long board skateboard from time to time) has always been a part of my life, just like painting and drawing. Doodling I guess, was just one of the things I was pretty good at and enjoyed, so it was just something I did whenever I had a moment, like in a maths lesson or something. Logo and branding in surfing and skateboarding, from people like Jim Phillips, and artwork from brands like Powell Peralta and Brand X, has definitely influenced my artwork quite a bit when I was growing up and got me interested in art and design. All of which shared that comic book style , yet dark edge and funnily enough featured a lot of zombie culture.

ZC: The work on display on your site is all acrylics on canvas, is this your preferred way of creating your work?

BH: Yeah it’s an easy medium to work which dries real quick, and helps to bring that bright vivid colour that features in a lot of my work. When the pieces are finished and get that final coat gloss varnish they really make an impact. They don’t exactly fade off into the background, they tend to get noticed.

ZC:The zombie characters you’ve created are ‘cute’ and not the typical view most people have of zombies. What’s was the inspiration behind their design?

BH: Not sure I know what you mean??……we all know zombies are just misunderstood, right?. I mean yeah sure, they wanna eat your brains and stuff….. but give them a break, they were just like us once …..and I think most people who visit your site have a secret soft spot for the hoards of undead who want to eat you, and your family members without so much as a second thought…
….but apart from our obvious bias, there’s a lot of humour and fun in zombie movies which I wanted to include in the paintings….thinking about it though, I think the simple stylised design probably was most influenced by what’s happening with graffiti art at the moment. Modern graffiti art has changed a lot in the last few years, in the past it would be just tagging on a wall, but now it’s become symbol based, with artists having their own symbol, logo or character. Artists like Olivier Stak have such a simple clean logo symbol that it almost has a corporate feel to it, so its interesting to see that stuff on walls. So of course I wanted my own symbol, and as a zombie movie fan there was almost no option but to have a cute zombie character, errrr….I meant ‘evil’ not cute.

ZC: The look of the zombies is very uniform. How do you reproduce each one so accurately and how many zombies pieces have you produced?

BH: Graffiti artists tend to use stencils to leave their stamp and to get their message out there quickly. But I never really got on with stencilling. All my stuff is hand drawn and painted, but my work is always very neat and tidy and everything’s where it should be on the canvas in a kind of obsessive compulsive way type way.
Also that iconic film image of the advancing zombie army, always has that uniform, symmetry and perspective, that I’ve tried to recreate in my paintings, I mean when It comes to zombie there’s always the ones at the front doing the damage, the stragglers, and the ones wandering off in totally the wrong direction.
So I kind of wanted them to be creeping toward the viewer, in that uniform chaos of a zombie attack. Plus this was always gonna be a series of paintings so it’s important to create that theme by having a commonality to the pieces. I’ve only produced a few pieces so far but I’m working on some new stuff at the moment.

ZC:We here at ZC are big fans of the little scamps and would like to see more of them if people wanted to own some of your work where’s the best place to see more pieces and buy them? Are you considering branching out with the characters into other mediums? Are we likely to see prints of your work?

BH: Yeah possibly if there’s some interest, could do a small run of prints. Just check out my website www.benjaminhughes.co.uk to see more, where I’ll be updating with more pieces soon.

[flickr]set:72157620591069243[/flickr]

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Left 5 Dead – Now With 100% More Pirate

31 May

In one of the simultaneously coolest and lamest sets of art that we’ve seen for Left 4 Dead, Night Zero has created several pieces blending live action and his comic book style of photo manipulation.

Night Zero, the comic, is produced as a live action comic book chronicling the story of survivors in the month following a deadly viral outbreak. The effects are produced using High Dynamic Range Photography and tonemapping which produces a look somewhere between a photo and an illustration.

The comic has just finished it’s second volume and would ordinarily be getting it’s own post, except I found this piece of related work.

So why is it cool? …

L5D - Stocking Up

Sweet! Live action Left 4 Dead visuals with very reasonable look-a-likes and costuming recreating scenes from the game. Awesome.

Why is it lame? …

Steve the Pirate

As you may have guessed from the title, Left 5 Dead includes an extra survivor, which I have to assume is Night Zero himself. Alternatively it may be Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball.

Real Steve the Pirate

Now, wanting to be involved and part of the group is probably every dedicated fans dream but the problem with that is by inserting a specific fan you alienate the rest. Night Zero has destroyed the group dynamic by adding a genuine pirate (seriously check out the rest of the pictures, the guy has no shoes and a pirate pistol).

Some of the images are fantastic, with Hunters pouncing on Zoey, Francis gunning down a disturbed Witch and just generally cool poses but the Steve/Zero crops up all too frequently to really erase him from your mind. Why not check out the full set for yourself and see what you think.

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Interview with Billy Tackett

29 May

Billy TackettFor those of you not already familiar with the name Billy Tackett then you might be surprised at just how much of his art work you recognise and just how amazing his zombie art is.

Starting out life in deepest, darkest Kentucky, Billy’s love of horror and talent for art has cemented his title as Creative Genius & Zombification Specialist as he’s worked his way through numerous artist gigs and projects.

His signature piece, Zombie Sam, has given birth to a graphic novel in the form of his as yet unreleased Dead White & Blue series and forged a path for his soon to be released art book and partial auto-biography, For The Love Of Monsters.

Zombie Command managed to score an interview with Billy in the middle of his current tour.

Zombie Command: Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you ended up drawing zombies for a living?

Billy Tackett: Basically I was raised in rural Northeastern Kentucky and had a pretty normal childhood except for the fact that I had this unusual fascination with horror movies and monsters. I really don’t know where it came from but I know I had always had some movie monster magazines around since before I could remember. It’s strange because my parents never were into that sort of thing but luckily they didn’t discourage me. My love of horror has remained constant. When all my childhood friends seemed to grow out of it horror was still a major part of my life.

I never intended to make a living drawing zombies specifically but I did want to draw horror in general. Once high school was over I opened a sign shop in my hometown where everything was hand painted. I also had the opportunity to airbrush murals on vans, motorcycles and such which allowed the horror to creep in occasionally. After I got married my wife Heather and I decided that a sleepy little town wasn’t good for our careers so we moved to the Northern Kentucky area. I began to learn some computer programs like Photoshop and started to integrate that with my traditional art. Eventually I got some freelance jobs doing book covers for some small publishers. I trudged through that for several years but my career was pretty stagnant.

During this time I had been doing general horror stuff as well as some fantasy and sci-fi art in many different mediums, watercolors, inks, colored pencils etc, but nothing was really happening for me. So I sat down one day and decided that I would focus on just a few mediums which were pencils, inks and oils. I had never used oils before so I don’t know why I chose them but I’m glad I did.

My plan was that while I was learning this new medium I would start attending fantasy/sci-fi/horror conventions to network, meet some potential clients and fans and maybe sell some art prints to make a little cash. My first show-able painting was Zombie Sam that was done for my first con. That image really took off! I sold prints like crazy and had requests for t-shirts which lead to my line of shirts which lead to more zombified images of Americana which lead to more convention appearances which lead to…well, you get the picture.

Zombie SamZC: Your legend was cemented with your drawing of Zombie Sam, based on the iconic Uncle Sam Wants You poster. What inspired you to zombify such a recognisable image?

BT: Honestly I don’t remember! Several years ago I contacted a zombie themed publication called Fleshrot about doing some art. They needed a black and white one page piece so the original Zombie Sam was born. Afterwards I wanted to do a color version but never got around to it. When I got the spot for my first con I wanted something really cool to show off my new found skills in oils. I think Zombie Sam was just one of those “Aha!” ideas. I knew it was a good idea but I didn’t realise the impact it would have on my career.

And then there’s the Obama-esque poster I did of Zombie Sam on a lark. I got a HUGE response from that one! I think I’m going to campaign Zombie Sam as a write-in candidate in the next Presidential election.

ZC: You’ve gone on to draw many other recognisable zombified versions of famous characters, including Elvis and Santa Claus. Which one was you most pleased with and are there any icons that you would still like to do?

BT: That’s like asking a parent which of their children they love the most! From a technical perspective Cannibal Claus is probably my favorite. But Breakfast Is Tiffany turned out well too. On the other hand Fannie the Flesheater is…ARRGH! It makes my head hurt!

I have a long list on my refrigerator of iconic American images I need to zombify. When I come up with an idea I’ll jot it down and then mark it off once the painting is done.

All Your Brains Are Belong To UsZC: You produce art in a variety of styles – full color paintings, designs for t-shirts as well as book and magazine covers. Are you happiest seeing your work in print, on somebodies wall or them wearing it out and about on the street?

BT: Wearing it out in the street without a doubt! For someone to buy your work is a compliment but for someone to like it so well that they’re willing to announce that fact to everyone they see is pretty spectacular for me. I’ll get emails saying “I saw somebody wearing your shirt in Birmingham (or Pittsburgh or Atlanta etc)”.

ZC: Zombie Sam and the other Dead White & Blue paintings meant that Wandering Sage Books gave you the go ahead to produce a graphic novel based on your work. Was this something that you always wanted to do?

BT: No. I never considered myself a writer. Sometimes I’ll get an idea for a story and I’ll write it but I’ve never submitted anything for publication. When my friend and author Shane Moore got the deal to have his Abyss Walker novels turned into graphic novels I mentioned a half-assed premise that had been floating around in my head for a while. I was really just thinking out loud. A few days later he contacted me and said I had better get to writing because Wandering Sage wanted to publish it. Needless to say I was floored. So I’ve had to go from a guy with a cool idea for a story to a writer with a cool story. Luckily I have some great writer friends helping to steer me in the right direction.

ZC: You had to learn to write comics for this project, how close are we to seeing the completed thing and are you happy how it’s turned out?

BT: Unfortunately I had to put Dead White & Blue Comics on the back burner for a short time. My artist had a lot on his plate and may be unable to complete the project. So I told him that I was also working on a book of my art, For The Love Of Monsters, and if he wanted we could put off the graphic novel while I finished it. After that we could re-evaluate the situation and since I’m nearing completion of the book that time will be soon. I have my fingers crossed that he will be able to continue otherwise I’ll be on the hunt for another artist.

Dead White & Blue ComicZC: Can you tell us a little about what we can expect when Dead White & Blue is completed?

BT: Dead White & Blue Comics (DWB) is about a group of World War 2 superheroes, Sam & His Fightin’ Americans, that were turned into zombies. Fast-forward to today and a group of modern day Nazis are threatening the Earth with alien technology and the only way to stop them is to unleash this group of All-American zombies on them. My inspiration is the comics of the 70s. That over-the-top Marvel Comics style where it’s intended to be serious but it can’t be taken seriously. Very campy stuff. There will also be tons of surprises as well. Don’t expect a straight forward graphic novel.

ZC: You’ve written about not liking to draw sequential art and another artist is pencil & inking the novel. Will fans of yours enjoy seeing his work in the novel?

BT: Absolutely! Before I began looking for an artist my one rule was that I had to be a fan of their work. I want this to be something that I can be proud of and working with an artist I admire will do that.

My approach to writing in very minimalistic. I want this to be more of a collaboration so I write in a way that leaves a lot of room for the artist to get creative. Being an artist I know how frustrating it can be to have a lot of creative restraints put on you so I’m trying to avoid that. The way I look at it is I’m telling a story, the artist is telling THE story.

ZC: Fans will be able to see you at East Tennessee Tattoo Festival in June. Do you have any crazy fans stories and what will those going this weekend be able to see?

BT: I have met some of the most interesting people. Like the tongue fetish model, the girl in the string bikini with the porn-star body who illustrated children’s books and the communist that was offended by my “Better Undead Than Red” painting. The REAL crazy stories happen after hours. Attending as many events as we do we have developed a close friendship with many of the other guests, actors, authors, artists etc and once dinner has been had and the drinks begin to flow you never know what will happen.

What will people see at my booth? There’s always the art prints and t-shirts. I also sell Artist Trading Cards on which I sketch out a little something or other. It’s an inexpensive way for someone to own an original piece of art. Also I always try to have a new piece of art to display at each event if time allows. Since I have a few weeks until the tattoo festival I should have a several!

And even if people aren’t looking to buy anything my wife and I are always up for a little conversation. Folks have been known to stop by the booth and hang out for a while.

ZC: ZC Gary fancies himself as a bit of an artist and has recreated Zombie Sam here. What advice can you give him?

BT: The artistic vision is there. He just needs to tighten up the details a bit and watch his light sources…on, wait, I was looking at the wrong one!

Zombie Sam ZC Gary

Here it is…Oh God! Oh God! This is blasphemy! Jack Kennedy is in Heaven bangin’ Marilyn and crying his eyes out right now!

ZC: What projects are you up to at the moment and where can we see more of your great art next?

BT: My part bio and part art book For The Love of Monsters will be out later this year. I’m putting the finishing touches on it now and then it will be in the publisher’s hands. Also I just got a pretty cool job doing an album cover for an Iraqi death-metal band called Dog Faced Corpse.

Look for some new art related to Shane Moore’s Abyss Walker novels throughout the year. New Dead White & Blue art is on the way and I guarantee you’ll like it! If you want to keep up with new stuff you can join me on Facebook or MySpace.

To see more of Billy’s work visit his official site or to buy some great t-shirts prints and more check out his store here.

[flickr]photo:3575822925[/flickr]

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