DailyMonster.com creator and 100 Days of Monsters author Stefan G. Bucher discusses his passion for monsters, his creative process, and his fascination with turtlenecks.
Stefan G. Bucher has been working round the clock spreading the word about his new book 100 Days of Monsters. The project is a fun collaboration of unique illustrations by Stefan paired with stories submitted by visitors to his website DailyMonster.com. The result? A mix of quirky doodles, top notch design and hand lettering, plus hilarious stories inspired by Stefan’s monster creations and a “Monsters in Motion” DVD capturing the creation process. It’s creativity at its best: a unique vision shared with anyone who wants to contribute to the project.
Stefan loves talking about his work. If you were to sit down with him to talk about his passion for his inky, toothy, muti-eyeballed creations it might go a little something like this.
Q. How long have you been drawing monsters? Describe the first monster you ever drew.
I’d love to tell you that I’ve been drawing monsters my whole life, but the truth is that the first Monster revealed itself to me about two years ago as I was driving. It just appeared on my arm and gazed at me calmly. I thought it looked friendly, so I decided to draw it when I got home. Ever since then hundreds of Monsters have found me, and so far 168 of them have allowed themselves to be filmed as they entered our dimension.
Q. Would you mind describing how you create your monsters, for anyone who’s new to DailyMonster?
To create the Monsters I put a few drops of sumi ink on a sheet of paper, and make the ink into a big unruly splotch by blowing lots of air through a straw. Next I turn the paper until I see a Monster looking back at me from the shape. After that it’s simply a matter of outlining the monster, so you can see it, too.
I film the whole thing, then speed it up to keep the result to about a minute.
Q. Your characters are all so original. Do you have an idea when you first start out or does the inkblot dictate the whole project?
The inkblot does dictate the whole project. I’ve tried making Monsters to fit a particular idea and it never works. That’s why I say that the Monsters find me. If I try to make them to measure, they get cantankerous – ornery even – and they’ll simply refuse to comply. The whole idea behind the Monsters is to give up a bit of control over the drawing, which is also one reason why I draw most of the Monsters upside down now. (The other reason being that I’m a showoff.)
Q. I’ve noticed that several of your monsters wear turtlenecks. What’s up with that?
You know, here I can actually say that I’ve been drawing turtlenecks all my life.
They’re just really fun to draw. Maybe this comes from my own inability to wear them. They make me gag for some reason. It’s to do with my Adam’s apple, I think.
Q. You’ve been super busy spreading the word about your book. What’s coming up next for you?
Well, the next thing will be another month-long run of Daily Monsters starting on April 1st. That brings us right up to Monster #200, which bodes well for Volume 2 of the book. Beyond that there are some very interesting things cooking with the original “Upstairs Neighbors” book that spawned all this, and with a new character I’m developing. I’m also going to be on the road giving talks all this year, of course.
Q. What’s your advice for other designers and illustrators out there?
It’s easy to say “Do what you love!” The truth is “Do what you love, and then work harder than you ever thought you could to get really, really good at it.” That’s when things get interesting and fun. An idea is only as good as the energy you put into it.
Q. Okay, last question. What’s under your bed?
A whole gang of monsters wearing the finest cashmere turtlenecks, the spikiest, shiniest high heels, and the toothiest glow-in-the-dark grins. Also, eight giant flat files of my posters that just don’t fit anywhere else.