Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London - Dread Central
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Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London

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Graham Humphreys continues to cement his position as one of the top horror artists in the business with his stunning new poster for An American Werewolf in London. This piece was created as a private commission, and fans of John Landis’ 1981 classic are going to love it. You can view the final design of this incredible poster below.

Final design with text.

Graham also provided us with a detailed statement about the creation of the piece, along with a bunch of screen grabs taken throughout the process. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see how the final image looks before the text was added. In case you missed it earlier, you can also check out our extended interview with Graham here.

Exclusive Statement from Graham Humphreys
As a commercial artist and illustrator, there is only limited scope to make a job entirely your own – so with each project you are answering a brief in order to fulfill the needs of a client. Of course, the client may choose to give you free reign, though this is with the understanding that you are acknowledging their needs and thus expected to work within certain unspoken parameters. Mostly, these confines are defined by how a product is to be sold, licensing instructions and an understanding a market. With this in mind, the client is paying and thus nominally always right… though it would be unprofessional not to make them aware that other options might work better for them!

Without these commercial constraints, a private commission can remove the barriers because no market is to be met and there is only the artist and the private client to answer to. Creating a poster for a familiar and heavily licensed title is an entirely different prospect if it is not going to be generating money in the public domain and is thus essentially ‘fan art’. Unlike say, a T-shirt company ripping off someone elses art and charging money for the printed image, or perhaps a poster reproduced without permission by either the license owner or artist, then sold for profit.

Here, Dread Central have asked me to talk through one such commission, ‘An American Werewolf in London’, painted as a private commission for an individual that wishes to own a unique image that they themselves have made happen. NB: All likenesses and specific imagery (including the title and names etc) are subject to license and copyright and not for any use other than as examples of a work in progress (and of course, all rights are reserved!). Just need to make sure that it absolutely clear!

The client had commissioned two previous posters from me (as well as numerous poster designs from fellow artists), so a basic understanding of expectations had already been established.

My work begins by watching the film from beginning to end – to re-establish my own connection to the film (if one already exists). I saw ‘An American Werewolf in London’ (in London!) on it’s first run and the proximity to many of the locations (Tottenham Court Road tube station, Piccadilly Circus, being the obvious ones) made it instantly impressionable for me. Existing posters, in particular the official theatrical versions and various home-entertainment sleeves, focused on a limited image pool. My job was to find new ways of representing the film, free of the past baggage, but also to listen to my clients requirements.

Looking for a fresh perspective means avoiding the familiar stills that have defined the past marketing, this is achieved by making screen grabs from the DVD or blu-ray. As with most commercial jobs, I generally make a selection of about 40 images, then review these reducing the number to about 15 that have the best narrative potential, including a good visual range of actor expressions and reactions. My client required the Werewolf, London references, the moors, David and Jack, a full moon and the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ pub sign… then whatever else I chose to include.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Selected screen grabs.

Selected screen grabs 2.

My first idea involved a portrait of David looking lost and frightened (I felt this was essential to the story), the Werewolf with it’s head bursting through the cinema shutters/signage (the idea of breaking the fourth wall), the decomposing Jack (a perfect metaphor for David’ s own life falling apart), his nightmare of the home invasion (one of the most effective and horrific moments in the film, I felt), plus Brian Glover’s ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ local – a look that defines rednecks and racists the word over when confronted by ‘other’!). I also wanted to add the tube attack victim to open up the carnage. Although Jenny Agutter’s nurse added the romantic dimension for an audience that expects the convention, I wanted to concentrate on David’s story, so chose to only include her face as if she were painted on the shutters, ie. a film poster element.

I was surprised that the client didn’t want the home invasion creatures, nor the reference to the sleazy cinema hordings (which I thought made a good location gag – obviously not!), they also did not want the rotting Jack. It was disappointing to lose these great horror elements, especially as they’d particularly wanted ‘horror’! But a compromise was reached by including the transformation scene at the bottom, and reinstating the moors (which I’d thought unnecessary).

Fortunately, my second sketch was well received and the painting could commence.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Once I have my sketch approved I reintroduced the photographic source material over the sketched parts, so that my layout remains exactly as approved and so that I’ll have the best possible likenesses to trace onto the watercolour paper.

Early sketched elements.

I usually have a basic idea of what colours I’m going to use. In this instance I knew that I wanted a silvery blue moonlight to bathe the entire image, but also the contrast of the orange glow of artificial lighting, the pub and cinema foyer. I knew the big splash of red in the wolf’s jaw would jump out, becoming the focal point. This painting took about three days to complete, the sketch process (including the grabs) about a day upfront.

Composition design.

The final painting was scanned and all the text added in photoshop.

My client will now make a full size poster print, to be framed, from the file I send him. Next up, ‘The Thing’!

Final painting before text was added.

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AfterShock Comics Announces New Series Brothers Dracul

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We’ve mentioned AfterShock Comics a few times around these parts, and now they’re about to release a new series that has Dread Central’s name all over it! Read on for the first word on Brothers Dracul from Cullen Bunn (X-Men) with art by Mirko Colak (The Punisher), who previously teamed up for AfterShock’s Unholy Grail.

Bunn and Colak are joined by colorist Maria Santaolalla and letterer Simon Bowland. Cover A is by Colak and Santaolalla while Francesco Francavilla provided Cover B.  Issue #1 hits stores on April 11th.

Bunn describes a bit of what the book is about and discusses working with the same creative team as AfterShock’s Unholy Grail“I’m thrilled to be working on BROTHERS DRACUL, a 15th century horror tale that explores the ‘true’ history of the infamous Vlad the Impaler. With this book, we’ve brought the entire creative team of Unholy Grail along. I’m working with artist Mirko Colak, colorist Maria Santaolalla, and letterer Simon Bowland once again. We had so much fun telling a horror story with King Arthur as its central figure, we had to get the gang back together for this story, featuring one of the most shocking icons of horrific history!”

Synopsis:
From writer Cullen Bunn and artist Mirko Colak comes a tale of brothers and blood that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

The legend of Vlad the Impaler is the stuff of nightmares. The inspiration for the most iconic of monsters—Dracula, Vlad tortured and murdered thousands of victims. But what turned him into such a depraved killer? The truth lies in his teenage years, when Vlad and his brother, Radu, were held hostage by the Ottoman Empire. During this time the brothers learned many things—archery, riding, the art of combat, matters of court… and how to stalk and slay vampires.

Cover A

Cover B

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Fight Chainsaw-wielding Psychos in Retro FPS Dusk

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Strongly inspired by hardcore ’90s shooters such as Doom and Quake, the brutal retro-style FPS Dusk has now made its way onto Steam Early Access, with a full release promised to be coming within the next several months.

Dusk was created by indie developer David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive, with the soundtrack composed by Rise of the Triad’s Andrew Hulshult. You play as a treasure hunter who travels to the mysterious town of Dusk, Pennsylvania, where he is captured by the locals and hung on a meat hook. After barely escaping with your life, you’re forced to arm yourself with whatever you can you can get your hands on in an effort to fight your way through both the insane locals and the dark supernatural forces which have also settled in the town. So if you’ve ever entertained fantasies of wielding a double-barrel shotgun and going up against chainsaw-wielding psychos wearing potato sacks over their heads, your dreams are about to come true.

Dusk Official Synopsis
DUSK reintroduces you to a world where butchery and bloodshed must be mastered if you’re to survive ’til dawn. Inspired by Quake, Blood, Heretic, Hexen, Half-Life, Redneck Rampage and all your ’90s favorites, and featuring a soundtrack by metal music mastermind Andrew Hulshult.

In THREE distinct campaign episodes hand-crafted from straight outta the ’90s, players battle through an onslaught of mystical backwater cultists, possessed militants and even darker forces and attempt to discover just what lurks beneath the Earth. Featuring a vast arsenal of badass weaponry including saw blades, dual-wielded shotguns from 1887 and an incredibly necessary grenade launcher, DUSK is unapologetic retro action from start to finish.

In addition to the main campaign, DUSK features an Endless Survival Mode, putting you front and center of wave after wave of enemies. For those looking for an extra challenge, DUSK also offers the chance to go head to head online to battle your friends in arena multiplayer, where darkness hosts the worst of humanity in surprising new ways.

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Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role

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I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

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