It turns out that size does matter and I can creep myself out. I found that out after making a large ink drawing this week. I’ve written about two big ink drawings I’ve done recently, the scary clown face “Face Seven,” and the monster face “Big Monster One”, and this one “Glory Days” was the third big ink drawing in a row that had a horror theme to it. Big and horrific. That’s what got to me.

“Glory Days” started it’s life as a small 6×9 inch drawing that I made back in 2012. After that made an 11×17 ink drawing of it but neither of those satisfied me. The were both swings and misses. I liked parts of them both but neither of them as a whole. Still I liked something about the drawings so I decided to give it another go but this time as a large ink drawing.

As I drew a new 6×9 inch drawing of the monster I noticed that the part I didn’t like was the teeth on the monster’s dress. I did a double face thing where not only did the monster have a face but there was a weird abstract face in her dress too. In the original drawing I made the teeth and mouth too abstract.

In general I have two ways that I make teeth in my monster faces. The first way is to make the teeth into sharp triangles that I then make a little more irregular and the second way is to use the many lines my busted brush technique generates to gesture in teeth without strongly defining the edges. In the original ink drawing I used the triangle teeth but instead of keeping them white I blackened them in and put a white outline around them. This messed up the positive and negative space of the mouth and obscured it in a way that didn’t work for me. So in the new drawing I worked out the teeth so they would be white.

The second thing that I changed was that I gave her big monster ears. In the original drawing she didn’t have any ears at all. I’m not sure why that is but I found that not very scary at all. It was even a little bit elegant looking. I guess I was going for a more skull-like look but I don’t think it worked. The big ears say “Monster” much more clearly.

After I worked out the new drawing at 6×9 inches I blew it up and transferred it to a 22×30 inch piece of paper. That was easy enough but as I started drawing it in ink I ran into a problem. How I originally made the drawing wasn’t working at the larger size and it was confusing me on how I should proceed. The original 11×17 inch ink drawing had hard edges. It was all about the shapes and how the positive and negative spaces played off each other. But I had to redraw and simplify a lot of those shapes to get the dress-mouth correct plus the hard edges at the large size didn’t look very scary. So I abandoned my regular brush and grabbed my multi-pointed busted brush.

I was planning on using my busted brush with this drawing but it turned out that I really hadn’t thought out how I was going to use it. Usually it’s easy to use. I use it to define the forms of a drawing. The roundness of an eye or the shape of a nose. But with this drawing I had mostly graphic shapes that didn’t define forms but defined positive and negative shapes. It was different so I had to take some time and think about it. I started with the face but only got so far before I switched to the other parts of the body.

I ended up not defining the forms but obscuring them. This drawing is almost all black with only a little bit of white showing through. This white defines the forms but in a subtle way. Little hints of edges stand out to us and give the body its shape. I actually had the hardest time with the wings because they basically have no form. They were such a graphic element that it was impossible to bring any sense of form to them. I tried to define them using various direction brush techniques but in the end found that obscuring them was the way to go. I kept making them darker and darker until they sat back in space the way I wanted them to. That sounds easy to do but takes a remarkably long time to figure out and execute. In the end this large 20×28 inch drawing took me about ten hours to finish. That’s not too bad for one of these large drawings but it’s not a short period of time.

The different thing about this one was that by the time I was done it was creeping me out. I’ve done a lot of monster drawings over the last half a decade or so but they were all 5×7 inches or 11×17 inches. Sure they were some creepy ones but I guess them being smaller made them less creepy. I even like to take a few dozen of these small ones and line them up to take photos or look at them. They’re cool when they’re all in a group.

After I finished “Glory Days” I didn’t want to look at it. Normally after I finish one of these big drawings I leave it on the easel for a couple of days to think about it. This one I left up for a shorter time. It creeped me out. It didn’t help that the two before it were also creepy drawings but this one seems especially bizarre. It’s odd that I can make a drawing that can creep me out. After all I’m the one who made it and know how it’s done.

After making this one I had to clear my brain by making a larger drawing that was pleasant and fun. I went back to my clean edged style and made a drawing where the main figure was a smiling woman. Much less creepy.