Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Monstrously Funny Cartoons

Monstrously Funny Cartoons

Christopher Hart
For ages 8 and up
Watson-Guptill Publications, 2014   ISBN: 978-0823007165

Many people have a fascination with monsters. Long before Mary Shelley wrote her book about Frankenstein, men, women and children were scaring themselves silly with stories about vampires and hulking monsters that “go bump in the night.” We cannot seem to resist Bigfoot, alien creatures, the Loch Ness monster, and other beasties that stomp, slither, and sneak up on the unwary.

For many, monster stories are just the beginning. In addition to listening to or reading stories about monsters. they would like to create pictures of monsters as well. The problem is that drawing monsters can present an artistically inclined person with a number of challenges.

Thankfully, Christopher Hart, who has created many how-to drawing books, has been good enough to create this title, which shows artists how to draw cartoon monsters of all kinds. Harts monsters are not “big, lumbering green goons.” Instead, they are monsters that have “human foibles;” monsters that are “witty, flummoxed, sneaky, fearful, mischievous, vain – and more.” Hart gives artists all the tools that they are going to need to create their own monsters and to also drawn “humorous settings and layouts” for those monsters. Best of all, the techniques used to teach artists how to draw the monsters in this book are “based on sound art and design principals taught in major art schools,” which means that they can be used to draw all kinds of characters in all kinds of formats.

The book is divided into chapters. The author begins with zombies and then goes on to vampires, “monsters that go bump in the night,” aliens, mummies, legendary monsters, “The weird and bizarre” and finally “Monstrously funny layouts.”

In the all of the chapters except the last, Hart begins by showing artists how to draw the basic head and features of the monster. Then he goes on to draw the rest of the body and to show artists how to capture the correct poses for the monster when it is moving. Short tips and tricks on many of the pages help artists work on hands, feet, head shapes, poses, symmetry, outlines and more.

Anyone who has an interest in cartooning will love this excellent how-to guide. There are hours of learning and enjoyment on its pages.