Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Monster Engine: Children’s Drawings Painted Realistically

Dave Devries takes sketches of monsters drawn by children purely from their imagination and renders them realistically giving them a truly devilish look. His collection of drawings and paintings form a 48-page book “The Monster Engine”.

Devries would project a child’s drawing with an opaque projector, and then faithfully trace each line. Applying a combination of logic and instinct, he then paint the image as realistically as he can using primarily acrylic, airbrush, and colored pencil.

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Says Dave Devries:

It began at the Jersey Shore in 1998, where my niece Jessica often filled my sketchbook with doodles. While I stared at them, I wondered if color, texture and shading could be applied for a 3D effect. As a painter, I made cartoons look three dimensional every day for the likes of Marvel and DC comics, so why couldn’t I apply those same techniques to a kid’s drawing? That was it... no research, no years of toil, just the curiosity of seeing Jessica’s drawings come to life.

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62 comments:

  1. I was wondering what the kids thought of the paintings based on their work. Did they get to see it and what did they say?

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  2. We have a Children's Drama/Art and music project for the children in
    our Dundori Orphans Project.
    Is it possible to get partners,sponsors,advisors and donors in
    internationally to assist these orphans and disadvantaged children
    develop their talents in drama,art and music?

    Kindest regards,

    Nicholas Ng'ang'a
    Dundori Orphans Project
    Education Supplements International
    P.O Box 3305
    Nakuru
    Kenya
    Email:nicholas@dundoriorphans.com
    edsupintl64@gmail.com
    edsupintl@yahoo.com
    Phone:020 3528347
    Website:www.dundoriorphans.com
    Skype:educationsupplements

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    Replies
    1. Hey folks, this is a common scam. While the above post may be legitimate, I'd recommend researching it first if you're planning on responding.

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    2. Sounds pretty skeezy:
      http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/dundori-orphan-project-scam-c693908.html

      It's a good rule of thumb to assume that legitimate, properly-run charities won't elicit donations from random strangers on public message boards that have no association with the charity (or charities at all). That isn't how good organizations operate... they have more effective and official means of finding assistance.

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  3. This is such a wonderful idea, and I think the drawings are beyond fantastic. I would love to find this book, or even better, have my son's drawings recreated in this way. Beautiful!!

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    1. If you email me a picture I'd like to do one for your son. Jessiehurst17@msn.com

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    2. Id love to see that!!! Do you use instagram??

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  4. Very cool. Art can find inspiration in so many places. These are really very cool!

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  5. Fantastic interpretaions...and great artwork from the originals too!

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  6. I can't see enough of these! I want wallpaper, bed spreads...Thanks for bringing these drawings to us.

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  7. great! love these pics

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  8. Nice! I know a lady who has built stuffed cloth/fabric characters from children's drawings for many years. This is very similar. She has photos on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/childsown/

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  9. Realmente amé este trabajo , tanto como amo los garabatos de los niños <3

    Adrianuzca´s

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  10. Amazing!!! What great art work from both

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  11. This is brilliant! I would love to submit my grandkids drawings!

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    1. Hey! I'm not the original poster, but I'm an artist who would love to try this sort of project. I'd be happy to interpret your grandchildren's drawings in a similar fashion, if you didn't mind me using it in my portfolio.

      You can see my artwork/contact me here: http://tabiko.deviantart.com/gallery/

      :)

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  12. I kind of disagree, I don´t believe all of them where meant to be spooky. When my daughter draws something really scary we ask what she thinks about it, most of the times are really happy ideas. I think the scary look is what the 3D-artist is feeling and not what the kid is looking.

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    1. Ok, Debbie downer .

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    2. Perhaps he asked the kids about what they were drawing, in order to have some context. Otherwise yeah, as cool as these interpretations are, I suspect a lot of them are not what the child artists were intending to convey. [A "realistic depiction" of a child's rendition of horse would mostly draw attention to the lack of perspective/technique. Hopefully the kids didn't feel that way about these. And I realize I'm probably just projecting my own insecurities.]

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    3. If you read what the artist wrote, it says that these are pictures of monsters that kids drew. When you ask a kid to think of monsters, it will be something scary

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  13. cool, funny, cute and amazing!!!

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  14. The Good Man by little Max is frightening even before being painted! Maybe that child watches too many horror films. ;)

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    1. ....pretty sure that's meant to be Jesus. So yes, terrifying!

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    2. Don't forget though, the Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and the Corpse Bride are just three examples of child friendly (If not a tad bit disturbing) movies that resemble the Good Man. 9 is another good example, having many mechanical creatures with disturbing features. So, he may have seen one of those, and now "The Good Man" is one of those creations in his mind.

      Remember, what a child sees as a monster is different from what we tend to see. They also have a habit of looking past appearances to see the good in others.

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  15. There all really awesome but a shame there all of monsters like creatures would of liked to see of more nicer side of a childrens point of view.

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    1. I had to read your comment about three times before making any sense of it.
      This might seem a bit rude, but I have to ask; are you aware that "there" and "they're" are not synonyms? Same goes for "of" and "have". Using these four words - without any thought as to which means what - will bring most any text close to impossible to understand.

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    2. Why comment something like this? You are not the smartest tool in the box if you didn't understand the prior comment at first reading. People like you just put a negative spin on everything in this world!

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    3. Or he in his own way is trying to make this world a better place by helping him, in a respectful manner, better his grammar.
      Hater.

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    4. 'Smartest Tool' Trollololol

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    5. If you had to read the comment three times before making since of it, then you are the idiot. How do you know that this person isnt from another country or learning english? What have they done to you that makes you want to insult them? Is it so hard to be pleasant? Damn
      By the way, "cool artwork!" to the talented artist. :)

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    6. Those are the kind of mistakes only people who have learnt first oral english do, so he/she's probably a native speaker (when you learn a foreign language you usually learn how to read and write it correctly before you can speak it correctly).For someone who has learnt the grammar these mistakes make no sense and make the text very difficult to understand precisely for people who have learnt english.

      So yeah, we have first to learn english, then we have to learn illiterate english.

      And BTW, it's "making sense", not "making since". I personally would be ashamed if people who have learnt my native language as a second or third language could correct me or have trouble udnerstanding me because I wasn't able to write my own language properly.

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    7. The OP asked for a nicer side of children's drawings and got the rudest of comments. The irony.

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    8. I had to read the comment several times to make any sense of it as well. I think it can be beneficial to the person using incorrect grammar to be corrected, but perhaps giving an example of the how the sentence should be structured would have been more helpful. At least then one can see where his/her errors are and work toward not making them in the future.
      Corrected: They're all really awesome, but (it's) a shame they are all of monster-like creatures. (I) would have liked to see a nicer side of the childrens' point of view.

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    9. I agree. Awesome paintings, but perpetuating imaginary monsters in a child's mind is one of the cruelest things you could do.

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    10. You're looking entirely too deep into it if you think this is cruel. A child's fascination of monsters has been around for centuries! No one asked these kids draw something that makes you crap your pants, they said draw a monster, end result, they're using their imaginations and keeping their minds active! I'm pretty sure that these kids weren't crying as they drew these pictures!

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  16. I wonder at the choice of colours. I remember childhood dreams. Most that involved monsters, were amongst the background of an everyday situation: light green forests behind big monsters. This darkness that is so prevalent in our culture may not be a good way to reinterpret a child's art.

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  17. How are the children compensated for their brilliant conceptual characters or is it only yourself who makes money out of them?

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    1. Omg. Seriously? Do you know anyone is getting compensated? And, if anyone is... Who did most of the work? I would love to get compensated for creating drawings like the children's drawings. Sign me up, I can turn them out by the thousands.

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  18. Animate them and have the kids be the voice.

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  19. Here an italian ilustrator that doing the same in his book POTENTE di FUOCO

    http://www.ericailcane.org/sito/?p=345

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  20. Some of these end up looking like they were rendered in the combined styles of Van Gough, Picasso, and Dali.

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  21. do the children have any input over choice of colours and do they like the end product ?

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    Replies
    1. the choice of colours is dictated by their mom. or dad. or otherworldly figure. preferably the latter.

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  22. I love Dave's stuff! I myself make monster art based on children's ideas. Basically they give me a list of attributes they want their personal monster to have (color, if it's furry or scaly, winged, has horns, spikes, is eating a lollipop, if it's happy, sad, scary or cute, whatever). I take their list and create them their very own monster. It's super fun to do, and the kids have all greatly enjoyed being part of the experience! See some at http://www.Facebook.com/jesdkart :-)

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  23. A child mind is is simply reflective of a pure abstract art created deep through the heart

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  24. haha kids thiknig about dino's know that feel

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  25. Incredible idea. Brilliant.

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  26. Absolute Brilliance. You have a beautiful talent.

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  27. It makes me think of the imagery from the "Scary Stories That You Tell In The Dark" book.

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  28. For another application of a child's Monster design realized in another form, check out www.lylatov.com.

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  29. I really, really wonder what these kids were thinking when they drew these. Anyone? I was thinking that maybe they're interpretations of people or things that they have seen in real life 'evoking' those emotions, you know what I mean? Like maybe they've seen adults or other people in their life who have had these expressions in real life and somehow found their way into the children's drawing pads. I don't know, it's all just very bizarre to me but extremely interesting at the same time...

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  30. Some of these are fantastic.

    One thing I dont quite understand is the fact that children draw rough approximations (stick figures, etc.) compared to what they actually see and therefore would omit some significant details and description.

    It appears you have traced out exactly what they have drawn, adding depth and color, and I cant help but wonder if the exact image that exists in the child's imagination could still differ a great deal.

    Hate to nitpick because some of these images are downright terrifying in any case.

    This potential difference between these illustrations and the actual image the child might have seen bugged me enough that I felt it necessary to bring up.

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    1. Yeah, I think the same. If you think about it, the new ones aren't "realistic" either, they are just more detailed and a reinterpretation of the drawings using a specific palette of dark creepy colors. The details added are always leaning towards the terrifying. It'd be interesting to get these works trying to dig into the child's perspective, at least from asking people how they remember they'd picture the real things they were drawing. I think most people wouldn't remember trying to draw the resulting images here. Also, I think most children wouldn't necessarily go to those colors even if the color variety they got when drawing was limiting. The reinterpretation of the backgrounds is especially tilted to a specific dark vision that doesn't necessarily either picture something realistic nor what the child might have imagined when drawing the original pictures.

      So in general, we got different perspectives of imagination from different children, but we got the perspective of just one artist who instead of trying to discover different young imaginations, brought all to his already established personal perspective.

      Not the the work isn't still great.

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  31. The Good Man is creepy.

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  32. Shameless plagiarism!

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