18 artists changing the face of horror

11. Aeron Alfrey (opens in new tab)

Baba Yaga is multi-layered in its creepiness
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"I enjoy the mystery that a disturbing or frightening image can evoke. I also like the power that a frightening artwork can hold over a viewer," explains Aeron Alfrey.

"I enjoy pushing and pulling lights and darks by moving textural elements across countless layers.

Madhouse Cover combines different textures
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"I'm obsessed with surface textures, and I'll construct an artwork from a wide variety of textures that I sculpt into anything from a face to a landscape.

"But I'm also fascinated with the world of monsters that is often found in horrific imagery. Scenes of hell from the likes of Hieronymus Bosch, Cornelis Saftleven, Bruegel to Jacques Callot. I enjoy losing myself in landscapes of fantastical beasts."

12. Steve McGinnis (opens in new tab)

Vincent Price is an all-too familiar face to horror junkies, featuring in fright flicks for decades from hero to villain
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Steve McGinnis started drawing at an early age. "My aunt, who's a huge horror fan, used to babysit me and we'd watch all the '70s Hammer films, Jaws, The Universal Monsters, and pretty much anything that would keep me up all night," he reveals.

Michael Myers' white-out Captain Kirk mask provided a fearsome face for the Halloween films, yet Steve has managed to make him a little more terrifying in this ghostly image
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"It started reflecting in my art at a young age. I have some art I did at six featuring Grover vs Jaws. From then on, I was a horror fan. I grew up in the perfect time for horror; I was a kid in the 70s watching Hammer films and in the '80s watching slashers and so on.

"I draw just about everything but when I get to sit down and draw a horror character I really put everything I have into it. I guess you'd say it's my passion."

13. Rovina Cai (opens in new tab)

Rovina Cai says that her image of Dorian Gray was "the perfect opportunity to use animation to create something unexpected"
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Artist Rovina Cai says: "I like the idea of creating something beautiful with just a bit of danger lurking around the edges. It's a challenge to get the right balance between dark and beautiful elements, but when it works, it creates something unexpected that makes the audience want to look closer."

Frankenstein's Monster: Cai depicts the monster as a sympathetic character, to make the grotesque beautiful
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"I created these images for the Month of Fear challenge. The first is an illustration of Dorian Gray – it was the perfect opportunity to use animation to create something unexpected.

"The second is an illustration of Frankenstein's Monster – I wanted to depict the monster as a sympathetic character, to make the grotesque beautiful."

14. Dave Kendall (opens in new tab)

In Houses of the Holy for the Madefire app, Kendall's expert use of colour provides a ghastly backdrop that would make even the more ordinary image appear ghastly
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"From a very early age, I've been drawn to the gothic and macabre," explains illustrator Dave Kendall. "It started with exposure to the old Universal monster films and carried on with literary forms. Early exposure to Stoker's Dracula and the world of Stephen King cemented that."

Kendall has provided his gothic imagery to capture 2000AD's Dark Judges in Dreams of Deadworld – a match well made
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"That love has carried over into many on my projects. Foremost among them was Houses of the Holy for the Madefire app, and illustrating The Dark Judges for 2000AD's Dreams of Deadworld."

15. Kim Myatt (opens in new tab)

Myatt uses a minimal palette to create her haunting art, leaving plenty of darkness to allow the viewers own imagination to fill in the blanks
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Artist Kim Myatt says: "Horror is a fascinating subject for me. I like to go beyond the shocking and grisly blood 'n' guts and get into that more subtle terror. The unsettling feeling that follows you home at night.

"Nothing is scarier than what is already in the viewer's mind, and creating truly haunting pieces is a delicate dance of what to show and what not to show.

Creating these images helps Myatt understand her own fears
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"Horror is personal, and nothing pleases me more than to hear someone have a genuine reaction to my work. It's like I've tapped into a part of their psyche they keep secret. Something unknown.

"On my own personal note, creating these images helps me understand my own fears and understanding is a method of control. Once you lance a boil it doesn't hurt anymore. That's why I paint what I paint."

16. Martin McKenna (opens in new tab)

The Old Dark House: Drawn from a still from The Old Dark House (1932) when McKenna was about 15 years old
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For Martin McKenna, the appeal of horror is simple. "Drawing these things would be a way of prolonging my sojourns in the shadowy realms of my favourite genre books and movies; to revel in, and attempt to recreate, some of their atmosphere. I like spooky stuff!" he says.

Curse of the Mummy was done as a cover for the book of the same name written by Jonathan Green, published by Puffin Books as the final release in the original Fighting Fantasy series
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"This illustration (above) shows Akharis the mummy, his half-mask giving me the chance to use a nice shiny golden death mask similar to Tutankhamun's, while still allowing a glimpse of his shrivelled flesh.

"His desiccated face recalling my favourite screen mummy, Karloff's Imhotep from 1932. The sarcophagus in the background pays tribute to the Doctor Who story Pyramids of Mars, itself a gothic horror classic!"

17. Kevin Crossley (opens in new tab)

Crossley's work is full of dark fantasy creatures, which he says is purely accidental!
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"Any horror and darkness that appears in my art is curiously accidental in a way! It was never something I set about trying to achieve during my formative years, but nevertheless it does seem to have crept into much of what I do," admits artist Kevin Crossley.

This Red Queen illustration is from Alice's Nightmare In Wonderland
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"I enjoy working with nightmarish concepts, but I never start a piece with such a theme in mind. This might sound strange, but some images just let you know, as you're working on them, that they'll be heading down a 'darker path', and these instances I find are the most rewarding.

"The content evolves on its own terms, often inspired by botanical or skeletal themes mingled with insect anatomy and other natural influences. Out of such a pot all sorts of wonderfully twisted things can arise."

18. Iris Compiet (opens in new tab)

Misfortune Teller was part of Compiet's Freaks and Monsters side project, which combines her fascination for freak circuses and early photography
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"I tend to gravitate towards the horror side of things, have always done so," says illustrator Iris Compiet. "Yet I stay away from the obvious blood and gore stuff. Instead I like to seek out the subtle feeling of unease, of despair, of horrific feelings.

"I try to lure people in under the pretence of things being normal and okay and as soon as you take a closer look you'll see something's off. To me horror is more about a feeling, about the little hairs in the back of your neck, about a shiver and shudder.

Compiet's creepy sketches of witches are reminiscent of the goblin-like evil beings that reside in legend (and in Roald Dahl novels)
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"The whispers in the dark, the scary tales at night. The folktales, the urban legends. The seemingly normal, the darkness that's in each and everyone of us. There's never black or white, good or bad but both and everything in between."

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