Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Walking Dead The Animated Series: Merle Dixon

Hey kids, it's everyone's favorite borderline-psychotic racist redneck meth-head bayonet-handed zombie apocalypse survivor!

Merle's one of my favorite characters on The Walking Dead. Well, maybe after Daryl and Michonne. He's a miserable specimen of humanity, but that's what makes him so much fun to watch. He brings an element of danger and unpredictability to the human element of the show. 

Let's face it, the show's only as good as its villains, and as scary as zombies are, they really don't make very good bad guys. All they want to do is eat your brains; they can't scheme against you or plot your overthrow.

Merle's the perfect psycho villain. He's like a wild animal; you never know what he might do next. It doesn't hurt that he's played by Michael Rooker, who's a fine actor and is very good at playing assholes. 

I actually uttered a Vader-esque "Noooooooooo!" at the screen when Merle died. As I said, he made a terrific bad guy and I think the show will be poorer for his absence. Merle was more than just a one note villain; he had some actual substance. He willingly sacrificed himself to give his little brother a chance at defeating the Governor. A guy who does that can't be all bad. I'm gonna miss him.

I doubt if I'll draw any more Walking Dead characters, mainly because they're all just a bunch of normal people wearing dirty clothes. I drew Merle because I found him the most visually interesting, what with his cool bayonet hand and all. Maybe I might draw the Governor or Michonne some day. We'll see.

One thing I discovered while drawing Merle: his bayonet hand is much more complicated than I realized. I just assumed it was a simple metal tube, but once I looked up reference photos I saw that it's full of all kinds of straps, braces and bolts. I probably went a little overboard on the detail of it, especially for a cartoony figure such as this, but hey, that's what I do.

Merle was drawn all in InDesign. The scratchy background and the splatters were done in Photoshop and imported into InDesign.

Here's the original quick sketchbook doodle I did of Merle. I drew this from memory, as evidenced by the wobbly looking knife (rather than bayonet) sticking out of the middle of his stump cover. His basic facial features are all there though.

Here's the final digital sketch I did. I imported this into InDesign and then traced over it.

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