Byron Rempel draws zombies… people, animals, insects…
I saw cats when I first saw Byron Rempel’s artwork. Cats and craziness. When actual cats continued to pop up in his work, it just made sense. Of cats, Byron says:
I can’t help drawing cats. I’ve had cats for as long as I remember, and they’ve all been awesome in their own unique ways. I get a lot of requests from people to draw their cats as zombie cats and its always fun.
This is from the introduction of the “Zombie Cats” section of his collection of inks and watercolor on cardboard (Waking Up is Hard to Do. circa 2009). The collection is called The Way of the Zombie, Volume One, and is just one of the projects by this incredibly prolific artist. Another project is simply called 1000 Zombies on IDrawZombies.com, and it’s exactly as it sounds. Using only traditional tools like watercolor and paper, Byron is in the process of producing 1000 zombie portraits, each with an accompanying story. This insane project can be followed at his Facebook Page.
I’m up to nearly 250 [zombie portraits] with about 20 in the queue – people can be part of the horde for a $25 donation.
Its a project where anyone can be a part of it, or they can fund anyone they want to be a zombie. There have been revenge zombifications, zombifications of cartoon characters, even the PM of Australia because someone hates him 😀It’s a project that the public gets to direct and goes in many different styles, from my standard ink and watercolor to oils, acrylics and soon “standing zombies.”
If you would like to be part of this horde of “1000 Zombies,” enter the CONTEST at the bottom of this article!
I had the great opportunity to speak with Byron about his unique artwork, and a whole bunch of other things, including how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign!
Byron: “It’s been crazy lately and now with my zomblets home for the summer its only going to get worse…”
I really do love your style. Congrats on your successful Kickstarter campaign. I’ve helped out on quite a few of these crowdfunding campaigns. As a business guy I think this approach to getting funding is very cool and innovative– I think it’s the future to getting creative stuff off the ground. It didn’t look easy though. Can you tell me a bit about what was involved– what you did to make it a success?
Thanks! I think Kickstarters and crowdfunding are great, but a heck of a lot of work. It has got me thinking about projects more instead of just individual commissions and such. From the start the whole thing was pretty much run by me but I have a great group of supporters that reposted, retweeted and reshared as much as they could.
The biggest thing for this Kickstarter was already having a huge body of work to pull from. When I started the Kickstarter I had already drawn or painted over 200 of the 1000 zombies I’m trying to create, so people knew I’m in this for the long haul and wont just take their money and not fulfill the perks. That being said I have a lot of zombie portraits to draw and I’m currently on a bit of an abstract slant. I should be swinging around to the portraits again very soon though. Feeling the urge to mess up peoples faces again.
It also really helped to advertise the campaign over the big 3 social networks. I have spent the last 2 years building a huge following on Google Plus and they’re a great bunch of supporters and fans. I didn’t know much about twitter or Facebook. I knew what they were but not how to use them … but you can’t expect to learn if you don’t try so I dived right in and started posting like crazy, friending people, following people, interacting when I could.
If you aren’t active on the social network site you aren’t seen.
Tell me how your art style evolved. Do you do this exclusively for a living?
To answer the second question first, yes. I draw and paint zombies to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. I also draw and paint other things but the zombies keep hogging the spot light.
My style on the other hand has evolved from me just doing what I enjoy doing. I struggled for a long time trying to be like other artists, to slow down, keep the lines clean, and do what the other artists were doing. The other artists being mainly comic artists. I really wanted to be a comic book artists for marvel back in my highschool days.
Eventually I started drawing zombies and it just clicked for my style. I gained confidence in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it … and I stopped caring what other people thought. I mean, I like it when others like it, but I tune out when the trolls come sniffing.
Never feed the trolls.
What are the tools you use to create your artwork?
Most of my art is created on watercolor paper using whatever is on hand. I prefer gel ink pens and watercolor paint, but I’ll use anything.
Have you thought of expanding beyond static images (like animation, movies, comics?)
I’m always thinking of things like that, but the bills need to be paid and the kids need food. As I get older and gain experience on what works and what doesn’t, I do find myself experimenting with small animations. I’ve got a lot of ideas for comics and have started dabbling in book covers. I have my art on an awesome coffee blend called ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE wake the dead espresso.
I’m always thinking about new things to try or ways to make a buck with art.
Why zombies, why dead things?
Why not? To be fair I don’t just do zombies … I draw pets, flowers, and damn near anything else … but they all seem to have a bit of that zombiesque flair to them.
Tell me about the eyes on your pics.
Those are the eyes of madness … total loss of sanity, but not insanity … beyond that. I like making the eyes look like that, it adds a certain frenetic chaos to the person, or insect, whatever the case may be.
Lastly, tell me about yourself.
Bah! I’m boring … just a Dad living in rural Canada drawing zombies in the middle of the bible belt. Not much else to tell.
I like whiskey and the color orange, I think celebrities are a waste of time and my TV is seldom on.
Check out Byron Rempel’s work at IDrawZombies.com
The 1000 zombies project is, as the name implies, an art project of 1000 zombies based on people, famous, fictional or otherwise, and possibly even a pet or two. But it’s also a little bit more than that. It’s an art project solely funded and guided by the public. By funding a zombie in the project you can receive a high-resolution scan of the original image.
BE PART OF THE HORDE! WIN a free portrait of yourself as a zombie in Byron Rempel’s amazing style! Leave a comment below and tell us HOW YOU GOT INFECTED. The winner will receive a High Resolution scan of the art piece and be included in the ‘1000 Zombies’ project!