Our irregular look at artists throughout the universe of horror returns this time around with a gifted illustrator who has truly made the most of her prodigious talents, channeling them into the creation of all manner of chilling chotchkies. Nova Scotia's own Krystal Fancey Beck launched The Zombified in 2006, and uses the website to showcase, promote and merchandise the many kinds of items featuring her unique artwork. These items include anything from T-shirts and posters, to buttons and even comic books.
The Houston transplant was kind enough to speak to The Vault of Horror recently about her many endeavors...
You describe yourself as having been a "serial artist". Explain.
As an artist, I've experimented in a wide variety of artistic mediums--pencil, charcoal, paint (and again, gone through a variety of paint types: acrylic, oil, watercolor, etc.), and of course my main love, ink. Furthermore, I've ventured into photography, website & graphic design, sewing, writing, a bit of sculpture... pretty much everything! Hell, I even dance--though I still haven't got the guts to perform. Basically, if it's creative, I have, or have had, an interest.
What items were the first you created?
For The Zombified? Well, I started working on the Hallowhaus comic before I'd actually planned on doing art as a career, but I think the Halloween scene is the oldest design I have prints of available through The Zombified.
Which are you the most proud of?
I'm proud of myself for not giving up on the comic after a couple of pages! I'm easily distracted, and that thing's a lot of work. That aside, I'm usually most pround of whatever I've most recently completed, though I'm not sure if it's because I'm evolving as an artist, or if it's just because I've had less time to pick out all the flaws.
Why do you feel that drawing in ink is your favorite method?
I'm not sure, I just feel most comfortable with a pen in my hand. I like the contrast, the crispness of the lines. I'm not sure if I like that the permanence of it (you can't exactly erase ink that easily) leaves very little room for mistake or not.
Who are some of your inspirations?
I'm hesitant to use the word 'inspire', but there are artists whose work I adore, and perhaps inspires me to try to become more awesome at 'what it is that I do'. But the inspiration for 'what it is that I do' seems to come from somewhere else. I get most of my ideas when I'm supposed to be asleep, perhaps the secret is in the insomnia. I digress. Artists I admire include Gris Grimly, Chad Savage, Keith Thompson and Ben Templesmith.
How did you get into creating comics? Which artists inspire you as far as that medium?
As a kid I said I wanted to become a comic book artist, even though I didn't really have any ideas for a series or anything. Eventually, I decided that since I'd been saying that for ages, I should probably just go for it. I was never planning on showing it to anyone, it was just to sort of challenge myself and see if I could do it. I wasn't even planning on doing more than one issue.
I'm deeply inspired by anyone else who's doing their own thing, creating their comic from the ground up all by themselves, regardless if the quality or content is actually my 'thing'. As I mentioned, creating a comic is a hell of a lot of work, even if the artwork or story is fairly simple. In terms of my personal favorite comics, I'm particularly in love with Hellboy and, a bit more recently, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse.
Tell me a little about the genesis of the story for Hallowhaus.
I'm making it up as I go along, honestly. Which is another part of the reason there's a large gap between issues. I have a couple future projects in mind for after I've finished the Hallowhaus series, that might (hopefully) be a bit more planned out, but there's still the chance that I'll just grab a new idea and run with it again.
When and why did you first realize that this was something you could turn into a business?
I was close to finishing the first issue of the comic when I learned of the glories of print-on-demand (yes, I know. But I have complete control of my work and can slack off when I'm not actually feeling inspired). I figured what I'd created wasn't entirely awful, started working on a few separate original designs, and just went for it. It was terrifying, since I had (have) the typical artist modesty (insecurity), but it's also been immensely rewarding.
What are some of the most popular items on your site?
The mirrors seem to be most interesting to people, but it's the prints that sell the best. In terms of my designs, everyone loves the Mummy (which was actually one of the very first designs I did with The Zombified in mind), though at the moment my most 'favorited' one on DeviantArt is one of my newest, 'The Dead Will Dance'.
What does the future hold for The Zombified?
More art, more comics, more awesome conventions like Texas Frightmare Weekend and Comicpalooza. A lot of the more interesting plans are a secret until I actually unveil them.
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In addition to The Zombified and the aforementioned DeviantArt, Krystal's artwork can be found on MySpace, Flickr and LiveJournal, among other places.
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