Monday, October 13, 2008

Sheila, the zombie cheerleader

I’ve finished my zombie cheerleader painting; my husband named her Sheila. I’m not completely happy with Sheila, but I learned a few things about what I like and don’t like about the process I was experimenting with. As requested, here are a few pictures of Sheila, the zombie cheerleader, with notes under each picture.


The original sketch: I did this sketch in pencil, then finished it with crayon. I like the cartoony, child-like quality of Sheila here, but she doesn’t look very zombie-ish.


The finished painting: Sheila looks much more like a zombie now, and I moved her leg over with the other one so it wouldn’t be hidden under the pompom. There are several things I would change about this painting, and if it hadn’t been an experiment in process, I probably would have scrapped the first image mid-way and re-painted to fix some issues. The one thing I do like, that doesn’t show up so well here, is the black lines in the background. There are 6 cheerleaders behind Sheila, along with swirls in the sky and lines and bugs in the grass.


The stage right before the finished painting: I actually like this better than the finished painting, even though I’m a big fan of the black outline. I think there’s a way to get this more painterly look, and still have some sort of outline. FYI, the first two images were scanned into my computer, but this one was a picture taken with my cell phone because it was still taped to the board so I could continue painting. The colors are the same as the final.

Next up: I’m painting a picture of the MC in the novel I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo. I’ll be using a slightly different painting process, starting with black outline over the sketch, then thin layers of acrylic wash (think varnishes or glazes), and finally deciding if I want to finish with a technique similar to the zombie painting, or if I want to keep it more layered and transparent.

p.s. It’s October 13, Only 18 more days until Halloween, when the zombies appear!

12 comments:

  1. I'm always fascinated by seeing illustrators' processes.

    But the best part is that the whole thing begins, "I’ve finished my zombie cheerleader painting."

    Because a zombie cheerleader painting is something everybody should try.

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  2. that is by far the best Zombie Cheerleader I've ever seen! from beginning to end! :0) Zombie Cheerleaders ROCK!

    Christy

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  3. I prefer zombie cheerleaders to their living counterparts:)

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  4. She's cute! I like all three stages, for different reasons. I always hate that I can't keep all the spontaneity of original sketches, but in the end the final product usually offers more.

    Will there be more zombies to come?

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  5. "Because a zombie cheerleader painting is something everybody should try."

    Exactly Jacqui! Even if it's not the best zombie cheerleader painting ever, at least you can say you painted one ;)

    Thanks Christy!

    Candace - ha! Me too!

    Thanks Adrienne! I think the final product usually offers more too, or at least I hope it does. I want to do more zombies. I have some zombie circus elephants sketched out, but I'm not sure when I'll get to them.

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  6. Thanks for showing the stages!
    Three cheers for Sheila the Zombie Cheerleader!

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  7. Thanks Kelly! Sheila says thanks for the cheers, too ;)

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  8. COOL! I love seeing the process illustrators go through.

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  9. Seeing the process you've gone through is fascinating! I think the finished product is hilarious and cute at the same time. Next time I get stuck on the zombie WIP, I'll have to drop in to your blog and look at the painting for inspiration.

    And you're right; the swirls and cheerleaders in the background ARE fabulous!

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  10. Thanks Rena!

    Carrie: Thanks! Good luck on the zombie WIP! If your zombies need cheering on, I could always send Sheila over to do some Rah-Rahing and get your zombies all fired up ;)

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  11. I never knew there was so many differnt stages to the process...I also liked the black outlined cheerleaders in the background...it made her more real somehow...great job!

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  12. Thanks Brenda! There can actually be even more stages, depending on style, process, and whether or not the zombies are staging a revolt and refusing to be painted.

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