2011 Monster Month: Day 2 – Monster Tea Party

Back in 2004 I was contemplating getting into using the watercolor medium. For many years I created illustrations with colored pencil and gouache, an opaque water based paint. Watercolor paint started catching my eye to the point of inspiring me to give it a try. But what would be a worthy image on which to test this new medium? The first piece to drip out of my brush involved an alligator and a bunny rabbit, but then….. MONSTERS!

In the classic Frankenstein movie with Boris Karloff, there is a moment when this big lumbering beast comes across a little girl. As an audience, you know what this behemoth is capable of, and the little girl who is none the wiser just sees a potential playmate. What if some monsters got snagged into playtime with a fearless little girl who just would not let them go? Instead, she is the monster, and they are the victims. With that backstory in mind, I created this piece which turned out to be the launch of my interest in fun monster art:


Monster Tea Party
How DOES a monster politely excuse himself from a tea party anyway? (Click on image to see it larger.)


Some of you may have seen the above painting on my website, but what you have NOT seen before are some of the preliminary sketches from my sketchbook that were drawn in the quest for just the right combination of monsters to be tormented by this situation. An illustration doesn’t just fall into place with the first critters that come to mind. Below are a few beasties that didn’t make the cut:


Three Monsters
Manny, Mo and Jack here look fun and all, but just weren’t the right tone for the final painting.


Monster Character Designs
Kukla, Fran and Ollie here also were not quite what was needed for a tea party.


The six fellas above were just a few of the dozen and a half heads that came out of my pencil. Three faces were needed, and three faces were found, but not all in a row. Scattered amongst the many pages of exploratory monster drawings were the three you see below – the three that made it into the final painting:


Monster Tea Party
Capt. Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters are the three that made the final cut.


So, there you have the genesis of my interest in monster art! I also happen to love the Muppets, so that might help explain a bit of the ol’ Henson influence that may come through now and then, too. Come back again tomorrow for another strange creation that’s a vision, but only an illusion – a monster that has nothing to hide.