A Symphony of Horror

on Thursday, June 26, 2008
Here's in advance my Halloween picture for this year :)
Well, not really, but I was in the mood to do a funny horror drawing. It's dedicated to a dear friend who's a big fan of horror movies & memorabilia (and B-movies in general).

horror cartoon illustration

The main inspiration for this drawing were wonderfully creepy animated cartoons from the early '30s, especially those by Fleischer and Van Beuren studios, mixed with the Mad Magazine stuff from the '50s (and maybe a dash of EC comics too). Also, I tried to achieve a very particular color palette, a warm and slightly ancient look typical of the Technicolor cartoons, or the old printed illustrations from the first half of 20th century. Haven't quite achieved it here, but I'm pleased with the final effect.
I made one big mistake with the composition by putting the woman's face too close to the middle of the picture, and it's something that should be avoided whenever possible. Fortunately, it doesn't make much harm because the rest of the picture is completely asymetrical.

Even since the early childhood, I enjoyed doing this kind of detailed and complex pictures that contain a large number of characters or objects. It's always a great challenge to make every character clearly visible, and at the same time to make picture well organized as a whole. It's mostly achieved by careful selection of overlapping and negative space areas.
Here are two good examples of this type of picture among my older posts:

Beauty and the Sea Beasts
The Birth of Venus

And the really old one (from 11 years ago):
The Brain Destroyer
I didn't knew back then about the concept of negative space... and it's too obvious. Still, it looks cool ;)


B-Movie Babe said...

Looks great so far! Can't wait to see it when it's finished!

Hammerson said...

Thanks, I knew you'd love this :)
Can't wait to see it finished, myself. I'm really pleased with this first half, but can't yet figure out the rest... I tried to finish it today, and discarded the result. Hope to finally do it next week.

Katie said...

Me too, I can't wait to see it done! Love your stuff (you know that already)!!! :)

craigp said...

amazing as always!
you're one of my favorite cartoonists.

i've been struggling with improving the quality of my pencil drawings but no matter how smooth and clean my drawings look they're always messy and sloppy when i scan them, do you have any advice? (scanner settings or drawing materials or anything?)

Gnarfdeath said...

nice work!! look foward to the finished piece..

Hammerson said...

Thanks!!! I know, and it's always nice and encouraging to hear it again :)
Your work is a constant source of inspiration to me, and it means a lot when you think so highly about my stuff.

Thank you! It's finished now, and somehow the whole picture is still functioning well. I put a great effort in composition of the picture, and there are still many things that bother me. It's an organized chaos, really :) But I'm pleased with the final result.

Thank you so much! What settings are you using for scanning? I'm often having the similar problem as you, and I guess the quality of the scanner also plays an important role. Anyway, I'm always scanning my pencil drawings as 300dpi Grayscale (or Color), and then make the adjustments with Levels function in Photoshop, trying to find the best balance between the line quality and line darkness.

Sean Worsham said...

Fantastica!!! You are a virtuoso designer and I think you deserve a trip to America to rip the artworld to shreds! You headed to Comic-Con this year?

Hammerson said...

Sean, thanks!! I love this picture, it was really tough to do (mostly because of several false starts and failed attempts), but the final result is pretty good.

I'd really love to visit Comic Con one day. Unfortunately, it can't happen this year :(