Kids love/hate monsters and monsters apparently love/hate kids, it depends. but they have a close relationship no doubt, and artist David Devries has come up with a concept that brings children’s imaginations to life, The Monster Engine and will be showed at Toonseum on October 27th.
The Monster Engine takes drawings that children have created and turns them into realistic monster masterpieces by carefully recreating them with paint, airbrush and pencil.
He originally got the idea from drawings that his niece had drawn in her book.
“It began at the Jersey Shore in 1998, where my niece Jessica often filled my sketchbook with doodles. While I stared at them, I wondered if color, texture and shading could be applied for a 3D effect. As a painter, I made cartoons look three dimensional every day for the likes of Marvel and DC comics, so why couldn’t I apply those same techniques to a kid’s drawing? That was it… no research, no years of toil, just the curiosity of seeing Jessica’s drawings come to life.” ~Devries
Prior to the “Monster Engine”, Devries illustrated for comic giants Marvel & DC and also painted monsters for Universal Studios. When he began “The Monster Engine” he used the techniques he had learned about shading and color to create monsters that looked three-dimensional.
In addition to his gallery exhibit, Devries released the book “The Monster Engine” which he won the Independent Publishers Book award. He also won “The Society of Illustrators Certificate of Merit” and the “Spectrum Silver Medal”. He also has made a special appearance on CBS “This Morning” as well as was featured in “The Sun”, the “New Jersey Herald” and “Rue Morgue” to name a few.
“I’ve loved art from the time I was a little kid– especially comic books. When I got older, I actually got a chance to draw my childhood heroes–and get paid to boot. It was a dream come true. I was asked to paint Spiderman swinging over New York and Wolverine slashing robots with his unbreakable claws. My job was to make these heroes real for all the people who loved them. It wasn’t easy but I learned to make them colorful, detailed and full of action. Comics, however, weren’t the only thing I painted–I also painted monsters for Universal Studios, but those monsters weren’t as cool as the ones I saw lurking in my niece’s sketches. It was then, at age 33, that I decided to take all the lessons about color, action and detail and apply them to little kid’s drawings. It made me remember my childhood and also realize that no matter how old I became I could always see things like a child.” ~Devries
The exhibit will showcase the process in which the monsters are created starting from the hands of a child and shows the how Devries develops the monsters while keeping the child’s vision as the primary focus. The exhibit will open on October 27th and there will be a special event opening Halloween Party for kids at 1pm with a special appearance by David Devries. Visit Toonseum for more information.