Imaginary creatures (drawings, paintings, and sketches)
A lot of my art work features imaginary creatures. I’m not really sure why. Ideas for them just flock to my mind, I guess.
Most of the monsters I come up with are based on things as benign as patterns in the carpet, wrinkles in clothes, or shapes in the woodgrain. Insect-like characteristics, slime or decay, and robotics are common themes that show up in many of my creature art pieces.
Here are a few of my most popular imaginary creatures for starters:
All that to say, creature drawings are one of my all-time favorite types of art to make. You’ll find dozens of imaginary creatures in the collections on this page, arranged by medium—and the galleries will keep growing as I create more weird monsters.
Creature drawings in pen & pencil
Lots of my creature drawings are not the most cute things to look at. What can I say … I’m not exactly Dr. Seuss. But if you enjoy weird imagery, you might be in the right place.
My pen and pencil creature tend to use a lot of crosshatching and linework, which gives them a more stark appearance. Some of them, like The Writer, look quite humanoid, and others, like At the Door and The Leech in the Tree, are … much less so.
I use a variety of pens and pencils, like basic ballpoint pens, micron felt-tipped pens, #2 pencils … but my favorite is the hard-tipped brush pen, which I used in the drawings Who You Really Are, and Take a Stand.
Here’s a small gallery of my top pen and pencil creature drawings. One of them is a collaboration with the terrific scientist and artist Dr. Immy Smith.
Mixed media creature drawings
The weird monsters in the gallery below are all drawn with a wider variety of mediums than just pen or pencil.
This creature drawings gallery features a whole bunch of other mediums, like markers, chalk, canté crayon, charcoal, wax, powder pigments, oil pastel, and colored pencil. You’ll notice that the style of many of these drawings varies quite a bit from the style I used with strictly pen or pencil. A lot of them, like Can We Please Go Home? are brightly colored … which doesn’t exactly make them less creepy.
Paint provides a different feel of artwork altogether when it comes to my creature images. The painted monsters and characters are typically either more simple or more abstract, because I like to use the natural movements of dripping paint to influence the subject matter.
For example, The World Is Rotting started off as a piece of scrap board that I was wiping excess paint onto from another painting. The shapes and curves I arbitrarily had added to the board looked like this cave dweller to me, so I painted him. I also used a gravity painting technique where I let the paint drip down all over the canvas on Hollow, The Whale Stones, The Crane on the Bridge, and Untouchable.
There are multiple painting types in this gallery; watercolor, spray paint, and acrylic. A few of the pieces mix several mediums; I affixed different pieces of scrap paper to the painting surface using watered-down glue.
These creature sketches all come from a variety of my journals and sketch books that I carry around with me. (I even use my iPad sometimes as a really expensive sketchpad.) I’ve made hundreds of strange little creature drawings in my sketchbooks … many of which will never see the light of day. But here are some of the highlights.
Aside: you’d probably be surprised how many of these were drawn in church.
You can find the entire sketchbook archives here.
Got a favorite artist who makes strange or interesting monster drawings? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Learn how to get surreal art ideas
Get some tips on how to get your own ideas to make creepy, weird, surreal imagery … kind of like the monsters on this page.