Just in time for Post-Halloween, you can check out our lesson from last week. It focused on creating MONSTER characters– which meant traditional, scary Halloween types, as well as how to create one’s own monsters by mixing and matching animals and creatures (much the way the animators did when creating the famous Beast from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”).
As usual, scroll down to see what the lesson was, and then peek below to see the monstrously creative work the students did. Have fun!
An Introduction to Creating Your Own Monster Characters! .
Monsters can be very scary, but they can also be funny—much like Zombies or Zombie stories, stories about Monsters—or Monsters themselves— can be a comedy OR a drama, and they are often featured in the Horror Genre. If not Horror and Halloween, Monsters can show up when it is a fantasy story.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Monster?” What are some differences between different types of Monsters?
Historically, when movies about monsters first came out, the monsters were often somewhat smaller- vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein’s monster are not much bigger than humans. Interestingly, after the Second World War, monsters such as King-Kong and Godzilla became more popular.
Some studies suggest it was a response to war and weapons in the world– think of Godzilla, who is a huge monster that only science and weapons can defeat.
Here are some common types of Monsters used in Halloween stories and comics:
They are sort of like anthropomorphic animals—they are part human, part wolf, and are NOCTURNAL—they only come out at night.
They are human like, but more like zombies—they are the “undead,” and stories about them originate in Transylvania, Eastern Europe. But instead of decomposing as zombies do, they stay at the same age they were physically when last alive. They often are shown having two sharp fangs, and they rely on the blood of humans as food. Traditionally, they cannot live outside in the sun and are also NOCTURAL. They also often wear capes and suits.
A way of burying people in Egypt, traditionally, involved wrapping a person in a special type of cloth to help preserve them. In Halloween stories, Mummies are the undead and often wake up when they want revenge— which can end up being taken out on people who were not the ones who wronged the Mummy.
The Headless Horseman
This monster is from European Folklore, as well as American folklore. You might be familiar with the version from Sleepy Hollow, where he was a Hessian soldier during the American Revolution. His head flew off from a Cannonball. He is a ghost who appears and threatens to behead others. Sometimes, he’s shown as having a pumpkin where his head should be.
The above listed monsters are often considered to be very SCARY—both because of how they look, as well as how they act.
What’s a common theme in Monster stories, where the monster is not just evil— is that they are unfairly judged because of how frightening they LOOK.
Sometimes, this makes them also act very mean— and a character who has always been treated badly because he looks like a monster can teach a lesson in a story, that cruelty can make people act in bad ways they would not have acted otherwise.
(Does anyone remember the Villain lesson, and how we talked about backstories? It’s also a big point in Monster Stories as well).
It is also important in these kinds of monster stories to learn why a character who looks scary on the outside, may not be so bad on the inside.
When drawing comics and cartoons, one of the MOST fun things about creating monsters is that you can mix and match!
It’s definitely possible to focus on Halloween Style Monsters when making these kinds of drawings and stories— but simply by combining different kinds of animals, the way the beast was made, it’s possible to make up a COMPLETELY ORIGINAL monster!
1. Reach into the bowl I’ve brought to class, and pull out four pieces of paper. Sound weird? Not too much, it’ll bring you back to drawing! In the hat, I’ve put in pieces of paper with the names of different types of animals or creatures. Without looking, everyone is to reach in, and pick out four pieces of paper. Each piece of paper will have a DIFFERENT word on it. For example, if someone were to pull out:
VAMPIRE, RHINO, EAGLE, SCORPION
That student would then create their own monster, somehow incorporating ALL of those kinds of characters. It can be a part of them—Rhino can be shown using a horn; Vampire with two long fangs, or even an umbrella held above to keep out the sun. But somehow, you are to come up with a made-up monster based on what you pull out of the hat. After doing the character design, you have the choice of moving on, or creating a comic with this Monster. You can also reach back into the hat to mix and match MORE monsters.
IT IS YOUR CHOICE TO EITHER MAKE IT A SCARY SCARY MONSTER, ONE THAT LOOKS SCARY BUT IS ACTUALLY VERY NICE (SULLY IS A GREAT EXAMPLE), OR ONE THAT IS SIMPLY FUNNY LOOKING, AND A MONSTER—BUT A FRIENDLY MONSTER.
2. You may continue with a comic you are already working on, and introduce a monster character into that storyline. This one can either be a traditional Halloween kind of monster, or one completely made up. This assignment could work best with the Zombie stories from last week, as Monsters and Zombies often go together.
3. Create a drawing or comic where a Halloween Monster ends up in a non-Halloween atmosphere—think “Nightmare Before Christmas”— or, create a story where a non-Halloween monster is suddenly plopped down somewhere, on Halloween. How would a werewolf act if he were suddenly roaming around West Hollywood, and Meltdown? And how exactly would Godzilla try and go Trick or Treating? Again, stories like this can be serious, or they can be silly and funny.
Have fun, and happy drawing –!
Now, for the students work. They all came up with some very cool creatures, who were both fun to see, and characters who might be a bit scary if you were to run into them in real life! Without further ado, here are their drawings!
First is the work of Carson Strassman!
He used many different animal combinations to create his monsters. He did a super job of making animal combinations that were unusual, and focus on animal parts that one wouldn’t normally think of– the last creature on the page is part spider, but he clearly doesn’t have eight legs. Can you tell what part of a spider Carson drew instead?
Next up, is the work of Milo Evaschen! He is still working on his longer and epic story, “Medieval,” but what was posted earlier in these blogs was just a preview. The story will only be posted again once it is completed.
For now, check out the very well-rendered monsters he made! I wonder if the Frankenmonster and the part Platypus, part Scorpion, would get along well with Perry– another well-known Platypus in a beloved animated series.
Next up is Jackson Siegel!
Jackson worked on a combination of comics and monster-creations. Creating everything from a were-snake, to Hulk-like creatures, to wolf-man esque characters, and random comics, Jackson created a variety of things this week. The were-snake is very well designed, and intriguing - what happens when a monster has one reptile head, and one mammal head? Do they work together, two heads are better than one style? Or do they bicker, without the ability to ever take a break from each other? The life of a monster seems to be simultaneously fun and exhausting!
And finally, here we have the work of Woody Tuttle!
He made some fabulous combinations of characters, making monsters that evoked old school, wolf-man designs, as well as more original and never before seen monsters. Wouldn’t you want a creature with the torso of a cheetah, massive dragon wings, and rhinoceros horns to be your friend/at least on your side? Perhaps he’s a monster like Sully, and secretly sweet underneath all of the fur and the scales.
Thanks for reading everyone, and tune in for the next recap of Meltdown Uni/Comics for Kids!