The horror genre is a fantastic playground for artist types. It’s world that has no rules, and if you do happen to stumble across a rule somewhere in the dark, it’s only there to be broken. It’s really the only genre that allows an actor, actress, writer or artist to fully explore the spectrum of the human experience in all its freaky glory. Does that sound a little high brow? Maybe. But then, horror is the Rodney Dangerfield of storytelling: it gets no respect, no respect at all.
That being said, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather focus my career. For the last two out of ten years as a professional illustrator, I’ve been working almost exclusively with horror. I can’t say it’s been the most profitable venture, as any colleague of mine will tell you, but it is certainly the most rewarding. Blood, guts, monsters, sexy women and dashing idiots always make for a new experience each time I put the brush to paper. Every so often, I get a commission request concerning the icons of horror, such as Freddy Krueger or The Tall Man. These are the ones that take the longest to complete, but they are so worth it. I’d rather create an image of Jason Voorhees stalking Crystal Lake than explore the world of abstracted expressions for a select circle of self-important critics. Where’s the fun in that?
I’m not a traditional artist. My work is a composite of pencils, inks, markers, acrylics, airbrush, watercolor and extensive digital painting. A few detractors of mine have called it a bastardization of the techniques, and I suppose they’re right. I’m nowhere near the painter that Nick Percival is, or the master of the airbrush that Drew Struzan is. So I do my own thing. Some illustrations, like the ones shown here, can take months to complete using this method. When you draw someone, creating a 2 dimensional representation you start to get inside the mind of the character or the actress/ actor which leads to a greater understanding. Sometimes it’s right on the photorealistic target, sometimes it misses. Either way, it makes an infinitely more compelling piece of art than what I could have done with just a brush alone. It’s all worth it when the art is viewed and you get feedback, people reacting with joy, disgust or flat out nausea…. I prefer all three at the same time.
I’m currently a producer and head of the art department for Redwing Entertainment with our first movie “Killer Biker Chicks” coming out next year. All the art for the promotion of the movie has been carefully drawn, hand painted, airbrushed and then given the Photoshop treatment to create what I hope will be something memorable. I’m also the writer/ creator of “Ginger-Stein,” a horror/comedy project due to be officially unveiled next year. Keep an eye out for upcoming movies “Trinity” and “Jessicka Rabid,” for which I’ve also done artwork. Everything is drawn, painted and ‘shopped, but it’s honest to God art. My hope is that people will start taking notice of artists who still put the pencil to paper, the brush in the paint and then use ‘shop as a special effect. We’re a dying breed, as anyone can go into ‘shop by itself and create a poster from stock photos. There are so many amazing old school artists working today who, like the genre we love so much, get no respect. Let’s change all that. Support horror artists and go shoot a zombie.
Horror Art: Dennis William