The dark side of Mark Slater
Mark Slater's favourite monsters are zombies.
With a bachelor of fine arts from Nipissing University, and a teaching degree from the University of Glasgow, the 27-year-old artist is eking out a living sketching the undead.
"They can't be bargained with, they can't be reasoned with and there's always thousands of them," he ghoulishly laughs as he puts pencil to paper and starts sketching.
With fine, even strokes, he creates a ragged oval and before long, a face starts to form, albeit without a nose.
Brains poke out the top of the skull and now he's in his element, talking confidently as his hand scrapes across the page. He glances occasionally at his subject and shades in the gruesome details as he goes.
"Zombies are like comfort food for artists. You can relax because you're never going to make the person look any worse," he laughs.
He's thought long and hard about the subject, noting that other monsters, such as Frankenstein and vampires live in castles, werewolves live in the woods and to find mummies you have to visit a pyramid.
"Zombies come to you, they'll show right up at your door."
Working away on his sketch, he talks about the warm reception his two graphic comics have received at Fan Expo; a comics, horror, gaming, Anime, and sci-fi event held each year in Toronto.
His 'Dreadful' comics are filled with stark black and white images of horror and mayhem, and were apparently gobbled up by the fans at the expo for the past two years.
Currently studying graphic design at Georgian College, Slater hopes to use all his skills as an illustrator and designer to get a day-time job so he can continue to turn people into zombies in his free time.
Slater has offered three prizes for Barrie's upcoming Zombie Walk, Oct. 29 at Heritage Park. The walk features zombies of all shapes and sizes and each are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Elizabeth Fry Society's Grocery Assistance Program.
For more information about Slater, visitslatermark.blogspot.com. For information on the Barrie Zombie Walk, visit www.barriezombiewalk.com, or facebook.com/zombiewalkbarrie.
On Saturday, Slater will be signing copies of his latest comic book at Paradise Comics (3278 Yonge St. ) in Toronto from noon to 5 p.m.