Altered Book of Monsters – #82 – Loch Ness Monster

For my last – yes, last! – spread in my altered book, I had to pick my national monster.  It had to be Nessie.  I am asked surprisingly often, when people hear my Scottish accent, whether I believe in the Loch Ness Monster.  What I believe is that Loch Ness is in a striking landscape in a stunning part of Scotland and that people should definitely visit there so if a mythical beastie is the lure to get tourists there then so be it.  My Nessie has emerged from the dark depths of the loch in order to bid farewell to this project, waving a saltire and a thistle just to make the painting even more Scottish.

82 - Loch Ness Monster

So, folks, that is it for this project.  I did not manage to cram in a nice round 100 paintings into the recipe book but 82 is pretty good going – especially since I removed every tenth page.  I thoroughly enjoyed this project and was enthused by it from beginning to end.  I definitely gain a lot from working in a series and having a theme to help focus my mind.  I already snapped up a second copy of the exact same vintage recipe book for a hypothetical future project and that meant I could compare them side by side.  I love how chunky with creativity the finished book is.

Completed Book Comparison

I am going to have a break from challenges for a wee while as I have other demands on my art time.  Some of those will be shared here and, of course, I will keep sharing my art learning over on my personal blog.  Thank you for following this project as it developed, for all the likes, comments, feedback, and support.  I appreciate it.


Altered Book of Monsters – #81 – Beetlejuice

Fair enough.  Beetlejuice is not technically a monster but he does behave monstrously, is definitely not human, and is pretty grotesque outside as well as inside.  Tim Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice’ is one of those rare movies that I love as much now as I did when I first saw it and Keaton’s portrayal of the repugnant, uncouth, crazy Bio-Exorcist is fantastic.  Therefore, while technically not a movie monster, I wanted to include Beetlejuice in my altered recipe book and it’s my book so I can apply, bend, and break my own rules as much as I like.

81 - Beetlejuice

Altered Book of Monsters – #80 – Godzilla

Growing up, our family vacations were spent exploring different regions of Britain in our touring caravan.  I got to see a lot of the UK, visit many fascinating historic places, and learn a great deal but the downside of spending holidays in Britain is the weather.  Nevertheless, I have some happy childhood memories of days spent sheltering from the torrential rain and keeping ourselves entertained in the caravan.  At one stage, we got a wee black and white portable TV so, on one such cold and pouring day, my Dad and I found ourselves watching Godzilla movies.  The English dub, however, was so entirely wretched that we decided to turn the volume dial way down low and we constructed our own dialogue for the movie.  It was an absolute hoot.  In our version, we could even script lines for Godzilla himself.  It was that memory that made me want to include Godzilla in my altered book.  Just imagine him stomping and roaring in a wee Scottish accent.  It adds to the effect.

80 - Godzilla

Altered Book of Monsters – #79 – Jackalope

A jackalope is a peculiar beastie.  As the portmanteau word suggests, it is a fusion of a jackrabbit and an antelope.  A jackalope, therefore, looks like a hare with antlers.  As well as being a mythological creature from North America, the jackalope is also a useful source of income for the enterprising taxidermist, and is a marketing gimmick for tourism.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were a real critter though?  It is not clear from the photo but my jackalope is extra special because it has golden antlers and a golden scut.

79 - Jackalope


Altered Book of Monsters – #78 – Baby Unicorn

I was never going to get away with not painting a unicorn in my altered book.  My 8 year old son is completely and utterly obsessed with unicorns.  Obsessed.  My ability with painting horses and their mythological cousins is limited, however, so I procrastinated and dodged and put off the inevitable unicorn for as long as possible.  However, as you can see from the fact this is painted on an index page, I am coming to the end of this book and thus of this project.  It was time to face the fear and paint a unicorn.  I thought I could reduce the fear by reducing the unicorn and painted a baby one.  I rather like his podgy proportions, his silvery horn, and his metallic blue hair.

78 -  Baby Unicorn

Altered Book of Monsters – #77 – Minotaur

I don’t think I have created a Minotaur since I drew one for my 40 Drawings in 40 Days challenge in 2014.  I found it quite interesting to compare the two and see how my style has evolved over time and between media.  I decided to paint a Minotaur on this page because it was a recipe for “whisky punch” and the word “punch” suggested aggression, intimidating physical strength, and rage – all qualities present in a Minotaur.  I am really pleased with how this painting turned out.  The character is exactly as I envisioned him and I like the metallic elements against the clay coloured body.

77 - Minotaur

Altered Book of Monsters – #76 – Igor

Victor Frankenstein had no lab assistant in the novel, of course, but one was introduced in the 1931 film so that he could fumble the acquisition of a brain.  That character, however, was named Fritz.  He didn’t become Igor (or Ygor) until performed by Bela Lugosi in the sequels.  And thus the misshapen, dull witted, loyal but hapless lab assistant character was born and was henceforth known as Igor.

My husband points out that I have been rather fond of drawing underbites, heavy jaw lines and heavy brows in my series of monster paintings.  My Igor possesses all three.  That is a brain he has in the jar, not a wobbly blancmange.

76 - Igor

Altered Book of Monsters – #75 – Grim Reaper

As my 8 year old pointed out, I should have saved the Grim Reaper for the final page in my altered recipe book given that seeing him is all about the End.  I really ought to pick my kids’ brains more before I embark on things.  They often have the best ideas.  I had fun making the Grim Reaper’s ragged black shroud.  In case you have not guessed, I blew into watery black paint with a straw in order to make splattery lines.  Fun.  It is something I have done with watercolour and ink before but this was my first time using the same technique with acrylic.  I am chuffed that it worked.

75 - Grim Reaper


Altered Book of Monsters – #73 – Troll

Trolls are, of course, creatures from Scandinavian mythology.  When those myths migrated to Scotland, the trolls became trows.  There are also Moomintrolls.  Then there are the trolls that feature in Lord of the Rings.  I had plenty of troll sources at my disposal but somehow I still ended up a bit “stuck” with this painting.  I think my troll ended up being a bit of a mash up of all the different troll types.  Except for Moomins.  I think he looks dim and lunkish and mossy at least, all qualities I was aiming for.

73 - Troll

Altered Book of Monsters – #72 – Wendigo

I asked my 12 year old son to pick the next monster for my Altered Book project.  He selected a Wendigo.  I had a vague recollection of hearing the word but asked him to explain.  He had no clue.  He had seen adverts for a computer game that involved a monster called a wendigo.  That was the full extent of his knowledge.  However, I wanted to fulfil his request so off to Wikipedia I went.

A Wendigo, it transpires, is from the mythology of the Algonquian people, a fusion of human and monster, and associated with cannibalism.  Turns out the echo in the dusty corners of my memory was because a psychological condition called Wendigo Psychosis features in the horror movie ‘Ravenous’ which I have seen a few times.  Having read so briefly about the Wendigo, I came up with a character that was skeletal, primal, forest dwelling.  Its look may also have been inspired by the deer skeleton we found on a recent walk.

72 - Wendigo