We are going to be profiling a couple of different artists during October as part of our efforts to expand and show some love not only to authors and filmmalkers, but other artists as well! Our first artist is a hobbyist whose skills make me jealous. I can barely draw a decent stick figure, and she’s doing horror movie art!
About the Artist
Name: Debra Bennington
Where do you live? Well I was born here where I currently live, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK, but I haven’t always lived here, I’ve simply came back to it about about 12 years ago.
How long have you been creating art? About 6 or 7 years (but always doodled, scenic stuff really, a few became big pieces though).
What drew you to horror-themed art? My second born son asked me to put together my take on the movie ‘Psycho’, instead of my nature stuff. I had no internet then, and he gave me two squinty little pictures of the house, at weird angles, in the dark and rain to work from. It took me many attempts to even begin to be happy with the house enough to carry on with the entire picture. He wanted it for his movie figure & props etc room. My firstborn son then wanted in on the act and got me to do a cover pic of the 1985/6 comedy horror movie ‘House’, which also featured that same house as in ‘Psycho’. Things went from there and I got a liking for it.
Is your family supportive of your art? Yes, my family is very supportive of my art. Siblings and children alike. I have to add though, that I’ve been watching horror films since I was 5, was brought up on Frankensteins & Draculas. Brought my boys up to be the same, and they are true aficionados of film now, they see so much in them, know every tilt of a head, what’s in shop windows, cinemas, walls etc in films, and remember quotes and details effortlessly. My eldest has fond memories of going to the local video store with us and thinking, “One day I’m going to have all these myself”, and he has just about the biggest collection of 80’s VHS tapes going, along with all the film figures etc. I also add to their collections for Christmas and birthdays, and sometimes just a treat. They’ve been growing for several years now, and gotten quite vast, their poor wives are saints to them
Has your art ever garnered any negative comments because of the horror theme? Not really, it’s all been pretty positive, the odd misery thinking they’re clever, but very few and far between.
What’s your favorite scary movie? Why? ‘The Thing’ 1982, great plot, it made anything possible and they used it fully, fabulously acted too, I must have watched it close to 100 times now.
What is the worst horror movie you’ve ever seen? Why? The Purge, I found it utterly boring, the next one was better though.
Social Media: You can find me on Instagram as Debra Bennington
About the Art
How did you decide upon your chosen medium? I’m not confident with a movable tip (i.e. brush) as it may do things I didn’t intend. Also, not confident enough to go straight to ink as my initial lines are often re-worked, so my eraser is my friend, lol. Hence I like graphite pencils.
Do you see yourself branching out and trying more ways of creating art in the future? I’m already buying different utensils for the next venture after the one I working on. Like mechanical pencils, Prismacolour pencils, and different coloured pads such as tan or black to see what I can do. Also I want to try ‘hot pressed water colour paper’, velum and boards.
How long does it take you to create most pieces? This is my Achilles heel. I’m really not fast, and if I’m not in the mood I daren’t touch them because nothing will go right and I’ll mess them up irreparably, so in full swing, I do a few hours most evenings. Three months is an average, also because they are big, done to fit a regular size large picture frame, 16″x20″ (40×50 cms), and I do get bogged down in the details, it’s kinda my thing, lol.
Has anyone ever asked you to create a specific piece? Yes, a few people other than my family have asked me to do specifics. So far those people have welched when the time came and the work was complete (changed their minds etc) but as far as I’m aware the work was ok as others loved it. I subsequently sold them elsewhere. Then you get folk who want to ‘low-ball’ a price. They have a false impression I knock them out ’10 a penny’ and it takes nothing to do. I’ve never asked an unreasonable price though, I don’t like to, and many folk tell me they’re worth more. So I’ve sold just two of my horror pics to date, and I’m not terribly bothered about trying to sell them anymore, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t entertain it for a serious buyer that I thought I could trust.
What is the most difficult part of creating one of your pieces? The beginnings are the most difficult part: getting the basic framework in, then some important details that are really what it’s about. Once I’m happy with those I can generally settle in to it, and pick out finer details.
What is the piece that you are most proud of? it has to be my ‘Psycho’ pic, where it all started from, because that house was a nightmare to do, and I’m pretty proud of the moon in it.
Do you display your art at festivals, ‘Cons, etc? No, I’ve never displayed it. I checked out my local library to show it there, but they want more from me per month to display it than I’d ask for a picture itself, so if it didn’t sell, I’d be paying a substantial amount! Seemed a little skewed to me, lol, plus they wanted a percentage of the sale.
What made you choose the pieces to be featured in this post? For me, they were a triumph, and they’ve caused great reaction where I have shown them in some Facebook groups, for example, my ‘Exorcist’ one got 772 reactions in two days on a heavily busy group where things get swallowed up fast. By the way, the pics I’ve shown as my favourites are not photo-shopped at all, and the ‘Psycho’ one has caught some glare on the side of the house.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow horror artists? I’m just an amateur, more a hobbyist. If you like to do it, no matter how bad you think you are, keep going, your probably better than you think, that’s what I’ve seen a lot of. Other than that, I’ve seen outstanding art by some folk, I can’t pretend to tell them anything at all.
What project are you working on right now? Frankenstein’s monster as in Boris Karloff, my poor sister-in-law has been waiting so long for it, lol, bless her.
We would like to thank Debra for letting us feature her for our first Horror-themed Indie Artist Spotlight here on Sci-Fi & Scary.
What would you like to see Debra draw?