What makes a monster?
The best monsters were made from the inside out; from bones to muscles. Even impossible creatures should have a basis in reality. Otherwise it becomes so unbelievable it is no longer frightening.
In short: bones and flesh make a monster.
For the same reason that every artist benefits from life drawing classes, anatomy classes are an invaluable tool. Learning how bones and muscles fit together under the skin creates an understanding of proportion and realistic movement.
Here are a couple places I reference when I need some inspiration:
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Doctor Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth.
Strangely, this was in my amazon recommendation list. I cannot imagine why. I never knew it before I read this, but I needed a 1870’s style medical textbook. This is monster design at its best.
Ever wondered what the most well known mythical creatures through history look like under the skin? The Resurrectionist is here to answer all your questions about everything from dragons to mermaids. This book is beautifully illustrated and a heck of a fun read. Delve into the work of Doctor Spencer Black, son of a grave robber, as he travels the globe with carnivals gathering research for The Extinct Animalia.
Body Worlds – Gunther Von Hagens
As educational as it is macabre, Body Worlds gives you an inside look at everything you could possibly want to know about the body.
These displays look like models, but make no mistake these are real human bodies. German doctor Gunther Von Hagens developed a process called plastination, which is the process of infusing tissue with plastic. The bodies are perfectly preserved, cut into cross sections, and dynamically posed.
I had the opportunity to see one of these shows while I was a student, and it is still, hands down, the best opportunity to study anatomy and muscle movement.
As a side note: I highly recommend looking up videos of this man on Youtube. Particularly for the clip of him crashing a plastic head on a toy car to demonstrate brain damage. It is actually funnier than it sounds.
Last but not least, pinterest has been a valuable tool for me when I find I need to compile references and tutorials. I use my pinterest account for everything from doll making to skeletal references.
If any of my readers share similar interests I invite you to follow me (or one of my boards) on pinterest. Let’s share the pictures that inspire us.