What makes good zombie art – Part 2

What makes good zombie art – Part 2

“Artistry of the Dead” is brought to you by Michael (a.k.a. Blackfireink) Michael is a very high quality print designer, plus a good friend and huge supporter of Zombie Theology. Follow him on twitter (@blackfireink), check out his website, his Zazzle store, and his Facebook page.


Welcome back, dear readers. As promised in the last installment, I’ll examine actual zombie artwork and give you a sort of guide line as to what I, as the reviewer, feel is good and bad art. The key to this is just how real does it look. How plausible can it be for this creature of the dead to move about, look real and still look horrifying. Many artists will take their art to extremes, over doing the effects. But it’s not always needed, as you’ll see as time goes one in these articles.

I want to start first by saying that the views put forth in this column are those of my own and do not reflect those of Zombie Theology in any way. As I stated in the first part of this article, art is subjective to the viewer and thus, it can be either good or bad.

With that in mind, let’s look at three different types of artistic zombie work, starting from the best to the worst.

To the left, you see a very well done piece of concept art created by a Disney artist for the film “Pirates Of The Caribbean 4: Stranger Tides. This image is very well done, and doesn’t rely on gory details to get the point across to the viewer that it’s one of the undead. It also harkens back to the original legends of voodoo zombies, which was a nice touch on Disney‘s part, avoiding the modern type zombie; which is to say, they‘re reason to exist is due to a curse and not to simply eat the flesh of the living. The slightly greenish skin is tight about the skull and neck, showing decomposition without showing any bloody insides. The teeth are yellowed, the blank eyes are sunken back into the skull, and the hair is unclean and stringy. This is a great zombie art piece that shows a lot of love and care in its detail.

Next is a piece created by House Of Zombie. It is very creepy because it is so close to the viewer that it looks as it’s in your face. The work is almost abstract in nature but does a nice job of depicting a female zombie. The blood spattering takes away from the realism of the piece, but not much. The two striking things about this piece is the eye and the teeth. Notice that eye is fogged over with a small amount of reflective light coming from the right. This tells me that this poor creature is only recently dead. Moisture still appears on the eye. The teeth are bared but not decayed. Her lower lip is either missing or dropping down from her jaw, showing the gum line of her lower teeth. Again… detail is important! Notice the drying skin. She’s only been dead perhaps a day, but the skin is not completely taunt against her skin. The darkness around her eye is make-up that she had on before she died and her hair, though long and stringy, looks as if it’s been washed recently. Judging from the image, it’s possible she was in the shower when attacked! Who knows. But the image was done well enough to gain my respect for the artist.

Now we come to the third image. This one is just bad art. It’s created by Mubaroque. Okay, I’ll be fair with Mubaroque and agree that this is a cute zombie image. Cute is about all I can say for it. Zombies are not suppose to be cute! Drawings of zombies should not be comical, cheerful, or even cute! This work looks like an inexperienced 8th grader drew it as well. Now I understand that it’s meant to be humorous, but this style of art leaves me colder than the feel of a dead man’s hand on my shoulder. Sorry… but this just does not cut it.

Now that I’ve pretty much gave this piece a good thrashing, I will say that for a cute zombie, it would fit nicely in some children’s book or sappy romantic greeting card that a Goth guy could give his Goth girlfriend. Also, Mubaroque does really great artistic work in other venues. I especially like the self portrait which shows he can do better and I hope he eventually creates a truly scary zombie image someday.

Before I finish this weeks column, I want to tell you that I’m working on getting an interview with one of the more famous zombie artists on the net. I don’t want to say who it is, because it may fall through, but I’m sure you’ve heard of him. His work is always gory and bloody, but interesting enough to warrent my attention. So come back when you know there’s a new installment of Artistry of the Dead and see who it is that I’m reviewing or interviewing.

Until then, Praise God and pass the ammo!

Here are the links to the sites I took the images from.
House of Zombie: http://www.houseofzombie.com/category/zombie-art/original-houseofzombie-art
Mubaroque at Deviant Art: http://mubaroque.deviantart.com/


We’re looking for zombie artists to review. To submit images, please email it to: zombietheology@gmail.com with the subject line: ART OF THE DEAD SUBMISSION and it will be directed to me. Please send only 2 images for review. You will be contacted if we use your submissions.

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  1. meh – who’s to decide whats art and whats not – who’s to say that his zombie looks better than her zombie, or vice versa. If everyone drew/painted the same style of zombies how boring would that be. The world needs simple zombies as much as it needs the ‘so damn hard core you’ll shit your pants’ zombies just to keep things interesting.

    Nice of you to share your opinion though.

    • Byron

      Thanks for the comment, and I tend to agree with you on this. Michael I’d love to know the rationale behind the “the more realistic the better the art” theory.

      BTW Byron, I checked out your site and really loved your drawings! I think my kids would love the zombie Big Bird!


      • Thanks Dan, glad you dig ‘em!

  2. To avoid stepping on toes, let’s first remember that I said at the beginning that it’s all subjective to the viewer. I have no problem with zombie art that is overboard in gore. Nor do I have a problem with non-gore zombie art or even cartoon-ish or comic book style art.

    What I find problems with are pieces that show a zombie in an unrealistic manner. The type of art doesn’t matter as long as it’s plausibly possible for the creature to function. I have my own tastes of what I feel is good art vs. bad art. It does and will play a part in reviewing art by people willing to submit pieces. The last artist mentioned in the above piece does great work in other things, but I felt his efforts to do his zombie art the way it was done was sloppy and did not do justice to the viewers who view it, unless they like cute art like what he has provided.

    When I say that “the more realistic an image is, the better,” I mean just that. You wouldn’t go to see a film that had crappy make-up for your zombies actors to wear would you? It takes away from the believability of the film. This is also true of art. When I look at zombie art, and it doesn‘t matter how it‘s done, I want to feel like it is as real as it can be. I want to feel like the creature(s) in the image could reach out and grab me, take a bite of me! I look for things that pop out at me.

    These are, of course, my own feelings on art. I’ve never been a big fan of abstracts or impressionist pieces. Will this keep me from reviewing art that I don’t like? No. As I said in my introduction column, I will fairly review any art piece that comes across my desk top.

    I understand that not everyone is going to agree with me. It’s not my intention to anger or cause someone’s blood pressure to rise simply because I happen to dislike a piece of art. But I do intend to be honest about a review. Wouldn’t you rather have an honest opinion instead of someone who is just going to suck up to you? I don’t play favorites and I don’t believe anyone would want me to.

    In time, I hope to see more pieces submitted. I’d love to interview each artist who does submit their art. So far, no one has. I extend my offer to you, Byron. Why not send us a couple pieces of your work and I’ll be glad to interview for a column.

    I hope I’ve answered your questions, my friends.

    • Michael

      Thanks for sharing more about your perspective. Still not sure I agree with you, but that is perfectly fine! Appreciate your involvement on the site and look forward to more Artistry of the Dead!


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