- Posted by Johanna on September 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Joshua Williamson; art by Vicente Navarrete
- PUBLISHER: Oni Press; $12.99 US
This cute fable is predictable to older readers, but for the young, it illustrates their concerns and fears in a very approachable, understandable form. It’s to be commended for also encouraging creativity and making art as valuable activities.
Mandy’s been locking her feelings away. Her older sister, upon leaving for college, gives her a sketchbook in which Mandy draws monsters. The creatures come alive and flee through town, leaving puddles of color behind them. To recapture them, Mandy has to show the monsters the feelings they embody, including love, sadness, happiness, fear, and the breakout favorite, the silly monkey.
I really appreciated the way the art is mixed — Mandy’s story is told in comic form, with thick outlines, while the monsters are drawn and colored as though they were crayon scribbles. The contrast makes them seem even more unusual and scary, but in a funny way. If I saw a crayon monster twice my height roaming through my living room, I’d be freaked out too.
The message, that it’s ok to have feelings and to show them, isn’t one I would think many children would have a problem with, but what do I know? I’m not a parent. For certain kinds of kids, this book may be just what they need. Certainly, the idea that there is more than one way to express yourself — Mandy shows her feelings both physically and through art — is a remarkably rewarding one.
The book has a background section on how the art was created, along with design sketches and rough layouts.
Although I was unimpressed with the book’s concept when I first heard about it, I wasn’t giving it enough credit. Sketch Monsters has grown on me with each reading. I was wrong in my first impression; this is a welcome addition to Oni’s growing kids’ line (which includes such works as Salt Water Taffy and Possessions). Sketch Monsters: Escape of the Scribbles is due out at the end of October. The first five pages are available as a preview at the publisher’s website, although it doesn’t show you the clever design of the monsters. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)