Here’s one for the serious artist. How to Draw Chiller Monsters, Werewolves, Vampires, and Zombies is a little bit art instruction and a little bit art history with a whole lot of classic monster art examples sprinkled in.
Author J. David Spurlock, who is highly respected in the field, gives the reader a bit of instruction in shapes, composition, hard-lining, and storyboards, as well as tips on shading, textures, and other techniques to create gruesome monsters of every variety. This is a quick and dirty class, really more of a refresher course than an introduction.
As with any form of art, when depicting the not-fully-human figure, it is important to know the inner subject and to be able to express personality in your work. Spurlock’s introductory history of each of these—the classic Frankenstein monster, the werewolf, the vampire, and the zombie—reminds the artist of what came before and how the familiar images have evolved.
In addition to Spurlock’s own instruction, he brings in ‘Spotlight Artists’ to share their tips. Basil Gogos takes the reader through the steps for creating one of his classic monster heads, explaining along the way how he works (“I regularly work from photo reference.”) and how he chooses the medium for each subject. David Hartman reveals that he loves “to draw twisted and deformed creatures and the atmosphere they inhabit.” Several of his zombie drawings are accompanied by his comments about how he chose details that give these works their unique look.
Fans of the genre, whether artists or not, will enjoy the artwork and behind-the-scenes tidbits by the likes of Frank Frazetta, Gene Colan, Jack Davis, Alex Harley, Kerry Gammill, and Bernie Wrightson. Jim Steranko’s Dracula storyboards are a delightful bonus.
The title is a bit misleading, however. It should be understood that this is not a book for beginning artists unless those beginners are devoted to the monster art genre and are prepared to master the basic skills of drawing in another venue. How to Draw Chiller Monsters, Werewolves, Vampires, and Zombies is, at the very least, aimed at those with intermediate skills. That said, the guidance and examples given in this book, along with the background provided by Spurlock and his guests, is excellent training for anyone who is dedicated to perfecting the art of the undead.