A Grimacing Zombie How-to!




About: Indie comic artist, Writer of things, Product manager of Awesomeoutof10.com. Follow me on the twitter thing @Maddoxmisery I've been in and out of the industry of comics for the past 15 years. As of late I'...

Hello there fellow mutants of the interwebs!

My name is Rob and despite what you see in the picture of me working I'm actually quite jovial. Never mind that. I work on weird indie comics and various other things no ones heard of as of yet. I lean more toward horror things these days so I figured with Halloween coming up (and a pretty cool contest) I figured I'd show you my method of drawing zombies. 

There really is no wrong way to do this so please have fun with it. Go random. Follow your fancy. 

Step 1:

Starting off I'm using the trial version of Sketchbook Pro 6. They really did a good job getting out of the way and streamlining so I can draw with impunity. First step is to get the right canvas size going. This can be anything really. Then start laying out the basic shapes.

Step 2:

With basic shapes I tend to scribble with no solid plan. Feeling out where I want to place things. This phase is important since it lays out the final product even if you have zero clue what the subject is going to be. Planning makes the difference between a good project and a not so good project. Background elements should be planned in advance so you know how the creature will interact with the environment. I didn't really do that. Which is kind of a no no. Since the zombie isn't interacting with the backdrop at all I moved on.

Step 3:

This is where I really start fleshing the zombie out. When drawing a zombies head you should start with a basic head and figure where the skull would be. Zombies then to be a bit dried out and the skin gathers close to the skull. Think skinny, limited musculature do denote atrophy. Not so much that they aren't threatening but enough to give the impression of decay.

Step 4:

At this stage start a new layer. I can't stress this enough. On the new layer continue penciling a more refined version of the zombie. I tend to make the brow more defined and lose the nose. The eyes and other details are starting to come together. This point is where you might consider adding clothing or other bits. If you are unsure about outfitting the zombie. Make a new layer and lay it out over the body and flesh it out that way. I opted for a shirtless zombie.

Step 5:

At this stage I made a new layer to lay out more refined details. I always start at the face. The eyes will tend to go toward the face so if you're going to sell the scary zombie look go all out on this. Why I gave him a grimace I really don't know. 

Step 6:

Now we start on the basic shading. I do this with a series if lines in different gray tones. This brings out the idea that its decayed flesh. Makes it dirty looking like he just dragged himself from a graveyard. 

Step 7:

Now I start doing the same with the body. I opted to not go with advanced decay. I'll be doing a tutorial on that at a later date. Being a tad less kid friendly and all. 

Step 8:

Now that you have the body set up I decided to add in some kind of basic background element. I scribbled, yes scribbled out a basic tree just so it wasn't so boring. This I suggest planning out beforehand and do it on a separate layer just in case you want to tweak it. If you do this at a later stage you'd have to make sure it doesn't interfere with the subject. Separate layers will save you a lot of frustration if you have to edit it. 

Step 9:

Now that i have the tree in I went and darkened in parts to give it some volume. 

Step 10:

Then once you have things worked out edit as needed. I wanted the background to be smoothed out so I used the new brushes in Sketchbook Pro 6 that blend really well. I also used the Copic marker brushes to drop in more shadows. Finally going in and detailing the eyes to give them that gummy dead look.

Step 11:

And here is the final result. There really is no wrong way to draw a zombie. Have fun with this and go where your muse takes you. With practice you'll be making even better creatures. Good luck. Hopefully I was informative enough. This being my first tutorial on this site.



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    8 Discussions

    John Induna AD

    6 years ago on Step 11

    ouch my arm, hey welcome to intructables. Nice drawing, I liked the sketchyness to your drawing. Keep putting this stuff out there.

    2 replies

    If you are taking request...I would like to see "your best stuff".
    I like this community but I haven't figured out what makes a good drawing tutorial for this site.

    MadDogMaddoxJohn Induna AD

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 9

    This is my most pure default style. Never feels complete enough for me so things tend to get over shadowed. I try to not ink things these days to bring that style back.

    John Induna ADMadDogMaddox

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 9

    I understand. I struggle to keep a traditional feel to my digital art and yet tend to use the all the digital brushes that get the job done with economy in mind. It is a balance I find and I suspect it has more to do with ones ability to draw than the medium.

    This looks great! It would be awesome, too, if you put a picture of the finished zombie first so people could see right away what you are going to show them :)

    1 reply

    I'm going to do that. I'm a little put off looking at my mug first. They wanted it for a contest, so hopefully it'll still be valid if I add the finished work up front.