The man and the monsters
When the site www.monsterengine.com was released in 2005 it received 17 million hits in the first month, all on word by mouth and no advertising. It became an internet phenomenon. Many years ago he asked himself “what would a child’s drawing look like if painted realistically?” Using children’s drawings of monsters as raw material for his art Dave created a book called “the Monster Engine”. Later on the book turned into a very successful website and the ball just keeps on rolling for Dave DeVries, the man behind the monsters. I got a chance to ask Dave some questions about his life, what’s new and what are his best tips are for aspiring illustrators and artists.
Just curious, who is Dave DeVries? Dad, illustrator, teacher… not much of a fine artist. Though I do gallery shows I am at heart an illustrator. I once did a show and my work didn’t fit the space so I offered to redo it smaller. The shocked gallery owners said they would never ask me to alter my art, but that is what illustrators do. What’s the job? What are the parameters? When do you need it by? In terms of personal philosophy I bend the rules when I can, break them when necessary, it is why I love kids, they are all outlaws at heart. What does a normal day for you look like? I Wake up at 8am, get my kid to school, get breakfast, answer emails, draw, draw, draw, ink, ink, ink. I do a webcomic called Blueshift for Seed Studio, a video game company in Taiwan. www.blueshiftworld.com. I am the art director, promotions coordinator, penciler and inker, company rep and a middle manager reporting to Seed Studio in Taiwan. As you can imagine this puts The Monster Engine on the back burner, at least till February when I will be doing some commissions and school presentations. That is the nature of my life, The Monster Engine is a wild and fun project with loads of potential but I still need to make a living. What is the best thing about having your job? I work from home and avoid traffic and get to see my kid more often. Also, I get to draw and paint for a living. Even when I hate the subject matter I’m still drawing and that is awesome. When I get to paint The Monster Engine I am so happy I lose track of time. So either way it is always a great job.
No new books planned due to the cost of producing them but finances permit a serialized webcomic about The Monster Engine. kids or adults? I can’t tell.
. You’ll always promote yourself better than someone you hire because you care more about the client. teeth and distortions are only a fear of birth defects or a deep–seated remembrance of when we were lower on the food chain.Why is it so awesome to paint monsters? Lots of variety in terms of design. I paint dark themed images but will explore lighter versions in the future. Been working out a story now for a few years. My initial pull is toward the dark. any colour… however. however. If kids see monsters (and I am talking the scary kind) as normal then maybe when the kid encounters a disfigured person they will be more accepting. In fact. Do you have any advise for students and young creators that want to succeed painting or illustrating? Take classes in both traditional and digital mediums. With The Monster Engine I am in talks with a TV network about a show. To me a monster is only a monster on the inside. Just have to make the time. It will be migrating from our site to MTV’s new web page MTVgeek. Who likes your paintings the most. The commercial world is moving in the digital direction and you don’t want to be left behind. Looking forward to that. namely you. in my experience ever recoiled in fear. If you show you’re not afraid then the child won’t be as fearful. It is science fiction/action/global warming/ post apocalyptic in theme. And finally. What makes a monster is something more internal. a Halloween decoration by the way and he loves it. in my opinion.com where it will be featured prominently. They can be any shape. or at least think their kids will fear them. these kinds of monsters don’t know they are monstrous. Even if you don’t paint anything digitally you should learn web design and video editing so you can take control of promoting your work. This is because we never projected a sense that he should be afraid of it. Not sure where that will take me but I am hanging on for the ride. Parents don’t give their kids more credit in terms of fear.blueshiftworld. Again. Parents ironically fear them more. all the horrific visuals are just the exterior. any size. No kid. what’s new? www. all the claws.com is the site of the webcomic I mentioned above. they see their actions as acceptable or something they cannot change. We have this decapitated head in a jar in my 3-year-old’s room. something more lasting and sinister.