Q&A with Artist Matthew Therrien

Posted on Posted in Project Updates, Scary Illustrations

With the new campaign, new trailer, and all kinds of other updates with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark documentary, we unveiled a teaser poster done by the very talented artist Matthew Therrien. Along with this, we thought a Q&A with him would be a great way to take a look at how he tackled the poster and the incredible work he has done previously.

How did you come to depict the particular figures and art that is found in the teaser poster for Scary Stories?
Whenever I thought about what to illustrate for this poster, I always came back to one thing: staying true to the spirit and atmosphere of Stephen Gammell’s iconic artwork. In particular I drew the most inspiration from the instantly recognizable front cover of the first Scary Stories collection: the pipe-smoking, red-and-blue smeared skull with the sickeningly twisted smile that STILL has the power to send chills down your spine! I also wanted to depict a skeleton (using his same colour scheme), but I loved the idea of my skeleton holding the collection of Scary Stories and looking scared as the stories BURST from the pages. And as for what stories were reaching out, I personally loved “The Hook” and “The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers”, so it just seemed logical that since both centered around hands, to make use of them in the design.

What is it painted with?
This artwork in particular is almost entirely digital, painted in Photoshop on a Wacom Cintiq tablet. My background, however, is in traditional gouache painting, and I began working digitally as a means of saving money (for a freelance illustrator, buying a constant supply of paints and canvases can get pricey!) The goal in all of my digital art is to try and keep it as organic and “traditional” looking as possible… which is why I incorporate plenty of splatters and brushstrokes. In fact, a lot of the brushes I use in Photoshop I created myself, based off my own “real-life” brushes to make the process of digital painting feel as real as possible.

Do you have memories of reading the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books growing up?
I loved these books growing up. When I was young I grew up on a farmhouse in the middle of no-where (think Night of the Living Dead)… and my only next-door neighbour was a cemetery (think very Night of the Living Dead)! When my younger cousins and I would get together, I would spend nights reading them the stories, and then going for midnight walks through the graveyard next door. So absolutely, I have many, many good memories of growing up with these books. I think in a lot of ways they’re directly responsible for both my love of horror, and also my desire to be an illustrator.

What other iconic images or work have you tackled in other poster art?
I’ve been very fortunate to work on some amazing projects that appealed to me as both an illustrator and a horror fan. I created a film poster for Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD 2 that was commissioned for a screening of the film in Austin, Texas; I worked on posters based on John Carpenter’s THE THING and Universal’s FRANKENSTEIN (both available through the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles). I’ve also tackled a number of other projects just-for-fun, including: Insidious, The Shining, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and many more.

Where can we find more of your artwork, and anything else you have coming up?
I always try to keep my website updated (www.mctherrien.com) – but you can also give me a follow on the following social media sites:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TherrienArtist
Twitter : @mctherrien
Instagram: @mt_illustration



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