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Illustration of a skeleton recruiting you for the Skeleton War. Art by Jessica Amber 2020.

Artwork Details

Title:I Want You For The Skeleton War
Date:

2020

Medium:Digital Art
Software: Procreate 5X app, Adobe Photoshop
Tools:
  • iPad Pro 9.7″

  • Apple Pencil

  • PC, mouse and keyboard

Blurb

It’s October 2020, almost Halloween. That means the Skeleton War is upon us once again. But this year, the skeletons will not be fighting the fuckboys. This year, we will team up with our bone bretheren to fight coronavirus. They are the perfect footsoldiers to take on this terrible foe – skeletons don’t have respiratory systems!

About This Artwork

There was a popular meme that started around Halloween 2013, joking about a Skeleton War – that is, a war fought by reanimated skeletons. It prompted a lot of people to submit images of skeletons to social media sites, especially Tumblr. The war was stated to be between skeletons and ‘fuckboys’. 

For 2020. considering all the misfortunes of the time, I thought the skeletons could fight a bigger foe for us. What about Covid-19? Skeletons can’t breathe in a virus because they don’t have lungs, so they’ll be immune! Never mind the fact that you can’t actually shoot or bayonette a virus into submission. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Completed this artwork over 3 days. I maintained the rounded line style that I use in artworks like Support Main, but this is by far the most detailed artwork I’ve made in a long time. I don’t know much about anatomy, so for the skeleton, I created a reference image using an app by Riven Phoenix called Pose Tool 3D. 

The colour scheme was inspired by an old t-shirt I owned in 2014, which had a pop-arty screaming skull on it. Sadly I never took a good photo of the shirt.

 

A skeleton with a soldier's helmet, pointing at the viewer, in front of a flag. Text reads 'I want you for the skeleton war', in a pop-art style on a purple background. Art by JessicaAmber 2020.

After some time had passed, I looked back at this design and was unsatisfied. The halftone clouds didn’t look right, and the colours didn’t match the theme. So I went back to the drawing board.

The original pose inspiration was Uncle Sam… why couldn’t I take that reference further? I used the colours in the original Uncle Sam artwork, patriotic blues and reds. And I added a paper texture to the background [by Saykee, available on Deviantart] to give it a older feeling. I added more shading to the skeleton, to give it more dimension. And I added a vector image of a flag, to push the patriotism even further. 
Finally, I removed the germs and clouds, as the original Skeleton War meme was not about COVID-19, and the design can be more versatile without that specific timely reference.

I’m much prouder of this design. I admit I’m hesitant about using full background textures because it usually means much more work to make it look good on different sized products, but I think in this case it is worth the effort.