Bloody Pens and Sleepless Nights

Creating Horrors, Horror Art, Horror Influences, Horror Writing, Uncategorized

I’m currently in the middle of a horrific horror story. Trying to buy a house, sell a house, organise finance and solicitors and moving. Who knew what horrors are in the real world. No wonder I draw all the stuff I do!!

Writing horror stories is something I’ve done for a while but never really had the bottle to put them out in the world. I read so many trashy horror novels when I was younger , I’m always amazed I didn’t start back then. James Herbert, Shaun Hutson and Harry Adam Knight to name a few. Gory, spooky, violent and smatterings of sex! Then later discovering M R James, Robert Aickman and Lovecraft ( Lovecraft was introduced to me via Metallica’s Master of Puppets album). They fired my imagination as a teenager , when horror was at its height! I highly recommend Grady Hendrix Paperbacks from Hell if you want to know more about this fantastic time for the horror novel.

This an outstanding book about the rise and fall of the pulp horror novel. A must read.

I find writing these stories are great way to exercise the brain muscles if I’m struggling for art ideas. I get ideas anytime and frantically try to put them into my phone or write them on random bits of paper with little abstract illustrations. Sometimes I’ll create just a title ( Fowl! Wildcamp! The Viking Dead!) and I tend to then find them weeks later, clueless about what I’ve written down, the memory lost to the several other things I have done since!

I try and create small low budget horror scripts and see what comes out of that ( Evil Dead making it’s influences known again!) Some of these stories simply get turned into comic ideas ( check out the comics page on the web page). Others are just simple sentences that end up creating an image on it’s own with no real back story. Anything else seems to need expanding, I can’t seem to just leave it and they get turned into the stories I upload onto my Bloody Pens blog. The ideas can become so big, I can’t justify with one image and certainly am not talented enough to create a comic strip from them. Strangely, once I’ve finished writing and then upload, a single image can pop into my head and I frantically get the sketch down. I was always a fan of the way the early pulp novels had black and white illustrations attached to the stories and it’s something I’d really like to publish, once I have enough stories and this whole moving malarky has sorted itself out, I’ll get on it! Promise!

I recently watched Mandy, the horror movie starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Panos Cosmatos . Being a fan of those wonderful Italian exploitation horror flicks, this ticked all the boxes for me. Nicolas Cage at his over the top best, weird trippy lighting , almost non existent script and buckets of gore. I also loved the fact the special make up effects looked like special make up effects. Not quite 100% real, but good enough.

I also watched Hereditary, which I know some people love and some people seem to really hate. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Gave me a Rosemary’s Baby vibe. I loved the way it built up a slow feeling of dread. I can see why some people would not like it, especially with movies like the Conjuring series and Get Out ( which is outstanding!) However, is it me, or whenever there seems to be a movie about witchcraft cults ( spoiler alert!) how come they always seem to be over 60 and naked??

Anyway, time to get back to the sketchbook and and get the inks out. Sorry this was a touch late. I promise I will keep up. Please check out my Instagram etc and let me know what you think of my stories and this blog.

Keep checking under the bed!

Dan

Creating Horrors!!!

Creating Horrors, Horror Art, Horror Influences, Uncategorized

I get asked a lot where my inspiration comes from. Its hard to say to be truthful. Films (I watched Hereditary recently…wow!) TV (I started watching Night Flyers on Netflix, like it so far!) Books (Robert Aickman’s The Wine Dark Sea) music ( I’m writing this listening to John Carpenter Anthology) the usual offenders. I listen to a lot of podcasts these days, Lore and Shadows at the Door are two of my favourites at the moment.

INSPIRATION!!!


I draw everyday. Even if I’m not in the mood, especially if you have a ton of other ” life” jobs to do first! The brain is a muscle , and it need warming up.
I’ve filled so many sketchbooks now, I’m running out of room to store them That’s why I at least try to draw a skull as soon as I get up. Kettle on, tea made and sketchbook out. A five minute doodle is better than nothing at all!!

SKETCHBOOKS of DARK THOUGHTS!

Once I have an idea or two, I’ll try and steal a couple of hours in the studio. That’s a lot grander than it sounds, believe me. Its actually an old outhouse at the back of my home. I ripped all the crap out, put in a new ceiling , door and electricity. Its damp in winter and too hot in summer. Plus the occasional mouse, slug and a lot of spiders. Yet I can make as much mess as I like!

As much mess as I like!!

I start with a pencil drawing , figuring out shapes,sharp teeth and how the image is going to fit on the paper. Although I use a LOT of black ink, its amazing how important that pencil sketch can be. I’ll then transfer the image to some illustration board using my trusty light box. I purchased this about 10 years ago from a closing down sale in a craft shop for a fiver!! Best deal I have ever had! Art is an expensive mistress, especially when you use as much as I do.

THE INFAMOUS LIGHTBOX!

I normally transfer onto Bristol Board. But, I’ve discovered some mixed media pads from Daler Rowney that are fantastic!

  • Then, it’s on to the INK! My main tools are:
  • Parallel Pen, 0.2 and 0.3,
  • Pentel Brush Pen
  • Kuratake Zig Cartoonist pen
  • Tooth brush
  • Acrylic Markers
  • and, of course, BLACK INK! ( with occasional white and red)

To be honest, I’ll use anything I can get hold of. I’ve several ruined brushes that I keep using.

Once my hands full of ink, I know I’ve finished! So it’s posting on Instagram, then loading up on Etsy.

So, there you go. That’s how I create!! Next time I will go a bit deeper into some of my artistic influences. Let me know what you think? Feel free to subscribe to the blog so you can keep updated (click the triangle at the bottom of the page) . Don’t forget to check out my Instagram and Twitter. You can my Dark Tales here and the web comic Deth Metal by myself and good guy Silent Mark.

Thanks again!

Dansmonsters

Oh god, You like horror? Your obviously some kind of weirdo!

Horror Art, Horror Influences

Horror provides us with insights into ourselves and into the dark corners of the world, and it lets us develop and refine coping skills that may be critical later in life.”  Mathius Klansen

I’m sat here listening to the soundtrack for Horizon Zero Dawn ( which I can thoroughly recommend for listening to while writing, plus the game is pretty damn good) wondering how the hell do you write a blog? I’ve never don it before, but I’ve trawled through the many websites looking for advice ( blogs are dead seemed to be the main advice, unless you want to pay someone to give you advice, of course). I should have started about 3 months ago, but just couldn’t think how to start, plus I seemed to have so many other things to do ( day job, kids, life in general, setting up shop, drawing, creating website……) it kept being put on the back burner. Finally, I’ve sat my ass down and started.

So, what will you get if you want to follow this? Well, a chance to see my creative process, my tools of the trade, thoughts on my art, things that have influenced me , books I’ve read and films I’ve seen. Art is strange mistress , and even stranger when you draw the things I do!! So let me give you a quick introduction to my life with horror.

As you can probably tell, I love the horror genre. In all its incarnations. Books , films, art, music, the good and more importantly the bad. Monsters have always been a favourite. I remember seeing the Ray Harryhausen classic 20 million miles to earth as a kid on Sunday Afternoon on BBC2 and being blown away. Then, one Friday night, when my parents put the black and white portable TV in our room to watch the horror double bill, Night of the Demon enthralled and terrified me (a long with all the Hammer and Amicus movies, but NOTD just seemed to drag me in) and that was it. Horror was my game and I wanted more. Luckily, having an family who love Horror movies as well helped, especially as we where about to enter the age of the home video. My world exploded in a terrified sweat as I sat , at a wonderfully far to young age, watching Italian Giallo movies like  Zombie Flesh Eaters and Alien Contamination, American Horrors like Dawn of the Dead, C.H.U.D, Evil Speak, The Warning and on and on. However, the one that especially stuck with me was The Evil Dead, still my favourite of all. Whats not to like when you have such a fantastic mixture of outlandish gore, insane camera angles, hilarious set pieces and amazing stop motion Plasticine zombies. Plasticine???? I thought, well if they can use that, then I can make horror stuff as well. So, my strange journey of Fangoria, Rick Baker, Dick Smith, Rob Bottin and Tom Savini ‘s Grande illusions began. Including soaking the front row of my English class in fake blood, but that’s another story.

Horror has always been at the forefront of the genres for me. A little bit of fantasy and a smattering of science fiction, but always back to horror. Books, movies, comics ( I was gutted when Scream finished) and drawing the stuff!! But, then I took a break from the art stuff for a long time. Life took over , like it does, and it wasn’t paying the bills ( still no change ) .

I suppose, the internet started introducing me again to this wonderful genre, and a community I didn’t really know existed that had as much love for it as me.  I didn’t really know there was a horror art community until  Instagram appeared. The amount of great Dark Artists and independent genre authors and publishers out there , it blew my mind. My eyes became overloaded by all these different styles and idea and I knew I wanted to be involved. Comics had always been a big influence on me, popular culture art wise, and I could never manage to draw like Jim lee!!! I saw artists throw away the rule book, and make art the way they wanted too.

So I started again. Drawing skulls by the dozen. Filling sketchbooks and showing the results online to much praise. Taking some of those sketches and creating dark illustrations of things hiding in shadows, ancient evils and razor sharp teethed monsters. Splattering paint and ink around and staining my fingers and clothing and possibly even drinking the stuff when it inadvertently ended up in my cup of tea. Creating the art I wanted, not concerned if people liked it or not. The most amazing thing is the positivity I found in the horror community. Something that was totally unexpected. I always found the Social Media side a bit vacuous and just full of people shouting in the echo chamber. However, within horror and comics, I found people willing to share ideas, advice and help . People I have never met, but would willingly buy them a beer and call them a friend. I’m amazed folk take the time to even comment and each one is so appreciated it’s hard to explain. I love drawing this stuff, so the fact people actually want to even notice it is humbling. So, if you are one of those people, who have liked, commented or even purchased my work thank you from the very bottom of my very dark heart!!!

So, there you go. I could go on about my wonder of the horror community and why I fricken love it so much, but I’m pretty sure I’ll just bore you to death. Next time I’ll let you into the secrets of how I come up with ideas for these darkworks and what techniques I use. It involves a lot of black ink.

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you think. If you want to keep updated, click the little triangle with the plus sign below and please subscribe, it’s free! Plus you follow me on Twitter and mainly Instagram 

You can read my (incerdibly late) on going horror science fiction horror comic I created with good friend Silent Mark at dethmetalcomic.com