Monday, November 24, 2014

Monstrously Funny Cartons by Christopher Hart

book cover
Monstrously Funny Cartons
by Christopher Hart

ISBN-13: 978-0823007165
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: October 14, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Learn to draw the silliest and scariest monsters, zombies, vampires, witches, mummies, and other creepy cartoon favorites. Cartooning master Christopher Hart teaches aspiring artists all the drawing tips and tricks they need to create laugh-out-loud renditions of their favorite monsters and scary creatures.

This cartooning guide shows readers how to capture the lighter side of these creepy creatures by combining them with Hart's incredibly popular cartoon drawing style. Taking readers step-by-step through each monster type, Hart demonstrates how to draw everything from terrifyingly silly heads to wacky comic strip-like scenes of monstrous menace.

My Review:
Monstrously Funny Cartons is a step-by-step drawing guide for making funny monster cartoons. Much of the text is spent making jokes, so the main learning is done by the reader copying the drawing steps to replicate Hart's drawings. Once you've drawn his cartoons enough, the theory seems to be that you'll be able to start modifying them to make your own funny monsters. His target audience appears to be teens (and adults) who have some basic drawing experience but are content to learn by imitation.

He covered zombies (25 pages), vampires (37 pages), monsters that go bump (11 pages), cartoon aliens (9 pages), mummies (17 pages), legendary monsters (7 pages), weird & bizarre (17 pages), and scenes/backgrounds (19 pages). So nearly half the book is on zombies and vampires. In this book, he likes to make monsters "funny" by exaggerating features, so he gives hints and shows how to do this.

The text was mainly jokes, but he did have some teaching text. It ranged from "His ears are created with a combination of straight and curved lines" (which is obvious from the drawing) to "Push up the lower eyelids for a vengeful expression" (pages 42-42). He often didn't explain why you should make the feature that way, so you're left to guess if it's whim (and can be modified) or if there's an important, underlying reason to it.

I can see teens having a great deal of fun with this book and quickly creating a range of monsters of their own. I really like to know the "whys" before doing something and had expected to quickly be making original cartoons, and this book didn't really leave me feeling confident. I did enjoy making some cartoon aliens, though, as that section gave a bit more detail on coming up with your own designs.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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