Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Artist Spotlight

Artist Showcase: Carlos Villa

Carlos Fabián Villa is a professional artist living in Mexico. His work can be found at antiherobrush.com and zano.deviantart.com.

First off I’d like to ask you a question in the spirit of Nightmare: What scares you the most?

My biggest nightmare — and the most boring answer I can give you — is of course waking up one day and not being able to do any kind of art. All traditional, digital media is gone. No paint, no brushes, no pencils. I have no hands, no feet, mouth. All that is happening. But even so, I would like to think that I would find a way to make something.

There was one other thing I was afraid of for a long time. I believe I saw The Exorcist when I was not supposed to, because the white devil face that appears for one frame on Father Karras’s dream sequence was engraved in my imagination for a very long time during my childhood. I saw the sequence a while back and it gave me goose bumps again. It made it very difficult to go get a glass of water at night and cross that long dark corridor to the kitchen in my house.

What inspired the image appearing as the cover of this month’s Nightmare?

A cover version of the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by the band The Outlaws played in the background during the birth and execution of this particular illustration. I took the name of the song and conceived of a band of undead brothers that attack during the night and take gold and women from villages in a western setting.

A lot of your personal horror work has an undead-western motif. What is it about this subgenre that appeals to you, or alternately, scares you?

I have always been a big western movie fan thanks to my dad. Horror and fantasy themes are something that I am working with constantly in my illustration work because I love drawing blades, leather, bones, skulls, and all that kind of stuff. I’m mixing things that I am a fan of while trying to put my own style and background into it. I do not find it scary; I am fascinated by this kind of imagery.

Who has influenced you artistically?

A lot of comic and current pop culture illustrators have influenced my work. A few of them are Marko Djurdjevic, Adam Hughes, Gerald Brom, etc. And old masters like Caravaggio. Also, movie imagery from ’80s and ’90s horror and fantasy, because that is the stuff that affected me the most in my formative years. Nightmare on Elm Street, Gremlins, Tales from the Crypt. I love all that type of stuff.

You’ve done some wonderful cover work for the Mexican comic Soulkeepers. How is providing an illustration for a comic different from other types of illustrations you’ve done?

Thank you! For comics, it is very important to take care of the main characters. Since this one you mention is a project that is in the very early stages, I must deliver a very clear image that portrays the characters showing exactly what they are all about. All of this is to make our audience care for them as the story progresses.

What is your favorite medium to work with and why?

Digital tools are my main medium of work. I mean, c’mon, who has time to wait for that paint to dry? (I’m joking, of course!) Digital really helps to keep everything flowing fast for me. I do love pencil drawing and inks, too.

When you illustrate, do you have any little rituals? For example, is there a certain kind of music you like to listen to, or certain type of beverage or food you like to have on hand?

Loads and loads of Rock music in all shapes and sizes. Heavy Metal, Classic, Trash, Hair, Death Metal, even Indie. A constant supply of coffee and I am good to go.

Do you have any other special hobbies or skills you’d like to share with us?

I try to do healthy stuff when not doing art, like eating a lot of carne asada and chicken wings. Those are good for you, right?

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Marina J. Lostetter

Marina Lostetter

Marina J. Lostetter’s short fiction has appeared in venues such as InterGalactic Medicine Show, Galaxy’s Edge, and Writers of the Future. Her most recent publications include a tie-in novelette for the Star Citizen game universe, which was serialized over the first four months of 2014. Originally from Oregon, Marina now lives in Arkansas with her husband, Alex. She tweets as @MarinaLostetter. Please visit her homepage at lostetter.net.