“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.
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