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Top Monsters

 
The making of Look Out!! Monsters - by: Geoff Grogan

(2093 total words in this text)
(7030 reads)   Printer Friendly Page




Hey there, monster lovers! Welcome to "The Making of Look Out! Monsters". My name is Geoff Grogan and I’m author/artist on “LoM”.

“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 News.

Frankenstein art


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.

Frankenstein art

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.

Frankenstein art


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.

Frankenstein art


I laid acrylic down on the page I was working on...

Frankenstein art

Then laid a piece of newsprint into the glue.

Frankenstein art

I repeated this process until I had the size and shape of panel I wanted..

Frankenstein art

Frankenstein art

Frankenstein art

Frankenstein art

And then bonded those pieces together with a layer of medium over the top.

Frankenstein art

When dry, the result was a fragmented surface such as this:

Frankenstein art


The next step would be to work out the images in pencil.

Frankenstein art

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.

Frankenstein art

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.

Frankenstein art


After the initial washes I begin to work in deeper tonalities and build the image up gradually...

Frankenstein art

Frankenstein art

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 you!

Frankenstein art


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.

Frankenstein art

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 and expression.

Frankenstein art


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.

Frankenstein art

Frankenstein art

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 was creating.


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.

Look out monsters

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.

Comment on The making of LOOK OUT MONSTERS.




  

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