Monday, November 22, 2010

A New Beginning...

That's the thing with horror, isn't it? It NEVER DIES! Besides, you can't kill what's already dead.

I'm slowly cranking Too Many Zombies back up.

What I'm going to be doing for a while is indulging some little zombie whims. First up, zombies inspired by Tinchy Stryder's Game Over video. From there, well, I have a few ideas! But, if you have any requests, by all means let me know.

That first series, I really did for myself. And some enjoyed them, which is fantastic. From here, I'd love more people to see these. So if you could let zombie fans know that Too Many Zombies is back up and running with some brand new members of the zombie horder and an archive of over 300 zombies already here, I'd really appreciate it. Spread the word!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE END

And so it ends.

375 little beings, plus 5 special ones. Over a year of little zombies, little lives and little stories.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog and those who happen to come across it from here on. As for what now... I don't know. But this series is finished, all good things and all that...

Hope you enjoyed them!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Whoops...

I only noticed today that the last batch of about ten or so zombies have been posting with some weird scaling on them that made them look a bit rubbish on some browsers or resolutions. Turns out it was because I had switched to Google Chrome from Internet Explorer - the two browsers upload the images differently.

Fixed now though.

I'm at #360 now but I won't be finishing in five days. The last individual to be featured will likely be #375 as I have a few more to get out of my system. Hope you enjoy the last fifteen days!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Coming to the end...



Just a little over a month left on Too Many Zombies. Eleven months of zombies so far, one every day. I've had a lot of visitors and I appreciate each and every one.


Those of you who come here more regularly will know that I sometimes have little stories going, grouping the undead into a short series or sequence. Well, there's a biggie on right now that began with #321. This is one I have wanted to get to ever since I did my hospital series (back before I had even hit 100) - when the hospital is overrun, what happens in the emergency clinics?


I think you're going to like a few of the zombies that come out of that idea.


From there, there are a few I've wanted to get done before the end (I have missed one end of the emergency services, for example) and then I plan on a big finish. If you're around internet land, follow them each day to get the full story. If you only check every now and again, just bear in mind that they sort of read backwards if you start from the top of a page down!


Hope you enjoy the last month or so of Too Many Zombies!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Never Sleep Again

I have been reading quite a bit about Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. Johnny over at Freddy In Space had great things to say about it and he's clearly a fan of the series. And it came with a poster signed by Heather Langenkamp so how could I resist?

I couldn't.

Of course. You probably had figured that out. Like it was a rhetorical question or something.

Never Sleep Again is a four-hour documentary on the Nightmare On Elm Street series. Yes, four hours. When was the last time you saw a four-hour documentary on a romantic comedy series? See, there is a lot to say about horror movies and a lot of people with a serious amount of passion for them, not least those making them.

In that four hours, the documentary covers eight films - from the original through Freddy's Dead, then New Nightmare and, finally, Freddy vs Jason. Almost everyone involved in those movies is interviewed, with some big name exceptions like Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette and Lawrence (or Larry as he was called then) Fishburne. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think Fishburne even got a mention and yet they were all talking about how great Arquette was... I wonder why..?

While four hours may seem ridiculous, when split between that many movies, I couldn't help finding myself wishing for more. For example, the make-up change that came with Elm Street 5 is mentioned in a throwaway comment but I would love to have heard more about that. And I'm sure there was much, much more to say about the original film. Some things seemed missed entirely, like Fishburne...

Nevertheless, it was great to see all the movies get covered. Aside from pre-release articles in the likes of Fangoria, there was never a huge amount said about some of those later films. Certainly very few insights from the people involved. And there was loads to talk about. It was especially fun hearing everyones take on Elm Street 2, the gayest horror film ever made (I'm sure it's not - I think there is a gay horror sub-genre out there but, in terms of mainstream horror, Freddy's Revenge takes the very gay cake).

Loads of insights and stories from those movies and what's great about the documentary is that I really felt I got to know some of those people. Englund himself, of course, but others too, like Renny Harlin for example or Wes Craven himself. It was especially interesting getting Craven's view on individual sequels.

And as if four hours wasn't enough, a second DVD includes loads more interviews from the same people covering even more topics. Including their thoughts on the recent remake.

If there is one area I felt it fell down a little it's in plain honesty. So they can all laugh about Freddy's Revenge and Wes Craven doesn't hold back (nor does some guy with a beard - not sure who he was), but when I hear cast and crew talking about how cool the 3D in Freddy's Dead was (it wasn't) or how great the cameos were (they weren't), I begin to question their honesty. Freddy's Dead was one of the worst films ever made as a result of some of those things people are telling me were cool. And the director, Rachel Talalay, was so involved in production of the other films (let's be honest, not all of them great), that it seems people were reluctant to come straight out and explain why that movie was as shit as it was.

And, when it comes to any movie, documentary or not, we're looking for drama. I certainly wanted the dirt dished on the shit films. Who thought what was a great idea and who knew they were working on something ridiculously shit? That honesty would have added so much more to the documentary.

As it is, it's a love letter to the Elm Street series for better or worse. Mostly for better. Certainly loads here for any Elm Street fan and a worthy tribute to a (sometimes) great series.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who has featured Too Many Zombies...

I meant to do this a long time ago. It's a quick rundown of where I've seen my little zombies featured. If you spotted them somewhere else, please let me know!


One of the first zombie-related sites to catch my zombies on was A World On Fire, an excellent zombie blog. They say -

"It is a cute little site. If you are in the need of an undead pick-me-up, give it a lookover"


Another great (and very prolific) zombie blog to feature my horde was Brains Brains Brains. They said -
" WOW what a wicked site!"



One of the best horror blogs out there, Freddy In Space, featured Too Many Zombies as part of their 31 Days 31 Links series. The brothers behind the excellent Dead Meat novel project submitted it and said -

"Using the styles he knows, he brings us some great fucking artwork. His use of color and blending is fantastic and fits the style perfectly."

Thanks Chris and Patrick! That reminds me, I wanted to do an illustration for Deat Meat - I'll get to that.


One of the best drawing and illustration sites, Drawn!, featured Too Many Zombies right when I first started. They didn't say much about it but to get featured on a site that highlights actual artists and amazing talent was pretty special.



Just iPhone Art also featured one of my zombies. They said -

"Who knew they could be so lovably cute?!"


Lastly, my favourite of the bunch. Rue Morgue magazine is, as any horror fan would know, the absolute best horror magazine out there. To get featured as part of their Roadkill section in issue 96 is a really big deal for me. Thanks Rue Morgue!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The background

And now a little follow-up on how I do my backgrounds.
The backgrounds in my little zombie blog really only serve to provide some colour for the characters. Some of them are very simple, just dirty blobs of colour. On some, I go for more detail but, in those cases, I find it really increases the time it takes to do them.

And, mostly, the getting the backgrounds done is simply a case of doing them rather than specific methods. But here are the basics.


First, I have my finished character. Now it's possible you might think that I should plan out the character and background together. I probably should. But I don't. It's really the character that's important for me.
From here, I do exactly what I do when drawing the character -


1) The sketch.


In a layer, usually underneath the character, I'll sketch in grey roughly what I'm looking for. Like this -


Just the basics.

Then...


2) Basic colour.

In a layer under that one, I fill it with colour. That's in the MORE options in the layer screen. You just select your colour, go into the layer screen and hit MORE over on the right hand side. So I have now got a flat colour with the sketch and character over the top (haven't got a pic of that).

Then I go straight for my speckled brush -




This time, I do go for one as transparent as that. Usually, I like to keep the colours fairly basic. So, with this, I have the main background and then the eggs. The eggs will be a different colour, so I do those separately. First, I get the basic colour down.

Using the colour select tool, I select my background colour and then, by going a bit darker or a bit lighter, or moving off the colour a little, I just build up the colour in the background stroke by stroke. Because I'm using a very transparent brush, it takes quite a few strokes but the benefit is that it all blends fairly nicely that way. Almost cloudy, like this -




3) The details.

Then it's just a case of finishing it off. I use the same brush, only less transparent and a little smaller, and I paint on the bits that are a different colour. In this case, it's really just the eggs. But you can see below that I'll also strengthen the contrasts a little with a few more brush strokes as I go along.


Using that same brush, I go a little finer and a little finer, drawing on the details. I always go for the basic shading first so I can cheat a little - if I have the shading done, I can draw the details with a slight transparency and they'll come out looking shaded too. It's not always the best way but it's certainly the quickest.

And then it's pretty much done.

What I'll want with some of the more detailed ones is to actually fade the background out a little, so the character stands out over any details. That's easy to do. All I do is select the main predominant colour of the background. I get the largest brush possible (still using that speckled one), set it very transparent so it barely shows when I paint with it, and I go over large areas of the image. Then I'll do it again, but only paint the areas a little closer to the character. Then again, even closer.

Doing that a few times just fades the background out a little.

And then I have a finished Easter Bunny zombie -


And that's it.
If I've left anything out or you want me to cover something else, feel free to ask.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How I draw my zombies - the Easter Bunny

A few people have asked in various places about what methods I use when doodling these little zombies so I thought I'd show a bit on how I do them, using the Easter Bunny zombie as an example. They're not exactly fancy, as you'd have seen already, and the methods I use evolved with one primary goal in mind - speed. I'm doing one a day and (as surprising as it may sound) I have a day job, life, etc. so I need to make sure I can meet my zombie quota without too much trouble.


My tools are: one iPod Touch, one copy of the Layers App.

Every one of them is drawn on the iPod with my finger. Of course, anyone with an iPhone can also use the Layers App. The Brushes App is also pretty great but I went with the Brushes App because of the slightly scratchy look I can get from some of the brush choices in that one. It suits the whole zombie thing.


And here's how I do them -



1) The sketch.

Using a transparent grey, I just sketch out what I'm looking for on a layer. I do this very roughly. I'm really only looking for a general guide. Like this -

As crappy as that.


2) The line.

Then, I make a layer above that and draw the outline. I tend to do the main lines with a very thick brush because I like how they look when shown quite small. They could go much smaller, like making an avatar out of them or something, and still be pretty clear.

The brush I use for the outline is this one:





I usually use a very dark brown. Not as harsh as black but does the same job. At the beginning, I varied the line colour a lot but it led to a real inconsistency in the look.



So I draw the line -

That actually looks pretty close to black there. The big thing I have to remember here is to do it on another layer. The amount of times I've done it on the same layer as the grey is ridiculous. So different layer, like this -




3) The basic colour.


At this point, I delete that rough sketch and put a new transparent layer under my line layer for my colour. Using just a basic round brush, I get the main flat colours.

Then I add the most basic of shading. I keep it basic for speed and clarity. Usually, whatever way they are facing is bright, their back end is dark. Like this -

From there, everything else is just about getting the detail and texture.




4) The detail.

I move on to a different brush at this point. The speckled round brush. I find that gives me the best texture, almost dirty, like fingerprints.



With this brush (not as transparent as in that pic above) I use the colour select tool to select the areas of shading and then shift the colour a little darker, blending the changes in tone. I deliberately keep this a little rough, or else I'd lose the texture that brush gives. By adding little darker or lighter dots in places, it gives that slightly dead or sick look. And I add the details - blood, etc.

Really, this is just finishing it off. I usually stick fairly closely to the shading I did in the previous stage. And I end up with a character like this -



And there he is. My little Easter Bunny. The process doesn't really change no matter who I am doing and is always pretty quick. They don't stand up to close scrutiny but, at the size I post them and with the nature of the characters, the rough look works.


There isn't a huge amount to say about how I do the backgrounds but I'll do another post covering that end soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Survival Of The Dead

George Romero, the father of modern zombie movies (some call him the grandfather but that has me asking who the father is and I can't think of an answer other than Romero himself), hasn't always lived up to the promise of his early zombie movies. How could he? Night was so different and fresh. Dawn too. Day is one of my favourite movies. Not everyone feels the same.

Many many years passed. And Romero's more recent output has been the subject of some debate. And much disappointment. Personally, I found Diary an embarrasment. Given what Romero has contributed to movies and horror, that's not an easy thing to say.

So Survival didn't exactly have much to live up to. Did I want to see one of my favourite film makers spiral even further down? And the trailers and clips, full of poor CG-composited shots, didn't fill me with hope. Well, the movie was released on Blu-Ray last weekend. The cover instantly drew me in. It's a classic horror painting that could have come from the 70s or 80s (a little like the image above). A good start and I couldn't resist buying it and giving it a watch.

Those poor shots in the trailers? They look just as bad in the movie itself.

But Romero is back.

Survival Of The Dead features Alan Van Sprang as a soldier with questionable morals, Athena Karkanis as a solider with questionable timing and Kenneth Welsh as an old Irish island-dweller with a questionable accent.

In an odd move, the absolute worst shots of the movie were in those trailers. What's around them, however, is a far more interesting movie. In tone, it felt classic. Only a laptop, the internet and an iPod Touch betray the year of origin. Those elements aside, this could have come just after Dawn. The setting is so different and yet there is something very similar in the tone.

In every one of his zombie movies, Romero attempts to make it about the people. The survivors. Getting this right is what made Dawn so absolutely special. Getting it wrong, well, that's complete failure. Watching Survival, I found myself invested in the characters. I wanted things to go well for them. I knew things would get worse and worse and I found myself rooting for them. The film is full of tense moments - not zombie scares, but moments where I simply wanted things to go well for the characters.

This movie made me care about the characters. Especially O'Flynn, which was a surprise - his godawful Oirish accent made him seem like a joke in the trailers but, in the context of the movie, I really got to like him. I cared about him. And that's where this movie really succeeded.

There's humour here too. Some nice character moments but, more than that, Romero milks the humour from the zombies themselves just as he did in Dawn. And, like Dawn, it's a humour tainted with sadness. It's nihilistic humour and this is something Romero understands and very few other people making zombie movies seem to get - especially anyone falling into the trap of thinking that making them run makes them scarier.

In Survival, Romero explores the human aspects of these dead even further. In most zombie movies, people get a kick out of the killing, and audiences get a kick out of watching. They're almost like seeing guilt-free slaughter. But it's not guilt-free. The zombies are all someones family. A mother, daughter, brother. That's something often touched on in zombie movies, but it's quickly discarded for some more carnage. It's not discarded here. Romero explores this, acknowledges that these are all people.

They're dead. All messed up.

But they're people.

That's actually something I was trying to get with my little zombie-a-day project so it's great to see Romero really explore that idea.

Of course, there are plenty of zombie moments and kills but you've seen most of the zombie 'gags' in the trailers and they aren't always successful. Certainly the poor CG-compositing kills many shots. He should really have steered clear of that completely and gone practical. The zombie moments aren't the strength of this movie. But they also aren't what the movie is about.

The pacing isn't always great. There was a point around 2/3 into the movie where I found myself drifting off. But it had me back by the end. And one character had me thinking about other things every time she opened her mouth. Not sure why but she was just dull.

Overall, though, this movie had me. It hooked me in in a way no Romero movie has done since Day. And it felt classic.

It took me by surprise and I really enjoyed it. Nice to be able to say great things about a new movie from the father of zombie movies.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Horror Blogger Alliance

Too Many Zombies has joined the Horror Blogger Alliance. It's a horror blogger community I learned of through Freddy In Space that was set up last month and already has a crazy amount of members.

The site has a list down the side of members and I've already found several fantastic blogs I simply wouldn't have known about otherwise. That's the thing about blogs I guess - there are several billion of them (probably) and actually finding the good ones isn't easy. The Horror Blogger Alliance doesn't vet the blogs who join (hence why Too Many Zombies managed to get in there) but what it does have is a collective interest in horror and enthusiasm.

I'm glad to have joined up and, if you stumble across this post, go over there and have a browse and you just might find some treats.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Over 200 zombies, over 50 followers


Over 200 zombies and still going. Man, I hope I've got another 165 zombies in me. I think I do. In a zombie apocalypse situation, there are going to be so many stories, so many different types of people.

One thing that occurred to me when I hit 200 was that I have very few hints that there have been active survivors, only victims. I did have one guy hiding out in a forest, Woodward, and have now brought in his brother with Woody Woodward. If you click on the family name tags, you'll sometimes see that I have connections and families that you may not have noticed before.

There will be more hints towards survivors. Though, really, they're going to get you in the end, aren't they?

That's how it works.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Almost half way there...


I must be around half way through this undead journey now. Am I really going to be able to deliver the same again? I hope so but, some days, they don't come easy. But, when I need inspiration, I can always fall back on the classics.

So that's exactly where I'm going next - the good ol' undead rising from the graves trick. I'll see where that takes me.

Actually, if anyone's curious, when doodling these zombies, I find more often than not, for inspiration, I'm humming the score to Day Of The Dead.