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David Naughton-Shires: Zombie Illustrator [Interview]

David Naughton-Shires isn’t your usual zombie artist; David is an active member of The Masonic Society, which has been a big influence in his designs. He also works with photography and writing, and he is a huge fan of Batman. Fans of Library of the Living Dead are most likely to recognize his undead artwork. His projects range from book covers to graphic novels, as well as comics. I was really excited about interviewing this illustrator from Ireland…

Q. Are you self-taught, or have you had any formal training?

I finished high school with a general qualification in art and then went onto college and studied graphic design, but this was well before computers were used on a general basis. So half and half really I got a great grounding in traditional art and then taught myself how to transfer that skill set into a digital world to a point for about 10 years I only drew about a couple of dozen traditional images, and the stuff I did on the computer really was only graphic design in nature (logs and the like) but now I make sure I do at one sketch a day.

Q. How did you get involved in the zombie community?

That was via a friend called Ben Rogers, Ben belong to a mutual group of like minded men and had seen my art. He had written a book called Faith and the Undead in which his main character were based on the medieval Knight Templar’s , he asked if I would create a Beausant logo for his characters this I did and he liked it so much he asked me to create a cover for his book. One thing leads to another and I found myself illustrating books and creating cover for several other people. I have always been a man to throw myself into a thing so here I am just under two years later which a huge circle of ‘zombie’ friends and have even started my own press to publish horror, sci-fi and fantasy books and comic books (with an emphasis on Zombie fiction).

Q. Do you feel that you have a specific style, or does it change from project to project?

I sometimes worry that I have a style as such but people always seem to recognize my art, I try to get it to match what the person who is paying for it wants (even if I don’t like it myself) but when I draw something just for fun yes a like it to be just ever so slightly sketchy even at the finished stage.

Q. Have any other artists influenced the imagery in your creations?

I am a big fan of lots of artists but when it comes to creating Zombies none do I have higher respect for than Nat Jones. He has an enviable talent. Other artists I love the work of work mainly in the area of comic books and I think have probably never draw more than a few zombies, one is Jim Lee who’s work on BATMAN: HUSH and continued work in the genre is amazing.

Q. What effect do you want to have on your viewers?

For them to like me :)

Seriously though, I want them to enjoy my images and designs as much as possible in whatever way they want, be that they get scared or have a laugh that is the fun thing with Zombies, for some they are a nightmare just waiting to happen but for others they present a comical aspect to horror, take The Evil Dead movies I just found them hilarious but other found them scary, and Zombieland was a totally parody of itself.

Q. How has the popularity of online social networking affected your work?

Wow…. put it this way I wouldn’t be answering these questions without Facebook, I am a huge fan of what social network sites can do you on a business level, that said it is very important to not just spam people all the time with ‘look how good I am at this’ posts you have to get a good balance, which I hope I have managed to do. Social networking enabled me to ‘meet’ lots of people, and even as recently as May I had a brilliant time creating a Zombie a Day for the Month of May (yup that’s a Zombie a day for 31days) which were posted on the Zombie & Toys Blog.

I have met a few authors via Facebook as well and have been lucky enough to work with them creating t-shirt designs for David Moody, and also creating a few illustration for his website…and a logo for Jonathan Mayberry’s Department of Military Sciences that features in his Joe Ledger series of novels, and I’m working closely with Eric S Brown on a project I’ll share about a little later.

I was also introduce to Robert Cordray via a zombie fan forum and together we created Grungebob Camo Pants the story of a kid who survives his parents in a Zombie Apocalypse.

Q. What do you have planned for 2011? Where can fans find out more about you?

2011 is a busy year so far my new business KnightWatch Press will be publishing several books, including anthologies (ex: Code Z is a Zombie anthology), novels (ex: Azrael: Burning Rain by Ben Rogers is set in a post zombie apocalypse world) and novellas (ex: Dement by Lyle Perez-Tinics is about one man against a Zombie hoard ) and of course a few comic books including a four part series called ZOMpokalypse.

Me personally? Well, I am currently working on a comic book with author Eric S Brown of Bigfoot War fame called Croatoan — a bigfoot tale set in 1588 on Roanoke Island (Google it)…there will be no Zombies but lots and lots of blood, and of course I will continue to draw lots and lots of Zombies :)

I have a few places people can ‘follow’ what I am doing and will list some links below, if you try to connect to my FB account make sure you say hi and let me know where ya came from I don’t want to ignore you ;)

The Image Designs at Facebook

Knight Watch Press at Facebook

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