Underground (Ink)

As I mentioned in my post on the pencil version of this drawing, I was still rusty working on this one (it was one of the few drawings I’d done on paper in many years), and that extended to the inking phase. Things got a little rough in spots and there are clearly some indecisive strokes, but hopefully I captured some of the raw, reckless energy of the music in my ‘80s Underground Metal playlist, for which this drawing was originally intended to be the cover.

Underground Full 600

As for the content of this one, I’ve been playing Fallout 4 for the umpteenth time and some of the central dude’s armor is definitely riffing on the leather armor designs from that game. I also wanted to give him the look of guys in ‘80s metal bands (and their respective revival genres), hence the bullet belt and spiked gauntlet.

Beyond that, I’ve been super preoccupied lately with the theme of a post-apocalyptic warrior of the wasteland. It’s obviously present in the Fallout games, but also very explicitly in some heavy / power metal tracks.

Underground Dude

Chastain’s “Ruler of the Wasteland” from 1986 is a stone cold classic on the theme (and with all due respect to Doro, Leather Leone is the true queen of female heavy metal vocalists), though Ram’s “Forbidden Zone” from 2015 is equally epic and awesome. In fact, not only is Ram’s album, Svbversvm, one of my all time favorite true metal albums, but “Forbidden Zone” would probably land in a list of my top 10 favorite heavy metal songs.

The seven-and-a-half-minute song has a longform, somewhat progressive structure that brilliantly uses its downtempo chorus melody to contrast with the rapid fire verse sections for different emotional effects. Not to mention the vocals are savage and the lyrics are flat-out badass.

I hear the cracking thunder of my mounted guns
Running through a blazing blizzard of shells
Leaving corpses of enemies bleeding behind me
Accelerate as I crash through the metal gates
Now the hunter has entered the lair of the prey

With no fear I enter the hall of the cyborg king
I see him sit upon a throne of lies
His cybernetics are scanning and detecting
I am no slave you have no control over me
I was scorched by the flames of the truth and I am free
You are powerless before the warrior that strikes without fear

I venture alone into the wasteland seeking revenge
Blood will be spilled, lives will be taken, none will be spared
None forgiven
You ruling the blind, steering the dumb, leading the deaf
Your reign will end, your head will roll, vengeance is here
In the forbidden zone


That’s awesome.

So with those songs in mind, I was trying to imagine what type of creature would accompany a warrior of the wasteland. I went with some demonic orc-ish fellas that I hoped would seem semi-intelligent but also barbaric and only loosely loyal. Ideally, a healthy mix of fantasy and post-apocalyptic themes.

Underground Demon Detail 600

At some point, I’d like to expand on this idea and do a much larger, more detailed drawing. Actually, as much as I love “Forbidden Zone,” I may try to make a tribute specifically to that song…

I’m working on the color version of this one, but in the meantime, check out my ‘80s Underground Metal playlist, now with cover art by the great Simon Bisley (who, let’s face it, is a lot better at this sort of thing than I am).

Related posts: Underground (Pencil)

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