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Children's Drawings Come to Life Via 'Monster Engine'

Artist Dave Devries brings a child's drawing of a Big Mouth Man to life. Scarily.

The artistic license of childhood is a remarkable thing. A creative child can create art in a way that is completely devoid of the self-consciousness that will come to plague them later.

As comic book artist, Dave DeVries, looked through the drawings of his niece, back in 1998, he was taken by her wild imagination and was compelled to ask the question, “What would a child’s drawing look like if it were painted realistically?”

He took her drawings and applied the same drawing techniques that he used to bring superheroes to life at DC Comics where he worked… and The Monster Engine was born.

The resulting drawings and paintings are fascinating. And creepy. And completely captivating.

By staying true to the outline of the child’s original creation, DeVries is able to retain the skewed perspective of the child’s artwork, where there is little regard for proportion, perspective, or, if we really want to get down to brass tacks, any semblance of reality.


  • The Good Man 1 of 12
    The Good Man
    This one creeps me out the most. It is, presumably, the child's interpretation of the crucifixion of Jesus, but that skeletal head gives me some serious heebie-jeebies.
  • Boy 2 of 12
    Boy
    Boy, oh boy, is about right.
  • Drip Monster 3 of 12
    Drip Monster
    This one kind of reminds me of the Oogie Boogie Man in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  • Old Scratch 4 of 12
    Old Scratch
    The horns are little off-putting, but I love the dress!
  • Old Scratch, Monster-ized 5 of 12
    Old Scratch, Monster-ized
    Why, for the love of all that's holy, does this devil girl have a FISH???
  • I am Cent-sible Man! 6 of 12
    I am Cent-sible Man!
    I love that this is like a discount version of Superman. Hey, times are tough all over.
  • Cent-sible Monster-ized 7 of 12
    Cent-sible Monster-ized
    He was the most hesitant of heroes, more inclined to steal villain's cigarettes to stamp out than to rough them up.
  • Wonder Woman 8 of 12
    Wonder Woman
    Nobody could have guessed that Wonder Woman would develop osteoporosis in her golden years... If only she had taken her calcium supplements.
  • Bag Monster 9 of 12
    Bag Monster
    Aw, what a lovely, colorful bag. With eyes.
  • Bag Monster-ized 10 of 12
    Bag Monster-ized
    Alrighty then, now I'm going to hesitate every time I have to open the cupboard I keep all the paper bags in for recycling.
  • Four-Armed Ninja 11 of 12
    Four-Armed Ninja
    Hey you! Get OFF of that little girl in the box!
  • Ninja School Monster-ized 12 of 12
    Ninja School Monster-ized
    This one is my favorite. Notice that the little girl is now bursting out of the box with a massive karate move. I pity that four-armed, yarn-for-hands monstrosity—he doesn't stand a chance.

I remember as a child being so frustrated that my hands couldn’t create on paper what I could see so clearly in my head, which may be why I find DeVries’ Monster Engine project so compelling. I would love to see the reactions of children when they first see their artwork after being transformed—I imagine the moment could be transformative for some of them, springboard-ing them into life believing in the power of art and the ability to transform that which lives only in your mind into the real world.

The Monster Engine is an eleven year art project that has spawned a book and seminars. DeVries also accepts requests for commissions via his website.

All artwork was used with permission from ©Dave DeVries.

Read more of Amy Windsor’s writing at Bitchin’ Wives Club.
Follow Amy on Twitter and Facebook.

And don’t miss these posts:
Magical Paper Sculptures From the ‘Library Phantom’ [Photos]

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I Dread My Child’s Thirteenth Birthday — but Not Why You Think


 

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