About five years ago I began making something I call Splotch Monsters as a way to get creative and make some art again. Basically, you splotch around some paint, let it dry a bit, then draw on the splotch, creating monsters. A couple years ago, I began working on a more controlled method of Splotch Monster-making that involved the use of text, as is the case with this “Thank You” illio.
First off, I began with several false starts, all going straight into the ol’ recycle bin. This doesn’t always happen, but more often than not, it will, especially when working with text. As an art teacher, I tell my students that it’s okay to mess up and that mistakes will always be a part of the process. As anger-inducing as it can be, I have to always apply the same rules to myself as well.
OK, off to a fresh start. Mind cleared, desk cleared, water still dirty. Take four (or five).
With the message in mind, I first scan the paper with my eyes to see how the words will fit, then get right to it, painting with watercolors.
After painting on each letter, I sprinkle a little salt throughout the letter for added texture and visual interest, then move on to the next letter. Any type of salt will do.
Sometimes I’ll add some subtle drips of other colors and let them mix and bleed in with the letter’s original color.
The next day I begin to carefully brush away any residual salt from the letters.
Almost always, a brush won’t completely take away the excess salt, so I go back over the letters again, this time with my fingers, carefully knocking away the salt in order for me to be able to begin drawing on the letters. It’s highly recommended to wash one’s fingers after doing this, as I’ve accidentally gotten paint smudges on my paper, completely ruining the image. Sometimes this can add character and visual interest to more experimental Splotch Monster works, however, when doing a text-based illustration, I want the words to be as clear as possible.
Now the fun has just begun as I dive into the drawing portion of the illo. On occasion, I’ll start with some type of marker, such as the kind made by Prismacolor, then add more using Pigma Micron pens and archival Jelly Roll writers. Almost always, I’ll draw the eyes first, however, it doesn’t matter where you start really.
Adding spots, stripes and hair make the Splotch Monsters come alive. I’ve had a lot of practice drawing and doing some painting based on animals and various wildlife, and it’s fun applying that visual knowledge and experience to more imaginative subject matter, such as Splotch Monsters.
Adding limbs and facial expressions are important too!
Finally, the image is completed and ready to be scanned and made into a greeting card. I’ll be selling cards with this image in person at this year’s GRUMP Supersized event, along with all kinds of Splotch Monster-based goodies. To stay up to date with my Splotch Monster art and illustration adventures, be sure to follow the Splotch Monster Island blog HERE. Thank you for your time and hope to see YOU at GRUMP this year!