Creating the Zombie Diner

Zombie-Diner-by-Ian-Guy

I’ve resisted Zombies for far too long …

Scribbling away at trying to come up with a girl to feature in one of my paintings I was determined I didn’t want her to be obviously pretty and draped across a car, I mean, how often has that been done …

No, I wanted a character that left you asking questions.

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Doodling frantically I was conjuring up a backdrop in my head, and the scene was quickly becoming rather apocalyptic. My ideas heading towards a gloomy uninviting American Diner with broken buzzing neons and unwelcoming signage. I was sketching an “Eat Here” sign and whilst going back over the lettering with darker thicker lines I stopped at EAT HER … and thought “Zombies!”

To The Canvas …

Although it’s not necessarily noticeable straight away, which is how I want it, the whole composition is based around the large image of a skull.

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These early stages are always the trickiest ones where too much coffee is consumed and there’s a lot of sitting and staring …

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As progress unfolds there’s something not working for me as I try to fit everything around the large skull hidden in the Diner …

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At this stage I stop! … drink more coffee, stare and curse!

That skull just isn’t working where it is, it isn’t lining up with the car.    But I’ve put so much work into it already.   Yes, but it’s in the wrong place and also, those eyes are a little bit …. comical!    Ouch,  comical? Do I have to be so brutal and honest?!   Well okay, you carry on then if you don’t want to hear it, but you’ll be cursing all the way through to the end of this one if you don’t do something about it now

One more coffee and …

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… and I have to admit that the skull was never going to work where it was, and okay it didn’t look angry it looked … comical

So I scrub it out and paint over it moving the skull just a little to the left so the top jaw and cheekbone lines up with the C pillar and roof of the Cougar and whilst doing so I work on changing the mood of the expression from, what I thought was, angry to a little more sinister …

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Of course this is much easier said than done as I now have to re-work the Diner to suit. This entails subtle changes to the details, things like the corrugated iron, the layout of the windows, the doorway and the smoke coming out of the chimney. You’ll see I added another chimney …

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Ok, now we’re getting somewhere, things are lining up, falling into place and looking good. Another coffee I think, and then on with the details, like some neon signs and that area on the left where the light is coming through. It needs something, or someone, to just catch the eye …

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Sorry this photo is so out of focus ! Too much coffee and burning the midnight oil.

Coffee break …

Ian Guy's Studio

Painting a Portrait

So now I’m really getting into the details and focusing on the area that’s going to grab the most attention, the girl …

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I find the subject of pretty girls one of the hardest things to paint. One little misdirected brushstroke and all of a sudden no longer is she pretty. The face I’m painting here is no larger than my thumb nail …

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… just a little more close up work …

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… and I think she’s done …

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So it’s time for another coffee before taking a look at the canvas again as a whole.

The Final Run …

With the girl in place and the major details dealt with it’s time to work around the canvas adding and tweaking …

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I pull out skulls from the shadows and contours of the ground as they almost seem to present themselves to me. And I tweak the lights, not only on the Mercury but also the neon signs and the lights inside the diner. Adding highlights, shadows and details that complement the overall composition, including birds on the wires, I stand back from the canvas making sure the major skull is not lost within the picture and yet still not too obvious. Just a few more brushstrokes, a little more looking, maybe one more coffee, until …

Zombie-Diner-by-Ian-Guy

It’s finished!  Almost an anti-climax as I stand there with a loaded brush and nowhere to offload the paint. It’s done. I didn’t decide it was done, it kinda decided for me.

So there you have it, the ramblings of mind and coffee as another artwork is produced and another image is set free from my imaginings.

Prints are available, click the image for a link:
Zombie-Diner-by-Ian-Guy
Click here for a print

Author: Ian Guy

Ian Guy is among the foremost automotive artists in the UK with collectors of his art spread worldwide.

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