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“The Walking Dead” artist Charlie Adlard has been drawing zombies and survivors for writer Robert Kirkman’s smash hit Image Comics series for nearly 100 issues. Adlard also makes frequent convention appearances where he does sketches for fans, and among his specialties is drawing his fans as zombies.
Juci Futterer and her boyfriend Milan Kovacs underwent a relatively long quest to get Adlard to draw her as a zombie, and that image ultimately resulted in the illustration serving as the basis for the tattoo now that resides on her right leg. They were kind enough to share the story with CBR INK and answer a few questions about their journey, including tons of photos from each step of the process.
Juci wanted to get a tattoo for about a year and decided it would interesting if Adlard would draw a portrait of her as a zombie. To that end, Milan traveled to N.I.C.E. (Northants International Comic Expo) at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, UK. Juci couldn’t come with him so Milan showed her picture on his tablet and Adlard drew the sketch without delay.
The next step was finding a tattoo artist. After several fits and starts, they discovered Adrian Szabo. Szabo created the transfer and even opted to add to the original sketch with some blood splatter.
Rather than break up the process into multiple sessions, Juci opted for one long sitting, photos of which you can see below.
And with that final touch added, the tattoo was complete. The only thing left was to show Adlard the fruits of his labor. Milan booked a hotel in March 2012 for November’s Thought Bubble Festival, so it was extra important to have Juci’s ink finished and healed well before the show.
Saturday at Thought Bubble they met with Adlard and showed him the tattoo, much to his suprise and delight.
We asked a few questions upon seeing the images and hearing about how her tattoo came to be.
CBR Ink: Why did you decide to get a tattoo of you as a zombie from “The Walking Dead?” And why a zombie as opposed to as a survivor?
Juci Futterer: I’m a huge zombie fan and I really wanted a zombie themed tatoo. I was thinking about what kind of zombie I would like on myself and was having a conversation with Milán (my boyfriend) about this. His idea was to commission a sketch from Charlie Adlard as we were both reading “The Walking Dead” — him the original series and me the Hungarian TPBs. We already met Charlie in 2011 at a convention in Leeds, UK and was delighted to see he draws zombie portraits of fans. I found this amazing and when I was finally ready for the tattoo Milán offered to get the Adlard sketch for me.
Honestly, I don’t have a favorite character from the series, and on the other hand this is much more personal that the tattoo is based on a one-of-a-kind sketch Charlie drew only for me. Anyway, I don’t think others would like me as a zombie on themselves.
Do you ever get strange looks for having a “horror” tattoo as opposed to something more commonplace, or perhaps more traditionally “beautiful?”
Most certainly I do. People look at me as a cute girl and whenI show them my zombie tattoo they almost always go “wow,” and not always in a good manner. For me the meaning is important, not just the tattoo itself. This tattoo is part of my personality.
While most people associate Adlard as the main “Walking Dead” artist, he’s actually the second guy one the book following Tony Moore. Did you ever consider reaching out to Tony for this tattoo?
I never really compared these two “Walking Dead” artists. When there was the change it didn’t matter that much to me. Charlie Adlard is British and Tony Moore is American, and that’s why, sadly, we never met him. Charlie sometimes sits 4 to 5 hours at his convention table and is sketching all the time in the UK. He is a very fast artist and even if he’s only sketching at conventions his pieces always have a very high quality. On the other hand, should the opportunity arise getting something from Tony Moore would be a no brainer, of course!