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Shading in monsters

October 24, 2011

When she was much younger, she would draw monsters. She would draw jagged teeth, glistening with bits of gore. Claws and delicate eyes. Also wings. Not angelic, though. But perverted growths that seemed gouged into their backs, erections that did not always comply to symmetry or logic regarding where they appeared on the body. Also hair. But that only sometimes, and usually reluctantly. Her hair made her monsters look like they were balding and wearing a wig. She preferred to smudge out the contours of their head so that they seem to float or dissolve.

After learning several shading techniques in her high school art class, she penciled in shadows to everything she drew. Quite overnight, her monsters had deep crevices around their nose and shadows underneath their eyes—pupils wide open. One of her monsters got a half-moon in her eye, lodged there like a needle. It made her look like a winking lunatic.

The new shading technique made the monsters seem oddly vulnerable. As if they had been caught off-guard. In a moment of weakness, not angry, but startled. More embarrassed by the blood dripping of their fangs than triumphant.

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