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PROLIFIC ‘ZOMBIE ARTIST’ BYRON REMPEL

PROLIFIC ‘ZOMBIE ARTIST’ BYRON REMPEL

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!

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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.

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.

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Zombie Breaking In: This image is what really cemented my career as a zombie artist.

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?)

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I began drawing zombies about 5 years ago as an exercise to draw daily. Right from the start I realized that drawing zombies fit my particular style of art and I was hooked. I drew zombies often, and my passion for art was rekindled, even if it was a little macabre.

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

What is 1000 ZOMBIES?

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.

CONTEST!

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!

12 comments

  1. Hassani adam mtundy

    Working dead move

  2. I was at home when it happened. The power had been out for almost three days now. I had my girlfriend, her brother, her sister and her kid, and her parents. They were the only ones left. I couldn’t save my parents because they were already turned when we went to go save them. I almost got bit then and there. I didn’t see my oldest brother because he was out of sight within the barn. When I went to go investigate he caught me off guard. I shot him in the head. On the way back to my girlfriend’s parents house, we saw other survivors – a guy and two women. That was my mistake. I picked them up. Little did I know that one of the women was bitten prior to picking them up. They failed to tell me for fear I wouldn’t stop. As we got back to my girlfriend’s parents’ house we pulled up into their driveway. There were a few straggler zombies in the next yard and down the alley way of the block. I recognized a few of the zombies being neighbors we knew and have talked to before. I barked at everyone to get into the house. As my girlfriend started leading them into the house, the woman who was previously bit fell to the ground. She started shaking like she was in a convulsive fit. My girlfriend went to go to her and I yelled for her to stop. I was mean to her and pushed her away from the woman. I yelled again for them to get into the house and started shoving them towards the porch door. They went inside and the guy we picked up stayed with me. The woman was completely changed now, laying there. I was looking at her and glancing back towards the door to make sure my girlfriend locked it behind her. As the woman started to rise up, I pointed my gun towards her head and fired. The bullet went right through her head and the guy started screaming at me. I could only hear muffled noises though. My ears were ringing from firing off the gun and where we were standing it was kind of an enclosed space. I heard screams from inside the house. My girlfriend and her family were running outside now. My girlfriend told me the other woman turned and attacked her sister. I shot the man in the head that was with them. As he fell to the ground, I could see that only my girlfriend’s parents and her nephew were still alive. No one was bitten or injured. Zombies were coming around the corner now onto the driveway. They were coming from the back and the front of the house. There was no way that we would get out alive unless I did something. I screamed at them to get into the car. After they did I made all of the noise I possibly could and directed all attention from the zombies onto me. I fired my gun twelve times and hit every mark. I cleared an effective path for my girlfriend and her family to get out. As they drove away, more zombies were coming around the sides of the garage and the alley way. There were too many of them. I grabbed a shovel and hit a few of them in the head. As I ran towards the garage to get inside, I failed to notice one was already in there. I kicked it back into the garage, and slammed the door with both of us in there. The only problem was that my girlfriend’s father never fixed the door and it couldn’t be locked. As a surge of zombies pushed the door in, the one on the floor was now up and moving towards me. I was trapped. As they sunk their teeth into my flesh, first in the neck and multiple bites on my shoulders and legs, they ripped my insides out. I could see them eating my intestines and most of my flesh before I died. the last thought that went through my mind was the hope that my girlfriend and her family made it out alive. My hope was that they would find a safe place to go and not meet their demise.

  3. ColonelCareBear

    I slipped and fell into a bucket… butt first. Couldn’t get up from there and was mince meat shortly

  4. I was working another long shift. I decided to go home and relax by watching George Romero s Dawn of the dead. Lied down on the couch with my popcorn and called for my kittens to come. …no answer or response. Hmmm…I go too investigate. I go into the back bedroom that I hadn’t gone into when I got home. . Just so tired. I can hear grunting. .. moaning. …I turn in the lights….. blood everywhere and three zombies sit amidst the gore of what was my cats Kibbles and Bits (I know lol)…..I go too turn and rub and slip on a bloodied toy mouse. … and they came in for the kill. …I now walk disemboweled and bloody in search of fresh flesh.

  5. I was walking my dog one night after work. I decided to cut through the park and save a few minutes. As we were passing the play equipment i thought i heard a shuffling sound. It was as if someone was walking with boots on that were too heavy. The dog raised his hackles and began to growl and bare his teeth. I decided to pick up my pace at this point. I came around a stand of trees and infront of me there was a crowd of people. Im not sure how many, however it was an even mix of adults and children. My dog began to whine and growl, obviously he was shaken up. Before i could react the dog pulled loose from my hand and took off the opposite direction, mans best friend my ass. Irritated, i began walking towards the small group to find out what the hell was going on. I had made it only a couple if steps when one of the children came running at me and grabbed my arm before sinking its teeth into me. I yelled out in pain and began struggling. As i struggled i failed to notice i had been surrounded by the rest of the group. They began grabbing and biting me all over. I was slowly dragged to the ground, weak from blood loss and pain. I felt myself beggining to fade and my vision filled with the face of a rather rough looking zombie. Hanging from its mouth was a small piece of leather. Hanging from the piece of leather was a little metal tag that had the word “Gizmo” on it. A tear rolled down my cheek and my last thought was “mans best friend”

  6. I was on stage when the virus broke out in the concert Hall. As the zombies started swarming the stage I jumped into the crowd surfing along until getting bitten, trying to save the remaining band members and my friends by giving them a head start, brief though it may have been. My last sight of them was through the door as it slammed shut just before the mob got to it.

  7. We had been looking forward to the zombie charge 5k for months. Our costumes were perfect and the weather was too. Third race was off without a hitch and runners were heading my way. I was ready to grab flags and scare as many as I could. Out of the trees a fellow zombie came. Staying in character we grunted our hellos and proceeded to go after the runners. After the runners went by I tried making conversation with my new friend. He did not respond except to bare his teeth and lunge for my throat.

  8. They got me on the crapper.

  9. Rochelle Nailor

    I knew the end would come soon, I knew that after the change I would no longer be who I was. After all the work and struggle, trying to keep us safe, I lost her… I never saw them coming. I use to laugh and imagine that they could never sneak up on me, but you do eventually get use to the smell. Now I sit, alone in this little car, waiting for the fever to take me. Looking at my hand I know it should hurt, two fingers ripped off and a huge bite out of my palm, it should hurt… I’m going to sleep now maybe it will hurt in the morning….

  10. Shannan Whetstone

    I am a wife and mother of two but also in a wheelchair. My family and I sealed ourselves in our home but a horde came through and some got in. I sacrificed myself so my family could get away.

  11. I was fishing in the Ohio river when we were attacked by a swarm of Zombie flying asian carp. My friends all made it to the safety of the truck however, my faithful beagle Frodo and I didn’t run quite fast enough. We were covered in the nasty, slimy, swarming scum and it didn’t take long for the both of us to succumb to their bites. Hours later we both awoke, no pulse, no respiration, no body temp! We now wander the Ohio River valley in search of warm, pulsing flesh on which to dine. Drop by some time and we’ll have you for a meal.

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