Shambling corpses, moaning Biaen-sidhe; a mocking disembodied laugh, a rattling breath at your neck. The undead exist in nearly every culture in countless forms; even our modern culture is full of zombie apocalypses and contorted Japanese ghosts. An entire genre of video games, survival-horror, was built around the undead. So as a game artist, knowing how to draw the undead in a convincing manner, or at least present a recognizable creature of the undead, is almost a necessity.
For me, drawing the undead not only broadens the spectrum of my style, but it offers another benefit; accurately portraying a shambling corpse requires knowledge of anatomy. What better way to practice human and animal anatomy, than to draw a creature who’s anatomy is on display.
The Undead of course is a blanket-term for beings which have died, yet still function as though alive. This can be anything from ghosts, to zombies, liches to vampires and everything beyond and in between. This series will feature everything from inspiration, to my own concepts and illustrations, as well as tutorials and plenty of anatomical references. I expect this series to range far, so I will try to keep updating as frequently as possible. The first thing in “The Hordes of the Undead” will be a brief overview of human anatomy, focusing on the skeleton first, then the musculature and internal organs. I will then most likely move on to undead color theory, stages of decay, and types of undead. My own concepts, works in progress, plus references and inspiration will be featured throughout, which I will likely post as I am working on them.
Please note, due to the nature of some images, being very graphic, I don’t recommend this series for the faint of heart. Especially during the section where I will discuss decay, there will be quite a few disturbing images. Enter at your own risk.
So to start this off, I present to you the Wraith King. The concept of this creature is that of an animated corpse of a king, who ceaselessly patrols his barrow, defending it from would be grave robbers and wayward adventurers. He can make himself incorporeal to travel between the halls of his deathly kingdom. Carried in his hand is a censer filled with ancient resins which he burns to purify his halls, and to lull his enemies into an everlasting slumber; once asleep, his victims will slowly starve to death and decay where they fell, while those who do not slumber will be crushed by his mace, Malice.