These illustrations were created with the contents of my April Art Snacks box. It has been a while since I completed a proper illustration of my zombie critters, as opposed to a doodle. I have drawn zombie bunnies in any number of compositions and colours but I think this is the first time I have drawn a tower or stack of zombie cats. I used the warm colours (two watercolour pencils and a water based marker) for the zombie cats and coloured the zombie bunnies in shades of blue using different dilutions of ink from the blue marker. The darkest blue right at the top of the illustration is the colour straight from the nib. These were fun to draw. I hope they are also fun to look at.
We had a busy Memorial weekend as the youngest Pict turned 10. Double digits is a milestone birthday in our family so it was a big deal. For his birthday celebrations, we took a day trip to the Poconos and ate lots of scrumptious food and delicious treats. I still cannot believe we no longer have a child in single digits. It really is a cliche but they truly do grow so quickly.
Anyway, the three day weekend meant that we had a good dollop of quality family time and also had time to just chill and relax. I, of course, used my solo free time for art and did some art journaling. This particular illustration was a response to an Art Journal Adventure prompt inspired by blueberries or the colour blue. Followers of my blogs will know that I am a tad obsessed with zombies so that is what I decided to draw. I actually recently drew a whole horde of blue zombie bunnies and my last submission to the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project was a series on zombies but those were mainly heads. It had been a while since I drew an entire zombie figure. I don’t really know where the pose came from except that I knew I wanted lots of sharp angles from bent limbs and hunched shoulders. Ultimately he ended up looking like he was on his haunches ready to spring into action which seems appropriately predatory.
This was the other art journal illustration I created at the coffee shop when I met up with my local art friends. Again, I was limited by whatever portable art materials I had in my travelling art kit, things that won’t make a mess or require a lot of drying time. I had not drawn zombie bunnies in quite some time so I thought it was time that they made a reappearance. I did the outlining with my trusty micron pens and filled in the colour with watercolour pencils. Although I am not a massive fan of watercolour pencils generally (because I am not very adept at using them) but they do come in handy for drawing on the go. I activated the pigment with my water pens. The process doesn’t replicate the look of actual watercolour but it does the job.
Having spent such little time at my art table this past month, I decided to participate in the challenge of using the materials from my December Art Snacks subscription box to create something. Between working in a preschool and doing festive stuff with my own kids, I have been up to my eyeballs in cutesy, whimsical, adorable winter arts and crafts. I, therefore, decided that I needed an antidote and looked to one of my default art subjects for inspiration: zombies.
The box included a pad of Grumbacher mixed media paper and its narrow format gave me the idea of drawing a zombie squeezing through a narrow shape. I had not used a Krink paint marker before so I watered its acrylic down and used it to fill in the entire illustration. The Bruynzeel coloured pencils added more shading and detail to the zombie and then I used the green Pentel Slicci gel pen to create a frame around the drawing. The box also included a Caran d’Ache gold marker but I will use that in other future projects. It just didn’t strike me as right for a zombie. I have missed drawing zombies. I need to draw more of them.
It is not unusual at this time of year, as Summer slowly starts to wend its way into Autumn, to start finding dead cicadas on the ground. Cicadas produce the sound of the summer – a modulating, thrumming buzz like the sound of hundreds of tiny maracas or drum kits. Finding their corpses, therefore, is a signal that summer is nearing its end.
What is unusual, however, is to find a zombie cicada. If anyone was going to find a zombie cicada, however, it was going to be me.
I was collecting in the washing from the line when I spotted a cicada hobbling across the patio. Guessing it was injured, I picked it up. I studied the cicada in my hand and noted that he was missing a leg. I assumed a bird must have tried to eat him. What a shame, I thought, to be missing a leg. My youngest son is also obsessed with cicadas and collects their shed skins so I knew he would be interested in seeing a cicada and especially one who, like our older cat, was missing a leg. But incredibly it was only once my kids were handling the cicada that I realised he was missing more than a leg. He was, in fact, missing his entire abdomen. This cicada was managing to hobble around and climb without having a body. It was the Undead!
As zombie fans, we were all excited to have found a zombie cicada. My kids wanted to keep him as a pet. They reasoned and argued that he stood no chance of surviving without our assistance. I pointed out that he stood no chance on surviving in a house with two cats either. They named him Worf because he liked to cling-on to them. Naming the cicada did their case no good. I refused to adopt the Undead cicada. We left him to go his merry way.
The next day, we found an actually fully dead cicada. My youngest son wanted to adopt that one too. He wanted to go full Frankenstein and see if we could revive it. Things were easier when he just collected their sloughed off skins.
For today’s Inktober drawing I got to scurry back to my subject comfort zone: zombies! The Drawlloween prompt was “Entombed Tuesday” which could have been interpreted several ways but, of course, as a massive fan of zombies there was only one way I was determined to interpret it. I realised, however, upon putting pen to paper, that it has been really quite some time since I last drew a human zombie. Most of my zombie drawings are of zombie animals so it was fun to draw an undead human again, crawling and clambering out of his grave. This quick drawing has reminded me how much I enjoy drawing zombies and how I should try to find more time to draw them.
Making split-pin puppets has always been a big hit with the kids but we don’t do it frequently enough. We tend to only make them when we have some sort of project on the go. For example, we once made a set of gladiators and a lion when we were learning about ancient Rome and we have made fairytale characters to act out little story plays. It may be because the split-pins (which I think are called paper fasteners here in the US) are tucked away in a stationery box in the study that I forget about them existing and, therefore, the creative possibilities for a rainy day. In any case, when we plucked the “split-pin puppet” slip from the random box of activities, the kids were very happy.
Since we are not working on a project with a specific theme, the boys had complete freedom to choose what character they were going to make. They selected some thick card to work on and I decided to experiment and use watercolour paper so that I could paint my puppet with watercolour. We each drew our characters onto our chosen card being sure to make the tops of the limbs chunky enough to be able to attach the limb to the torso. Then we cut out the individual pieces, coloured and decorated them, and then pushed the split-pins through in order to join all the pieces together in a way that enabled them all to articulate. We used a drawing pin to make the holes so as to avoid any tears and to be super precise with the positioning of the holes.
My 10 year old, an utter comic book nerd, made Wolverine; my oldest and youngest sons chose to make random characters from their own imaginations; my 9 year old made a bright red demon; and I made a zombie.
This week’s Colour Me Positive theme was Intuition. Listening to your thoughts and feelings, heeding that little voice in the back of your mind, that insistent bubble in the gut, and following your instincts is something I am pretty big on. Translating that visually onto a page, however, was going to be really tough. I thought about focusing in on the word “trust” but instead it was the word “gut” that kept pinging back into my mind. So I went with my gut and decided to make my art journal page revolve around guts.
I treated myself to a bunch of Dylusions paints and was eager to get stuck into playing with those. I thought their bold, vivid colours would lend themselves to my zombie illustrations. Normally I would default to my favourite zombie bunnies but I decided to totally ignore my gut instinct, rebel against it, and depict a zombie pig instead. I used embroidery floss to create the string of guts. Pleating that was a bit of a pain. I had flashbacks to trying to learn macrame when I was 8. I was initially planning to glue the guts down but decided to leave them floppy and loose and flexible. More gut-like. As per usual, my stencilling bites but in zombie art work that doesn’t really matter now, does it? I really like how thick these paints are and how richly vibrant the colours are. I think I am going to have a lot of fun experimenting with them.
The first of two Life Book lessons this week was taken by Donna Downey. The object of the lesson was to work in black and white. I often work with a limited palette including often just working in black and white. I decided, therefore, that I should apply a monochrome approach to a subject I have only ever tackled in colour before: zombie bunnies. Pretty much any excuse to draw my zombie bunnies, I will grab. I used India ink for this piece, diluting in order to create the different tones of grey. It is interesting to see how different the zombie bunnies look when not in vibrant colour. My oldest son declared that they looked creepier, more menacing. My 10 year old said it looked like they were auditioning for a Universal monster movie.
My 6 year old was home sick at the beginning of the week so he was arting alongside me. He decided to use watercolour to paint his own zombie characters, a zombie jungle scene apparently. I love the detail of the lion’s eyeball dangling out of the socket.
My sons all receive monthly or every-other-monthly geeky subscription crates. They love getting parcels in the post, love the surprise of the contents, and love to indulge in collecting geeky items. A few months ago, my oldest son received a blank vinyl “munny” figure in his Loot Crate. The idea of these blanks is that people can customise them. There are some absolutely fantastic creations out there. I know because I had not a clue about these things so I had to conduct a google. There are some most impressive, talented people out there. My oldest had a vague idea about what sort of design he wanted to create on the munny but was too intimidated by the thought of errors to make a start. He, therefore, “commissioned” me to do it for him. I have never worked with a vinyl surface before so that was a challenge. I read about all the possible media I could use to design the munny but most involved all sorts of primers and other things I don’t own in my stockpile of art materials. Good old Sharpies were a possibility though so my son and I decided that we would keep it simple and just work with those markers. The Sharpies worked like a charm but it was tricky working on such a contoured surface.
So here, without further preamble, is the result of my first ever creating on a vinyl figure. My sons love my zombie drawings with all their lines and doodles so that type of mark making and style was the brief. Initially we were going to work with a colour in addition to black but, once I had the black pen work done, we decided to keep it monochromatic. I am not convinced I will repeat this type of project any time soon but it was quite fun.