Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monster scribbling.

Ya gotta love a Hallowe'en pub this time of year.

As we lounge around in the lazy glow between Christmas and New Year's Eve, we still dwell happily on those moments, memories, and materials that brought us to our Hallowe'en sensibilities.

Well, at least I am, anyway.

The previous post showed a lot of things that have made me who I am, and here's another influence I'd like to spend a bit more time detailing.

Christmas of 1977 was joyously full of the very first Star Wars toys (and clothes and bedsets and books, etc.) but one gift really made an immediate and lasting impact on my creative mind.

Published by Troubador Books in 1977, Larry Evans' How To Draw Monsters didn't begin my interest in All Things Monster -- I was simply born with that -- but when it came to bringing my own monsterific ideas to life, it was easily the best and most inspiring of teachers.

I spent untold hours poring over (and copying scribble for scribble) the images in this little book.

 Kley's sketchy visions are so full of energy and spirit.

 How could a Hallowe'en Lovin' Monster Kid not just stare at and delight in trying to copy this stuff?

Man! The detail in that eye still impresses me. 

At nine years old, my favorite drawings and tutorials were about the bugs:

The Brazilian Tree Hopper really looks like this. Change the scale and you've got a real monster!

 Oh, I drew this army ant dozens of times in school. Not as assignments, of course, but instead of them.

For the next two, I apologize in advance to a certain "amphibious royalty" who frequents the S&P:

These two spider pages (featuring a garden orbweaver, a black widow and a tarantula) were great
for scaring pesky siblings and schoolmates away from my drawing table.

But my favorite image in the entire book resides in gorgeous full color on the back cover:

Larry Evans' incredible watercolor piece Night of the Werewolf made me not only want to draw monsters, but color them right as well.

There are chapters on space creatures, reptilian creatures, and technical lessons about perspective and proportion... and how to break all those rules to make your own monstrous creations!

I still have my original 1977 copy of the book (from which all of these images are taken) and I still find it inspiring.

I also find it very nostalgic to peruse its pages and recall a nine-, ten-, a twelve year old me on the floor or at the table, scribbling away, learning, creating... just delighting.

As far as I can find out, Larry Evans is still around. I'd like to meet him one day, just to shake his hand and thank him for teaching me so many things about making monsters.

Here's to nostalgia.



  1. I love this blog. It is like I have a blog, but with none of the work! I got this book at the same time and it had the same effect. Great memories. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing that with us. Great gift....except for the spider part. <> :D


  3. I knew it would be a slight perturbance, dear Frog Queen, forgive me! :-)

  4. This is the second blog page entry I have found on this book. I wonder why nobody seems to remember Larry Evans' other two books: How to Draw Prehistoric Monsters, and How to Draw Robots & Spaceships? I wonder if he did any other How to Draw books?