“Behind You”: One-Picture Horror Stories That We Do Not Recommend Reading Alone
We’ve all felt it. The feeling of someone behind you when you turn off the light and have to go to the next room, the fear that you’re not alone and someone’s watching you from the dark corner. Or when your heart starts racing while walking alone in the streets at night, afraid that someone’s lurking in the bushes to get you.
That is what this Dublin artist, Brian Coldrick, illustrates in his work. He creates moving images that show all kinds of creepy scenarios that are bound to give you goosebumps and shivers down your spine. With only one image and a few words, Brian manages to tell a story, capture the audience and maybe even make you wonder if someone’s standing behind you right now.
The whole project Brian creates is called ‘Behind You’. Here’s more info about it: “Behind You is an ongoing series of illustrations made by me, Brian Coldrick (hello!) I’d call it a webcomic but there are no panels and each image is essentially a separate story so that might be a stretch. My naive intention is to upload once a week.”
“The whole thing sprung out of my love of horror films and books, and particularly the reading of spooky internet stories. My favorite type of spooky internet story is the real-life account. These barely function as narratives as much as scary scenarios. There are so many gaps in the stories there’s lots of room for the reader to fill them in with their conclusions. This series is essentially my attempt to purposefully do the same.”
“Each page is simply a character with someone, or something, behind them and one line of text. While some of them touch on well-worn horror tropes, none are direct adaptions of existing stories; I guess fairytales and myths, old and new, are fair game. Hopefully, there is some amusing weirdness and genuine creepiness in the mix.”
Brian told Bored Panda about the main goal of his illustrations: “That totally depends on what I’m illustrating. With the ‘Behind You’ series, I’m obviously trying to give the viewer a chill or sometimes a laugh, maybe make them curious about the wider untold story. But I often work on things with a totally different purpose. Cute characters or concept art or storyboards. It’s always nice to have variety!”
The artist shares what got him into art: “Comics, Saturday morning cartoons, films, board games. I suppose like everyone, I drew all the time as a child but I’ve just kept it up. When it came time to try and pick something as a job, it seemed a lot more fun than the other options!”
Brian shares what the most difficult part of creating these illustrations is: “Coming up with the initial idea is always the hardest part. I find I can’t really start until I come up with a good concept but then the concept doesn’t really form in my brain until I’ve started drawing. It’s a catch-22 which just leads to a lot of scratchy rough drawings.”
Brian describes his drawing style and why he chose to do horror: “I suppose I’m fairly comic book-ish generally. For better or worse, I tend to believe the more the better, so I generally layer everything I do with lots of texture and detail. I love the beautiful lived-in clutter of the locations in Studio Ghibli films, so that’s at least one influence I’m always drawing from. I picked horror because it’s is a fun genre with great visuals that can also tackle more serious themes in interesting ways. But mostly it was a excuse to draw monsters!”
“Definitely as a kid. I’m pretty good these days with scary movies and creepy stories because once you’ve seen or read enough, they can become pleasingly familiar rather than truly scary. But every once in a while I’ll see a coat I forgot was hanging at the end of a corridor and jump out of my skin.”
“I think I started creating these illustrations in 2015. My production rate has slowed a lot lately. I was finding it a lot harder to produce new ideas I liked and as a result I was spending more and more time on each one. I haven’t made a new one in quite a while now but with Halloween around the corner, I think it’ll be time to get back to work. What inspires me to keep going forward is: Fun, curiosity, money, jealousy, depression? All of the above.”
Here’s some advice from Brian for those who want to get into arts themselves: “I suppose my only advice would be to start making/doing what it is that interests you. What gets created might not be perfect but it’s better to have made it than have nothing. And then just keep going. You don’t need permission to try.”
“Well, I’m 40 now so I’ve already forgotten most of the journey. I’m originally from Dublin but I moved to the UK about 10 (11?) years ago. No kids but one very small, old and grumpy cat who is snoozing on my lap as I type this.”
“It definitely got some nice reactions and generated some great interest in ‘Behind You.’ It’s still strange to think of someone on the other side of the world interacting with an odd thing I drew in my little office one night,” said Brian when asked if being on Bored Panda before helped him out.