Gloombones’ bio says he’s a “sad lil skeleton,” but his creations sure feel joyful. These highly detailed, neon-tinged, adorably grotesque cartoons live in their own magical universe, and it seems like their plane of existence might be more fun than ours.
Could there be a note of discontent beneath all the throbbing neon ink? Even Gloombones himself can’t say for sure. “I prefer not to delve too deep into the characters I create,” he explains. “It defeats the purpose of my illustrations.” A video game artist by trade, he spends his days working with characters that follow story arcs. The Gloombones world is an escape. “My brain is so fleeting, and ideas are really hard to grasp, so painting little glimpses into larger potential storylines helps the viewer tell themselves the missing parts.”
Like all good grunge cartoonists, Gloombones gleefully incorporates grossness and distortion into his characters—and they seem to love it. They revel in their funny shapes and own their quirks. The fluorescent colors add to the happy vibe. “I have a mashup style of hip hop, punk, and lowbrow grunge, and the neon colors help support that aesthetic,” Gloombones says.
The colors specifically come from Montana acrylic paint pens. After taking up painting again in 2015, Gloombones experimented with gouache, but found the colors faded over time. In 2016 he switched to paint pens and hasn’t looked back. “They make bold lines, the paint distribution is thick and even, and the colors complement each other super well. Working in limited color palettes also makes it easier to transfer a design as a screen print.”
Gloombones has been drawing since childhood, but is trained and works in video game art. “Art is hard. It takes some people years to find a style and a voice,” he says. “School can't teach you passion or opinion, only hard skills. It was important for me to step back from the hard skills and internalize what I actually wanted to do with them. Only in the last 3-4 years have I really hit my creative stride, so I'm going to run with that as long as possible.”
Current influences include the obvious: Ed Roth and R Crumb - but also Gloombones’ own network of fellow artists. “The people that really inspire and influence me are the artists I connect with on Instagram. Winterteeth, Corpsetits, Smelly Elle, Kenny Poppins, Wooden Cyclops, Lifeform and so many others; they all drive me to create and share the art that I do. Having a widespread art network is super important to me.
“But yeah, I'm also inspired by skeletons and silly cartoons, who isn't?”
Follow Gloombones on Instagram for lots more art, including some still for sale!