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Army of Darkness Movie Poster

Army of darkness poster by Christopher "Wing" King

I give an old favourite Army of Darkness a comic book style treatment for this alternative movie poster.

Another movie poster illustration to start the week, and based on my personal favorite from the EVIL DEAD Trilogy, Army of Darkness. Starring Bruce Campbell on top form in a pitch-perfect horror/comedy, my poster illustration adds 1980’s inspired fantasy/adventure styling to an old-school comic book style.

As the slide show below shows, there was an original concept for this poster with a more romantic feel that I worked on for quite a while, even taking it to the inking stage a few times over, which ultimately failed to really capture what I wanted. The overall composition was a little dull and didn’t match my feelings about the spirit of the film, so I worked on a new draft taking strong influence from 1980’s fantasy posters by amazing artists such as Drew Struzan, and ended up with something that was beginning to work. My usual process of inking all the elements separately was used, but this time I’ve gone for a much more rendered look (mixing inks and pencils which I don’t usually do) as this felt appropriate and something I’ve wanted to try. Tonal values are put down in grayscale first and then worked over in colour (Photoshop) to finish. Hail to the King baby!

Update: Jan 22nd 2015

A recent email from a member of the team developing the new Ash vs The Evil Dead TV show has inspired me to re-look at this poster design (now over 3 years old!) and fix some of the problems that always bugged me. I appreciate this might be George Lucas syndrome, and maybe I should leave well alone; but while I was always happy with how I captured Bruce Campbell, the portrait of Embeth Davidz always troubled be. Knowing that the team behind the Evil Dead TV show (and even Sam Raimi himself) were checking out my poster was all the nudge I needed to give this one a second look.

I had to dial back my style to match the comic book, naive style I was using back then, and if I had to create the poster from scratch today I think it would look completely different, but I do think this new poster is 100% better. View the comparisons below and decide for yourself which one looks better.

Interestingly, you might be able to notice that Bruce was inked with traditional inks, brush and paper, while the Sheila character was digitally inked in Photoshop. While I didn’t at first think there would be much visible difference, I do believe that the digital inking has a much more sterile feel, confirming (to me anyway) that hand inking is the way forward for my personal work. It’s also much more fun too.