Drawing the Walking Dead – Zombie Halloween Special

November 2, 2019 0 By Bernardo Ryan


Since we’re in the middle of an anatomy course,
I think it makes sense to do a Halloween special that’s somehow related to Anatomy. So in this
episode I’ll draw a zombie to show you how you can use the information from my Anatomy
course to design your own creatures. Make sure to watch till the end for the giveaway! I’ll start with my Skelly App to figure out
the pose I want. You can also draw some quick gestural poses on paper, but since it’s so
much quicker and easier to do it with the Skelly app, it just makes sense to start here.
I messed around with a few different options, but ultimately I decided on this pose. Ok, let’s start with a lay-in of the skeleton.
Using the loomis method I’ll construct the position of the head. The head is rotated
up and to the right, so I want to make sure all these angles are in the right perspective. I’ll continue down the body making measurements
for the placement and shape of the clavicles, rib cage, pelvis, arms and legs. If you want
to make any changes to the proportions, or exaggerate the gesture, that’s perfectly fine.
You don’t have to stick to the proportions of Skelly. Skelly is an average male, so feel
free to play around with the proportions to make them represent your character better.
I’m not changing too much in my drawing, but I’m also not worried about getting it perfect.
As long as the pose looks good I’m happy. I definitely want to change the fingers to
be more interesting and creepy. Let’s fix the perspective on this pelvis. So, I’m happy with the general pose, but I
want to open his jaw. Zombies usually have their mouth open since they’re always ready
to eat. Zombies just eat things. That’s all they do. So, the mouth is pretty important
in this drawing. I’ve opened it way past normal limits and made it crooked as if one side
is dislocated. At this point I’m using my imagination more
and sometimes referring back to the Skelly App reference to help me keep things in perspective.
I’m designing the features and also the light and shadow patterns on the features. I’ve
decided that the light source is coming from the top right, so I’m imagining the 3d forms
and adding shadows on the planes facing away from the light. Give him some messy hair. Or what’s left of
it… I’m guessing hair would fall out as this guy decays. Adding some more details
to the face. Moving down to the neck muscles. Tracking
the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles as they flow from the head to the torso. I’m
gonna make this guy really lean. He’s been decaying for a long time and all his fat has
been used up. So the clavicles are gonna be exposed. In fact I think I’ll take off his
right deltoid and just expose the bones in that shoulder. The great thing about drawing zombies is you
have a lot of room to play. You can choose which muscles to put in and which to rip off.
If an area looks cool as just bone, then you can just leave that area as bone. You can
also choose to put skin in some areas and leave it off in other areas. Totally up to
you. Think about the gesture and composition of your drawing as you make these decisions. On his left arm I’m going to draw all the
muscles. No exposed bones. This is where knowledge of anatomy pays off. If you have the bones
drawn in, and If you know where the muscles attach on the bones… Well, then it’s just
a matter of putting them in and designing them to look interesting. When drawing fingers, I just think of them
as a series of cylinders. That helps me get the perspective right. Making the nails really
long to add some extra creepiness. For the ribs, I’ll start with the dark negative
shape between the ribs and then clean up the contours. Starting with a rough negative shape
helps me get the placement correct. I know that the pec ends at the 5th rib, so there
will be 5 more visible ribs and 2 floating ribs hidden in the back, for a total of 12! As I put in the skin on the abdomen I’m thinking
mainly about the gesture. The flow from the torso to the legs is an S curve, so I’m designing
the rhythms in here to work with that gesture. As I’m figuring out where the shadows go,
I’m not just trying to be accurate. I’m also trying to design interesting shapes. Thinking
about the light and dark pattern I’m creating. It’s not random. It’s intentional. The dark
shape of the lat helps to frame the light shape of the pec and ribs. Some dark holes in the abdomen will help to
keep the eye flowing through here and strengthen the gesture. Continuing to refine some details. Designing
the anatomy and always relating them to the parts I’ve already established. Everything
has to work together as one picture. A big mistake I see people do is fragment their
compositions. They focus on all the individual parts, but not how they work together. If
there’s a part in the drawing that breaks the gesture or takes away attention from the
focal point, take it out! Play it down. Make it less contrasty and less detailed and let
the other parts of the drawing stand out. For example that right arm ripping off is
interesting, but I don’t want it to jump out too much. I prefer to emphasize the pecs and
ribs. So, I darkened the arm to lower the contrast and now in the pecs I’m adding a
lot of small shadow shapes as the muscle fibers. A lot of contrast and small details will bring
the viewer’s eye here. Alright, now I’m actually gonna put some pants
on this guy. He’s lost so much weight that his pants are falling off his waist. I think
it’d be cool to have the belt looping over the greater trochanter of his right leg and
swinging across. Now, drapery is a whole nother beast. Basically, you gotta think about where
the tension points are. In this case the two main areas of tension are the greater trochanter
and his left knee. So, I’m designing the folds to stretch between those two points. I think it’ll be weird if the torso has a
bunch of muscles and then the legs are just bone. This guy would be too top heavy. So,
I’ll add some of the adductors of the leg. Let’s get some shading in there. Again considering
the light and dark pattern of the overall composition. I’ve already established the
logic of the folds, now I have to figure out the shadow shapes on the 3d forms. This whole back leg is gonna be in shadow,
so I’ll knock it back and keep it as a simple dark shape. And we need to connect him to the ground by
adding a cast shadow. Remember the light is coming from the top right, so the shadows
are gonna cast down and slightly to
the left. Cleaning up some things in the torso… And
let’s attack this arm. It’s pretty much the only thing left. As I’m shading this deltoid
I’m thinking of a basic sphere. They’re both rounded forms, so the shadows will be very
similar. Very thin, lean muscles on the rest of this
arm. Alright, on to the hard part. Everyone has
a hard time with hands. Try to create a simple shadow pattern. Don’t over complicate it.
Here I’m making the top planes of the fingers light and the front planes shadow. If you’re
having trouble inventing it, take a photo of your own hand and borrow information from
it. It’s perfectly fine to use reference. That’s how you learn how things should look.
And you don’t have to create everything from imagination. The goal is to create a good
drawing. If you need to use some photos to help, then do it! That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this demonstration.
If you want to polish up your anatomy skills go to proko.com/anatomy and check out my lessons.
And if you want to download the Skelly app for your iphone or Android to use in your
own drawings, go to proko.com/skellyapp. Giveaway! If you want to win a framed print of this
drawing, subscribe to the proko newsletter at proko.com/subscribe. I’ll be choosing 5
winners from my list of newsletter subscribers. If you’re already getting email updates, sit
back and relax, you’re automatically entered into the giveaway. I’ll choose 5 winners on
November 2nd.