A few weeks ago, I found this charming book at the thrift store. Instantly I recognized it as something from long ago. I’d totally had this book as a kid. It’s a flimsy little book featuring just nineteen monsters to draw, published by Weekly Reader Books, otherwise known as the Scholastic Book Club.
I can just remember myself carefully studying each of the microscopic pictures on the inky and rainbowy order form, pencil in hand allowed to circle three books my mother said I could order. Choices. And you don’t get too many choices when you’re seven, so this is very important stuff. Then my eyes fall on the word “monster.” Oh yes, that earns an instant circle right there. Plus I loved “how to draw” books, even if they completely eluded me. My drawings never looked like the ones in the books even after following the directions step by step.
I’m glad I found this book again. There’s something really special about it. Published in 1985, each of the monsters have this vintage feel to them, a warmth and charm that’s been lost in the digital age.
Here are a few of my favorite monsters from the book:
The Space Spider rules. I encourage everyone to go immediately draw it. I especially love the snake eyes and ominous Z’s shooting from the mouth.
This is the first one I drew, promptly upon returning home after finding the book. I busted out a pad of paper and pen, and sat down at the dining room table. And when I was done, I hung that bad boy on the refrigerator. Halloween drawings on your refrigerator are an essential October decoration. Do it.
A WOLF MAN!
This guy rules, too. I also drew this guy and he turned out pretty good, except that I’d used most of my patience reserves up on the Space Spider, so his paws were misshapen blobs and circles were more like lazy ovals. Oh well. That bad boy also went on the fridge, even if it meant clearing magnet real estate by throwing out the coupon for ketchup that the wife had hanging up there forever.
Magnet real estate, by the way, is a very real and very heated silent war in households. It’s like a complex war boardgame with a thick rulebook with all the moves you’re allowed to make. Wolf man drawing trumps ketchup coupon. Rule #2549363690.
Well, more like giant crab monster. I like how this one has tiny stick figure victims. This guy is bad ass. I want to hang out with him. He seems like he would have a great sense of humor when not terrorizing stick people.
See? Every creature in this book is amazing. Enough said.
I just love the idea of spare parts. The author/artist Robert Pierce writes in the introduction, “Monsters are imaginary creatures. The ones that appear in your mind (and on your paper) are just as good as anyone’s.”
I think I’ll pack this book away with the Halloween stuff at the end of the season so that next year I can pull it out and savor each page all over again. Next year I might even tackle the witch drawing, which has a whopping EIGHT steps. Go hard or go home.
UPDATE: The pictures I drew can be found in the comments!