by Justin Gerard

Ahhhhhhh…. The Holidays! A Time for gathering with family and friends over grand dinners, for hot drinks, cozy fires, and the possibility of being killed by strange seasonal food…

To celebrate this yearly tradition of over-the-top family dinners, I started working on a new series last month called, Monsters of the Holidays Feast, which features creatures that personify many of the strange foods that terrified me as a child knowing I was going to a family get-together and was expected to eat everything on the plate…  Is it fruitcake, or is it an alien blob? 

In my series featuring a Holiday dinner gone terribly wrong, the dishes have all come to life, they’ve overturned the tables, their wielding cutlery and have smashed the furniture; I think one even ate the cat. …And now it seems that we are quite likely to be the main course.

I began the series with simple ink doodles in a sketchbook. I came up with several pages of tiny thumbnails of all of them and then dropped the best ones into the above layout. I like using a layout like this because it gives me a clear target of what I am ultimately going for with the final product. I think that has a great way of focussing your efforts when you can get a sense of what it might look like when finished.

My favorite monster in the doodles was probably the Toffee Golem, and he ended up getting the first color treatment. When I first thought of him, he was simply a caramel slime monster, like one of those random mystery chocolates that you bite into hoping it’s something simple, you know, like milk chocolate; only to find out that, SUPRISE! it’s that indestructible, sticky caramel that never lets go of your teeth once you bite into it. (Which is in fact, the inspiration for all these swords and weapons stuck in him here.)

The second color treatment we got into was for the Mustard Knight.  As a kid, the spicy mustard was disgusting.  As an adult… well, I’ll just say it has very limited uses. But it is a wonderful base for a monster!

As with the other monsters in the series, I did tight drawings of each of them on a 9″x12″ sheet of smooth, lightweight bristol, before scanning them in and adding color in Photoshop.

A challenge to myself was to see how far I could get before the Holidays are over. I managed 10 tight drawings in graphite, and 2 finished monsters in color. We didn’t get through everything in color yet (because that would be insane during the Holidays) but altogether it was one of the best months I’ve had working on my little Monster of the Month series so far. I hope to finish many more of these in full-color before the series is finally completed. (And particularly the 3 tight drawings pictured here.)

I’ll be introducing a new series in the spring that I’ve already got on the drawing board. I’m looking forward to sharing that soon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these holiday-themed villains, and I hope you survived your Holiday Feasts! Happy New Year!