Professional illustrator Dave DeVries one day looked at the drawings created by his niece and came upon the idea of what these childish drawings would look like if they were painted realistically, as if they had come straight out of a piece of concept art. It was from then DeVries decided to start collect various drawings of monsters and various creatures drawn by children. One of DeVries priorities was to try to stay faithful as possible to the original content. To do this he traced each line using an opaque projector and then used his logic and professionalism as a working comic and concept artist to add other elements to create a more realistic piece, such as colouring, texturing, and shading to reproduce the drawings, following as close to the original images as possible, with an added 3D effect.
DeVries says couldn’t help but entertain the idea of applying the same professional techniques he uses in comics to drawings done by children. The outcome is The Monster Engine, a collection of entertaining, frightening and memorable images, created by children and contributed to by DeVries. DeVries has found a way to bring these disturbing creatures to life using his seasoned artistic skill. The Monster Engine project gives us not only unique artwork, but also an close and unique look into the minds of children and the monsters inside of them.
DeVries to discuss The Monster Engine, the minds of children, and “The Good Man.”
[Children] follow logic, but it’s not a linear logic. I call it circular logic, because it can go off on these long tangents – just the most wild ride you can imagine, and somehow it comes back and makes sense. But if your mind functions in a very linear, engineering-minded logic, you’re not going to follow it.
Also, there’s no embarrassment in their world. They’ll lay an idea on you that if an adult said the very same thing, they’d be embarrassed. Young kids aren’t worried about feeling foolish, silly or stupid – there’s no filter.
Some have said these depicticons have been made too intentionally frightening, however DeVries has defended himself saying he is only applying the same techniques he would use with a piece of concept art, which does include dramatic lighting, and is not trying to intentionally make the images horrifying.