I feel like writing at the moment but can’t think of anything I want to write about. That happens. Sometimes I look for an idea but I can’t find one. So I looked around for a moment and decided to write about one of the first things I saw. Two of my Tiny Monster Art Cards. That’s the one good thing about writing about my own art, I have a lot of it laying about the place. So if I can’t start out with an idea as I write maybe I can end up with one. Or maybe it’s just an exercise in writing. That’s okay anyway. I can always use some exercise.

In looking at the two Tiny Monster Art Cards that have dates and numbers on the backs of them. The purple skinned fella is number 26 and has the date of June 20, 2015 on it. The red skinned fella is number 38 and has the date of June 29, 2015 on it. These dates might be a little misleading because I did these cards in two stages. First I drew them in black and white and that’s the way they were supposed to stay. They’re art cards so they’re 2.3×3.5 inches, the size of baseball cards, and I originally drew a whole bunch of them. Probably around forty of them. Sometimes I get into a particular thing for a short while. I probably liked the pen I was drawing them in and had a good time drawing little monster cards. Then they sat for a while.

I just checked my calendar where I write down such things and it wasn’t until November that I added color to these cards. I was probably having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to work on, saw the black and white cards, and decided they needed a bit of color. That happens to me from time to time. Often deciding what to do is the hardest thing for an artist. If it’s work that you’re getting payed for it’s easy to figure out what to do. It’s whatever you’re getting paid to do. But when you’re on you’re own making art figuring out what is the best use of your time and effort isn’t easy. That’s why I like little things like these cards. They can keep me going when I can’t figure out a direction. They may not quite be bread crumbs pointing me in a direction but they’re bread crumbs I can eat until a big meal comes along.

First of all these Tiny Monsters are cute monsters. They’re not very scary or terrifying. They may be weird but they’re not giving anyone nightmares. They might not be so cute that they make people say, “Awwwww…” but no one is looking away in horror. They’ve got fairly cute proportions. That means they have big heads for their body size. What keeps them from being really cute is that their eyes are not so big. One of the cute rules is the bigger the eyes the cuter the drawing. In these the eyes are just big enough to be easily seen.

These were ink drawing which means I didn’t do any pencilling first. I drew in ink and so couldn’t erase anything. So I kept it simple. The masters are standing there not in complex poses. They’re just being. I also drew the legs very short. This helps with the composition as it makes the monsters rectangular so they can fill up the space of the card better plus it makes them appear a little bigger. That’s because it’s their upper bodies that look more muscular and that’s what we count for “Big”. If I was to draw them as if they were nine feet tall on these little cards they’d probably end up looking tall and slender. It’s better to go for big and broad.

The color is made with my Copic markers. Though I like markers of all types the Copic brand ones have ended up being my favorite because they are refillable. It’ll cost you a bit up front. A marker and refill are about six dollars a piece but for your twelve dollars you get the equivalent of about ten markers. That’s a lot plus you get the security of knowing that your marker isn’t going to run out on you in the middle of a drawing leaving you high and dry. You can refill it and keep going. It took me a few years to build up a stock of markers and refills but as of now I’m all set. It’s funny though because I always see new brands and types of markers that I want to try, some even refillable, but in the end I decide I’m pretty well set so there is no reason to spend extra money.

Of course the best thing about markers is that they’re instant color and the color is dry and stable the moment you put it down. As much as I like paint it’s not instant. Watercolor is the fastest of the paints and even that take a few minutes to dry as I use it. But not marker. Lay it down and it’s done. That makes it fun to work with.

As I look at these two cards I notice I took opposite approaches with the colors. On one I made the skin tone a bright color and the shirt a neutral and on the other I made the shirt a bright orange and kept the skin close to a neutral. With both I went for brown shoes to ground the drawing a bit. It’s mostly simple color with only a hint of shading but I generally find the color to be effective. It gives a little life to the drawings. I like the choice I made of a light yellow halo around the figures. It’s subtle but lifts them off the background just a bit. The yellow and white fight a little to see which is going to be the whitest white of the piece and that gives it some life.

There you go. A couple of little drawings that gave my writing a little life for a bit.