Friday, October 08, 2010

Little Monsters!

I was lurching my way downtown on Muni this September, casting around


for ideas for this year’s Gothtober piece, when I noticed a little kid sitting next to her grandmother nearby. I idly thought, “What a cute little kid… it would be really fun if she was wearing a monster costume.” Then it occurred to me: why just a costume? What if that little kid was a baby monster? Monsters are sort of scary by definition, but almost anything “baby” is cute. I bet even baby sharks are cute.

With these thoughts as my beginning (except for the part about sharks… there are no baby sharks in my piece, that was just a parenthetical conjecture), I put together a portfolio of little monster cartoons, all set during a day at monster pre-school. I'm certainly not the only person to come up with juvenile creepy characters. Charles Addams did that before I was even born. But it was still fun to come up with my own baby versions of various types of monsters and scary beings.

Cartoons tend to look spontaneous, but the images you’ll see tomorrow are really the result of a thought-out process that includes brainstorming, narrowing down ideas, sketching, creating an ordered illustration plan, drawing model sheets and thumbnail sketches of scenes, and careful pencil and ink work on the final illustrations. Not to mention the joys of Flash programming.

Since my movie piece for Gothtober last year, I have continued to make friends with working in black and white. (You can see my piece from 2009 at Click on day 21.) This year’s drawings are inked brushwork on Bristol paper, except for the images in the introduction and credits, which are marker drawings from my model sheets. I had been drawing strictly with ink pens – the old-fashioned kind with calligraphy nibs -- until this summer, when I took a drawing class with artist Alexis Amann at the San Francisco Art Institute. Alexis convinced me to try drawing with a brush, and I’m glad she did.

This entry wouldn’t be complete without a huge (huge!) thank you to Julianna Parr and all the staff of for Gothtober, and for giving me the chance to share this art. The Gothtober site and all the artwork on it are so much fun… October wouldn’t be the same without it.

My “Little Monsters” piece opens tomorrow, October 13, 2010. You can see it at Just click on the twirling purple knob numbered 13.