Zombies on a double bass?

This post is about an ongoing commission I’m doing for a friend Tom who works as a furniture restorer in a workshop opposite our studio. He plays bass and double bass in a couple of bands, one of which Young Hegelians you should check out at http://www.facebook.com/younghegelians because I’ve actually been to see them and they’re really great. Anyhow he decided he’d like some art on his double bass and being a big zombie fan wanted the back decorating with Tony Moore characters from the front covers of some of the Walking Dead books by Robert Kirkman.

I was both excited and terrified by the the prospect, not to mention flattered that he thought I could actually make it work. He basically gave me free rein to decide which of the various zombies I wanted to use but he also really liked the idea of eventually covering the whole back and possibly the front too so I had to bear that in mind when planning the scale and position of the characters I wanted to use.

I wasn’t sure at all what materials to use but decided on Sharpie markers which I’ve never used before but would probably be best to get good contrast against the fairly light wood of the instrument.

I started off by making a template by tracing around the base so I had the exact size and shape to work with. Then I did rough sketches of three zombies I thought worked well within that shape. Once I was happy with these I taped 4 sheets of acetate together over the top of the sketches and traced the sketches through this with a Sharpie pen so I could transfer the characters onto the base itself.

The following pics show the sketches on acetate over the paper template of the double bass. I apologise for the quality of the photos as they were taken on my phone, but hopefully you can get the idea.

I used bluetack to attach the acetate to the bass in the correct position and used a fine ink marker underneath to copy the lines onto the wood. It was possible to wipe these lines off so the pressure was off a little during this stage which was a relief. Once this was complete I could start drawing the zombies properly with the Sharpie marker with the lines as a guide. Was actually really nervous before I started with the Sharpie but I quickly began to enjoy it because it was just doing what I love doing from then on. Started with the right hand side zombie then the left hand side.

These pics show the first zombie I did on the right hand side of the instrument. Again the picture quality isn’t great but …

These showed the addition of the second zombie …

I actually decided to totally scrap the original zombie I had planned for the middle part because it just didn’t look right somehow. Didn’t feel it would have enough impact as the central foremost figure so used the fine line again to draw a more suitable character freehand for this position instead. Very pleased I decided to do this one instead. Think it looks much better than the original choice.

These pics show the addition of the third zombie and the gradual development of the three characters together…

I used a variation of the cross hatch style I usually do for my pen and ink drawings but had to be a little less detailed as I would normally as the nib is a lot thicker and there was limited space. Wanted to try to keep the original graphic novel style but with a little of my own interpretation on it. These last pics show the completed zombies at this stage.

Really pleased with how they turned out and Tom is too thankfully. (At least he says he is) 😀

Now we have to decide how to go about the next stage …

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