Hey there, monster lovers! Welcome to "The Making
of Look Out! Monsters". My name is Geoff Grogan and I’m author/artist
“LoM” was pieced together much in the same way as Frankenstein’s
monster, stitched together not from corpses thank God, but rather from
the newspaper. My original idea had been to make a one-of-a-kind artist’s
book, like a medieval manuscript, which was in keeping with the collages
I had been doing. I was deep into Monsters and the idea of monsters of
our imagination manifesting in new forms in the daily news media. So rather
than work on illustration board or Bristol, as is the convention when
working for print, I chose to make my comic on a copy of the NY Daily
Because newsprint is flimsy and porous, prolonged work on that surface
would be frustrating to say the least. So I decided to strengthen the
newsprint with a strong acrylic medium.
Throughout the interior of the book I used an acrylic with a matte finish
to preserve the texture of the newsprint, and silica to help de-acidify
the paper. In an homage to the old Monster comics, I grew up with, I painted
the cover in a high gloss acrylic.
I had been working with newspaper and acrylic all that summer of 2001,
and I really loved the way the acrylic both stiffened and wrinkled the
paper, so that it became its own kind of body or landscape to work on.
The result was a collage that was very much an object and not just an
image. I was very aware that this was something I was carrying over into
the book, and I loved the weight and significance the newsprint took on
once saturated in the medium. This was something I strove to maintain
in the printed version as well.
Rather than draw or outline the panel borders, I decided to make them,
so that rather than painting over the text I would have an empty space
in which to draw and paint. After thumb-nailing and deciding on page layout,
the first step was to tear up the un-printed edges of a copy of the Daily
News and re-assemble them within the pages as panels.
I laid acrylic down on the page I was working on...
Then laid a piece of newsprint into the glue.
I repeated this process until I had the size and shape of panel I wanted..
And then bonded those pieces together with a layer of medium over the
When dry, the result was a fragmented surface such as this:
The next step would be to work out the images in pencil.
I have a library of reference material ranging from Medieval art books
to WWI artillery and uniform books to “Frankenstein” stills
and comics. More often than not however, the images for the first half
of the book came from sketching and thumb nailing directly from my imagination-as
is the case for most comics artists. For the purposes of this demonstration
I chose to work from a still from the original "Frankenstein".
Even the hardest pencils act like a soft 6B on this surface--and erasing
is difficult. But if mistakes are made one can simply glue paper over
the undesirable area and start again.
After the sketch I begin to lay in light washes of ink.
The results on the fragmented surface are not always predictable. The
ink will often wonderfully accentuate the piecemeal nature of the surface-it
will bleed into the edges of the paper or accumulate in a puddle in a depression in the wrinkled surface. These are qualities I deliberately
cultivate for the tactility they add to the image.
After the initial washes I begin to work in deeper tonalities and build
the image up gradually...
Being careful to maintain areas of light while I add darks. I prefer
an impressionistic look to these images --and so I rarely mask areas--working
this way encourages the artist to accept the unpredictable. If you’re
an artist in need of absolute control then this is not the method for
This was just one of the working methods I used in “LoM”.
Some of the images of the Monster were made from gluing pages of the newspaper
together to make a large 5‘-6’ surface.
The image was sketched out on the surface with pencil- as in the book,
but then the tonalities were made not from ink but from the black and
grey areas in newspaper photographs and advertisements. A final layer
of charcoal was then added to bring it all together and for added power
As time went on, my approach to newspaper collage evolved to the point
where I left ink wash and charcoal out of the mix .
Instead I began to use the black areas of the ads in the news for the
blacks in my drawings, literally forming lines by ripping up the newsprint
and pasting it down.
I would rip up the areas of text and use the text to model the surface-like
an engraving. These collages were made entirely from the NY Times-creating
the initial surface in the same way I did with the Daily News, building
up images not with liquid ink in a bottle but with the ink of the newspaper
instead. Often the stories in the paper had an impact on the image I
There are a few other approaches to media in the book, mixed media paintings
and relief, and as a collage artist I often work with existing images
to bounce one meaning off of another. These are all evident in the printed
version of “Look Out! Monsters”; which, while a distinct work
from the original one-of-a-kind “medieval manuscript“, is
true to it in spirit. I think it’s a more expansive work as well.
So that’s it. Thanks for taking the time to explore “The
Making of Look Out! Monsters” with me . Please check it out at www.lookoutmonsters.com.
I think you’ll find it worth your while.
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making of LOOK OUT MONSTERS.