In my advanced fig­ure draw­ing class this past semes­ter, we did a short project were we had to sculpt a bust with clay---some­thing I’ve nev­er done before. We were giv­en two class peri­ods to do the project. In the first class, I put togeth­er a basic head that I was pret­ty hap­py with, but I didn’t want to keep work­ing on it. I want­ed to go fur­ther, I want­ed some­thing with more expres­sion, more detail and real­ism, basi­cal­ly---some­thing more excit­ing. So on day 2 I start­ed this zom­bie head. I chopped off the nose and dis­tort­ed the expres­sion to show intense rage. I exag­ger­at­ed and styl­ized cer­tain fea­tures such as the eyes and eye­brows, and added cuts and tex­tures to show wounds and rot­ting flesh.

I decid­ed to con­tin­ue to work on the head for my final project for fig­ure draw­ing as well. So after the head was dry, I spent sev­er­al weeks refin­ing what I had, shav­ing off much of the low­er half of the face and elab­o­rat­ing on tex­ture and details. When it got to a point I was hap­py with, I cov­ered it in ges­so and start­ed to paint it with acrylics, ink, pas­tels, and gloss. I used a make-up sponge to apply the paint to get more of a skin tex­ture and to avoid leav­ing brush strokes.

When the head was com­plete I decid­ed to make three large paint­ings to accom­pa­ny it. I chose three dif­fer­ent posi­tions that would allow me to exag­ger­ate the fea­tures and expres­sion of the zom­bie even fur­ther. I used every­thing in the paint­ings from ink and olive oil, to water­col­ors, gloss, and pas­tels. This vari­ety of media allowed me to cap­ture the grotesque grunge qual­i­ty that I had paint­ed on the head.

The final prod­uct of both the paint­ings and the head are shown in the gallery above along with about a dozen process pic­tures, show­ing the head’s trans­for­ma­tion from start to fin­ish.

Fun Facts

  • I named this zom­bie Christi­na, ‘Tina’ for short.
  • Tina is a male. He has a short tem­per.
  • The pow­er in my house went out while I was work­ing on the paint­ings, so I did a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the work via the light from my iPhone.. BUT, it real­ly helped with the whole ‘apoc­a­lypse’ idea of the project.
  • The con­cept for Tina was based on the zom­bie in the dig­i­tal paint­ing below that I did a cou­ple years ago.